UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

The Future of Diplomacy

17h00 - 18h45
29 September 2023

The Resurgence of Military Coups in the Sahel and the Future of Democracy in Africa

Looking at Africa’s post-independence historical landscape, there is no denying that its journey towards stable democracies, which began in the late 1980s to early 1990s, has been marred by pervasive security threats and challenges, including conflicts, terrorism, coups, and revolutions. Since 2019, for instance, the architecture of states in the Sahel region has been marked by a series of attempted and successful coup d’états. From Sudan to Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, and now Gabon. These waves of military takeovers persist, with the potential for spillover and wider destabilization effects, despite the African Union and Regional Economic Communities’ (RECs) strong stance against unconstitutional changes of governments. On the one hand, these events have been interpreted as part of an ongoing process of structuration, a significant phase in the history of Africa’s development and empowerment, and the reawakening of Africa. On the other hand, they are seen as perpetuating existing power structures, advancing neocolonial agendas, deepening patterns of instability across the Sahel region, violating state constitutions, and threatening the democratic aspirations of the African continent.

Today, the question of state stability in the Sahel region has become prominent on regional and international agendas. To understand the nature of these coups, therefore, an appraisal of the causes and dynamics contributing to their proliferation is necessary, as well as an examination of the role of external actors in the region’s politics. It is within this context that this webinar discusses the occurrences of coup d’états in the Sahel and their implications for the future of democracy in Africa. It also seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the Sahel region, explore potential strategies for addressing them, and draw lessons that can be learned.

For more information about the event, please contact Ms Thandeka Nomvele at tnomvele@uj.ac.za (Tel: 011 559 7213).

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Research Fellow, Institute for the Future of Knowledge


Dr Adeoye O. Akinola

Head of Research and Teaching at the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), University of Johannesburg


Online via Zoom

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