"It is with great pleasure that International IDEA has joined as a co organizer of this conference. South Africa being one of our Member States, and the African Union one of our close partners, IDEA considers it a true privilege to be part of this undertaking. I would like to thank the leadership and staff of the IEC and the AU for their committed and efficient cooperation in making this conference a reality. This conference is the first in the history of the continent that brings together former African Heads of State and Government, the executive, parliamentary actors, electoral authorities, political party networks, civil society, and academia, to share one platform and contribute to discussions on how to sustain Africa’s democratic momentum. The range of actors who are engaging in this conference testifies to the fact that democracy is a process of diversity and complexity. "