We are proud to have collaborated with the LUISS University Press for the translation in English, French and Portuguese of a relevant book for the work we are doing on electoral and democracy support, especially in Africa. The book is titled: “Sabbie Mobili – L’Africa tra autoritarismo e democrazia”. The Author is Giuseppe Mistretta who has served as Ambassador of Italy to Angola (2009 - 2014) and Ethiopia (2014 - 2017) and has spent more than 25 years of his professional life in Africa representing Italy. He has also therefore served in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, Libya and Great Britain. Currently he is the Director Sub-Saharan Africa at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome.
His book offers an important socio-electoral-political continental analysis and is very important for the activities that we are currently implementing in our PRO ELECTORAL INTEGRITY project in support of the African Union Division for Electoral Assistance, Election Observation and Constitutional Reforms, funded by Italy.
This project started in August 2022 and implemented several activates in support of the AU Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit and the AU Constitutionalism and rule of law Unit. One of the most important objectives of the project is to support Association of African Election Authorities who count 48 African electoral management bodies and to spread the principles of the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance (ACDG). Thanks to the results obtained and the good management of ECES the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to continue its support by funding the second phase of the project. This phase will continue the support to the AU Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit and the AU Constitutionalism and rule of law Unit by supporting the 8th annual continental forum of EMBs, a series of “peer support missions” to provide EMB leaders facing an election with exchange opportunities, a Continental training for Core teams of election observation missions, continue the work on the continental guidelines of the ACDEG and the 7th Continental forum on Transitional Justice.
The analysis of the book, that we have considered crucial also for our work, drives from the idea that autocratic tendencies do not manifest themselves exclusively with the advent of military regimes. On the African continent, the centralisation of power in a leader is most often realised in the prolonged tenure at the top of a president with executive powers, who is then elected for many terms. And yet, between 2020 and 2022, the military coup d'état is back in vogue, taking the political scene in some West African states back to the 1960s. The fact that five African countries have experienced a full-blown coup has reignited the debate on the viability and effectiveness of democracy in Africa. The inability to break the poverty of large sections of the population, the inefficiency and corruption of the ruling classes, the vulnerability to jihadist terrorism, and the serious lack of infrastructure are at the root of the significant fragility of democracies and the return to military and authoritarian solutions. Which Africa will emerge from this clash between democracy and authoritarianism? What role can Italy and Europe play in such a context? In this book, Giuseppe Mistretta answers these questions, suggesting possible scenarios of intervention and cooperation to bring part of Africa out of its quicksand.
You can get a copy of the book at the following LUISS University Press link: https://luissuniversitypress.it/pubblicazioni/sabbie-mobili/.
At present is available in Italian and very shortly the translations in English, French and Portuguese we have made will be made available as well.