The Conference on Democratic Governance in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, which took place in Rwanda’s Capital, Kigali from June 30th to July 2, attracted over 350 experts to discuss the future of democracy in two Continents.
Experts criticised Western donors for imposing policies on developing nations and urged that imitating democratic models from Western countries interferes with governance and weakens long-term development.
Rwanda becomes 2nd host of the conference after it was first held in Philadelphia, US, in 2012. The conference saw experts from Africa, Asia and Middle East discuss better democratic models best for Africa and Asia.
Organised by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), participants at the conference sought an opportunity to learn about specific home-grown initiatives in various Countries through sharing insights on development or democratic issues, constraints and opportunities for Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Experts urge that African and Asian countries must adopt democratic models that put in context their cultures and history, rather than directly implementing those imposed or suggested by Western powers.
Stakeholders at the conference strongly denounced Western Countries that impose democracies on their soil, saying it weakens progress on two continents.
Bulent Akarcali, a Turkish entrepreneur and a panelist at the conference, criticised Western donors for imposing policies on developing nations, arguing that directly copying democratic models from Western countries hinders governance and undermines long-term development.
He pointed out that Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia were targeted by Western powers because of their wealth in natural resources, emphasizing that what all the big powers (Western Countries) want is to disrupt governance and get what they want, which he said is the philosophy behind forcing developing nations to implement systems of democracy that undermine the history and cultures of their people.
Bulent added that real democracy must not be complicated and must put into context the cultural systems of countries. He sarcastically reiterates that Europe and America are not a monopoly of democracy and they should not dictate models to Africa and Asia.
The Conference ended on high as participants reviewed issues and constraints to good governance and democratic issues in developing countries, and assess different home-gown initiatives as tools of promoting good governance principles.