Making sense of coups and democratic renewal in Africa

Experts assess the recent return of coups in Africa and what this means for democracy in the region.

Research event, Panel
13 September 2023 — 12:00PM TO 1:30PM
Chatham House and Online

Africa has experienced an uptick in unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) over the past three years, with Niger and Gabon (ongoing) recently joining a host of countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan and Guinea – who have all experienced of successful or attempted coups.

These latest developments in the widening ‘coup belt’ across the Sahel, West Africa and Central Africa underscore the need to better understand the underlying socio-economic drivers of this rise in coups and how to address them. A new research paper by UNDP entitled ‘Soldiers and Citizens: Military coups and the need for democratic renewal in Africa’ examines these structural drivers and finds that persistent insecurity, stagnant growth, exclusionary economic governance and low development indicators are associated with higher coup risk.

At this hybrid event, speakers will discuss the findings of the UNDP paper, the drivers and repercussions of coups, and effective pathways for engagement. The event will focus in particular on how to centre development in long-term strategies for enhanced social stability and coup resilience, and how to ensure regional and international responses to coups go beyond sanctions and military intervention.

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