The obligation to uphold the rule of law is an integral part of the overall commitment to governance and democracy by African heads of state and government.

This commitment was expressed in the AU Constitutive Act during the period of transformation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) into the AU.

The statutory responsibilities and related assurances to abide by the rule of law are part of wider AU efforts to counter the threats to peace and security, particularly those arising from armed conflicts associated with electoral processes and political level transitions.

Within this context, the AU Commission and International IDEA organized a workshop on ‘Challenges to the Rule of Law in Africa’ on 12–13 April 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. The purpose of the workshop was to identify the challenges that confront AU Member States with respect to the rule of law and to propose strategic actions that could be used to overcome the identified difficulties. 


Publication date
01 September 2016
Number of pages


Executive summary


Opening session

Presentation of draft Discussion Paper

Panel 1: The rule of law and state legitimacy in Africa

Panel 2: The primacy of the constitution and the law

Panel 3: Implementation of regional norms and standards

Panel 4: Respect for human rights and civil liberties

Panel 5: The challenges of poverty and exclusion

Panel 6: A shrinking civil space

Panel 7: Judicial democracy to consolidate the rule of law in Africa

Closing ceremony


Annex A. Concept note

Annex B. Programme

Annex C. Participant list

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Challenges to the Rule of Law in Africa

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