From the 29th of March until the 31st of March 2022, the Founder and Executive Director of ECES, Fabio Bargiacchi, together with the ECES Senior Governance Adviser Hamza Fassi-Fihri, took part in the technical review and validation workshop of the draft African Union (AU) "Guide on Electoral Assistance to the Member States".

The Workshop was organized in Dakar by the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the African Union Commission (AUC) and it has represented a great opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between the stakeholders involved in the AU electoral support to the Member States. Therefore, the various electoral and governance experts have the aim to provide a critical review of the content of the Guide, which will be subsequently adopted at the institutional level by the African Union Commission.

The workshop has created the chance to share expertise in the electoral and governance field, in order to develop the draft of the aforementioned Guide, which will provide the PAPS to have a more effective and coherent action in terms of electoral support.

Indeed, as underlined by Fabio Bargiacchi in its intervention: “It is, therefore, a strategic document, the cornerstone of the AU’s electoral action for the coming years. And we are grateful to be associated in such a crucial moment for the future of electoral assistance in Africa (...) 

I am happy to be in Dakar today with our friends from the African Union, with whom we have been working for a long time, and who have associated us with this workshop. ECES and the African Union strengthened their partnership last year with the signing of an MoU in May 2021 with Commissioner Bankole, of which we are very proud. This MoU expresses our shared commitment to working together for the integrity of electoral processes on the continent, for the prevention of electoral conflict and for the promotion of the participation of marginalised publics to ensure inclusive democratic elections.

These themes were the subject of a conference that ECES organised in Brussels in February on the margins of the AU-EU Summit and Africa-Europe WeekIn partnership with the Italian government and in conjunction with the African Union, ECES brought together policymakers, institutional decision-makers and experts to discuss capacity building for electoral stakeholders in Africa in the context of the EU-African Union partnership. 

So today is an important step for us because it is the first concrete achievement in the implementation of this MoU. An important and promising step for the future. Thanks to financial support from the Government of Italy, we are able to support this important work dedicated to the development and validation of the African Union's Electoral Assistance Guide."

The event gathered important personalities among the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) networks of Election Management Bodies (EMBs), the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD), the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

You can find here the Press release from the African Union.