Africa's governance landscape has changed remarkably in 2011. While much of the world's attention has been understandably fixed on the historic political transitions in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing its own democratic surge over the past year with advances in Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, and Zambia, among other places. Inspired by the uprisings in the Arab Spring, there have also been protests in over a dozen other African capitals demanding greater political freedoms.
Recognizing the fluidity of these events, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies convened a Working Group of Africa democracy experts to take stock of the significance of these developments. The group addressed such questions as: To what extent has the Arab Spring been a driver to democratic advances elsewhere in Africa? How sustainable are these political reforms? What are the prospects for further democratic progress in Africa in the coming years? And what might regional and international actors do to contribute to these outcomes?
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies and the Center for Complex Operations hosted a conference at the National Defense University on December 16 entitled: "Sudan: Regional Implications of Post-Referendum Scenarios". More than 200 people attended the conference. Andrew Natsios, an envoy to Sudan during the Bush administration, was one of the principal speakers.