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Group Visit: by American Women’s Club, Helsinki, Finland
29 February 2012 -
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‘Democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Progress, Setbacks, and New Directions’ by Danielle Resnick.

In the past twenty years, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have experienced significant strides towards becoming more democratic as a result of the combined influence of domestic actors and external factors. Nevertheless, in a number of countries, parliaments are ineffective, opposition parties still encounter frequent harassment, media freedoms remain circumscribed, and certain groups of minorities face high levels of discrimination.  This presentation will provide an overview of progress and setbacks towards greater democratization in Africa, highlighting and explaining variations across countries. In addition, it will examine three important demographic and socioeconomic trends in Africa:  the rise of the middle-class, rapid urbanization, and an expanding ‘youth bulge’. Will these three trends reinforce the status quo in Africa or do they represent a new vanguard for democracy.

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