As the COVID-19 crisis worsens, its impact on the democratic development of African countries is becoming one of the main priorities.
Although a great deal of attention has been paid to the question of its effects on electoral processes, there has not yet been any real consideration of its consequences for constitutionalism and the rule of law in African states in general and even less so in the French- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Central and West Africa.
In an effort to address this gap, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) organized, with the participation of H. E. Minata Cessouma Samate, the African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, a webinar on 23 April 2020 on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on constitutionalism and the rule of law in French- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Central and West Africa.
The webinar—the programme is appended to this report—was based on two premises: first, the need to consider constitutionalism and the rule of law in terms of their ultimate purpose, which is to guarantee respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens both in ordinary times and in extraordinary situations; second, the adoption of a holistic perspective that considers not only civil and political rights but also the economic and social rights of citizens in the context of the COVID-19 crisis in the countries concerned.
2. Exceptional measures that respect the principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law but that nevertheless pose problems
3. Highlighting and aggravating the vulnerabilities of French- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Central and West Africa
4. A unique opportunity to rethink the governance of French- and Portuguese-speaking countries in Central and West Africa
5. The programmatic response of International IDEA and its partners