Africa Liberal Network becomes largest liberal network outside Europe

International Office_with textSupported by the Liberal Democrats International Office, the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) has grown to become the largest network of liberal parties outside Europe, with 47 member parties from across 30 African nations. Taking place from 27 – 31 January 2016, the ALN held its 12th General Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted by South Africa’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

With the theme of “Winning elections: the strategies, policies and solutions for success”, the General Assembly brought together nearly 80 delegates from 30 countries across the continent to discuss strategies to win elections and champion liberalism in their home countries. Through sharing techniques and approaches to campaign strategy, policy development and youth mobilisation, the ALN focused its efforts on helping member parties to win elections, emerge out of opposition and make liberal government a reality across Africa. Olivier Kamitatu, the ALN President, said in his opening speech:

ALN GA 1

The ALN has grown because Africa is at a crossroads and needs a liberal offering now more than ever. Our goal now must be to win elections across Africa in 2016-17.

The ALN has a vision of a prosperous and integrated Africa of flourishing democracies that are at peace with one another, in which every person has the right and opportunity to fulfil their potential and be what they want to be. This year the ALN grew to encompass three new member parties, the Independent People’s Party of Ghana, the People’s Liberal Party of South Sudan, and the Alliance of the Republic, the ruling party in Senegal. With these new members, the ALN is now the largest network of liberal parties outside of Europe, second in size and scope only to the Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe (ALDE) Party.

ALN GA 2This year, we were hosted by the Democratic Alliance (DA), our liberal sister-party in South Africa and the country’s main opposition party. Addressing the entire Assembly, the DA’s Party Leader Mmusi Maimane laid out the DA’s plans to build a liberal South Africa, challenging the politics of racial division and fear which has held South Africa back under President Zuma:

Nelson Mandela fought for democracy in South Africa. He did not fight for the right of the ANC to cling on to power forever. The ANC and EFF are dividing South Africans with campaigns based on race. As liberals, we are uniting people around our shared values.

In 2014, the ALN, with support from the Liberal Democrats, provided technical assistance to the Botswana Movement for Democracy in their election campaign, helping them to become the main opposition party in the country. In the upcoming year, the ALN will build on this model, working closely with its members to help them to out-perform their opposition and build a liberal, progressive and prosperous Africa. By working together as a network, the ALN aims to bring liberalism out of the shadow of opposition and work together to build a brighter, more liberal future for Africa.

* Harriet Shone is Head of the Liberal Democrats’ International Office.

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One Comment

  • Excellent and terrific news . Maimane is marvellous , we need that contact , and it is necessary on issues like LGBT rights , or lack of them , in Africa more widely .

    One thing , though , when posting these articles , give a bit of a mention to Liberal International , and Liberal International British Group , they too are doing sterling work, in the case of both often unpaid , completely so in the latter ! It is the second perhaps even third time that has happened , lets face it , none of those networks would be what they are without Liberal International, which they are all a part of , as is our party .

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