Social Democracy

Although large majorities on the continent still consider democracy to be the best form of government and reject any alternative, dissatisfaction with the lack of public services, inadequate protection by the state, too few decent jobs and too much corruption is putting increasing pressure on democracies in Africa. In addition, Africa has the youngest and fastest growing population in the world and is the continent with the highest rate of urbanisation. In the thematic area of social democracy, FES addresses the question how political participation and public welfare can be strengthened in this environment.

Young Africans continue to show a high level of support for democracy as the best form of government. However, in their daily lives, they are often confronted with undemocratic political institutions instead of ones that are geared towards the common good. Africa's young and increasingly urban population is already protesting against debt distress, dire economic prospects and a lack of participation. Therefore, one starting point for our work is to strengthen young democrats who will possibly take on political responsibility in their countries and on the continent in the future in their efforts to protect and expand democracy in their countries.

The continent's growing cities are of particular importance for the protection and expansion of democratic structures and political participation, as they are becoming centres of political, economic and social distributional conflicts. Surveys show that people in Africa are moving to cities in the expectation of significantly improvement of their living conditions and public services. However, their hopes are currently being dashed as cities exacerbate existing inequalities. We support partner organisations in civil society in identifying and presenting pathways to improve public service delivery and access to public goods, especially for marginalised groups - and thus make urbanisation in Africa more socially and gender equitable, democratic and inclusive.

Another focus for strengthening political participation and social democracy is the promotion of networks of feminist actors and their involvement in alliances for democratic change. In our work, we are committed to gender equality: This overcomes structural inequalities between genders and within society. The dominance of patriarchal structures in politics and society in many African countries does not only mean that the obstacles for women and marginalised groups to participate in politics and take on political responsibility are significantly higher. There is also often a disconnect between people in decision-making positions and the concerns and realities of locally grounded movements for gender equality. We are therefore working to create inclusive and protected spaces for feminist debates and dialogue in order to strengthen the representation of women and marginalised groups in the political and public sphere.


African media barometer

A home-grown analysis of the media landscape in Africa : Botswana 2023
Windhoek, 2024

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Elections and civic space in South Sudan

Findings from the 2024 public perceptions of peace survey
Juba, 2024

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Chirimambowa, Tamuka Charles

Fireproofing the digital public sphere in Sub-Saharan Africa

Some notes for citizen journalists, independent media, and civil society organisations
Windhoek, 2024

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MISA transparency assessment

The citizens' analysis of government openness in Southern Africa
Windhoek, 2023

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MISA transparency assessment 2023

The citizens' analysis of government openness in Southern Africa
Windhoek, 2023

Download publication (1,7 MB PDF-File)

Africa Department

Contact in Germany

Andreas Quasten

Hiroshimastr. 17
10785 Berlin

+49 30-269 35-74 43


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