Towards participative and inclusive reforms in Benin: An interparty dialogue workshop

NIMD and the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) held an interparty dialogue workshop on Benin’s institutional reforms as part of the Strategic Partnership programme with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The workshop was held on 24 and 25 January in Cotonou, Benin, and brought together representatives of the country’s main political parties, MPs and civil society representatives to discuss Benin’s upcoming institutional reforms.

The objectives

In line with the objectives of NIMD and AWEPA’s Benin programme, which include the facilitation of interparty dialogue between politicians to increase trust and build mutual relationships, the workshop aimed to create a consensus among the political parties to help find solutions to upcoming challenges. The dialogue also created a safe meeting space for the parliamentarians and political parties, where they could come together and discuss policies with their country’s best interests in mind.

More specifically, the workshop aimed to provide a platform for the political parties and MPs to:

  • Share their views on the institutional reform process, and particularly the revision of the Beninese Constitution;
  • Address the challenges and opportunities presented by the current reforms;
  • Identify the role of political parties in the process to ensure that the reforms are participative and inclusive.

An Interparty Dialogue Workshop in Benin (in French) from NIMD on Vimeo.

The topics

The workshop explored three main topic areas, each introduced by an expert in the field and then debated by the participants.

The first topic, introduced by the Chair of the Beninese Association of Constitutional Law, Prof. Joël Aivo, was the revision of the Beninese Constitution.

Prof. Aivo´s presentation aimed to consolidate the participants’ knowledge of the legislative and institutional framework surrounding political reforms in Benin, and the revision of the 1990 Constitution in particular.

Prof. Victor P. Topanou, Former Minister of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights, then addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by the current political party reforms in Benin.

Prof. Topanou placed a special focus on the current party system in Benin, and the challenges that political parties face, especially with regard to making their voices heard in the reform process.

Dr. Nathanièl H. Kitti, Deputy Head of the Department of Political Science of the National University of Benin, then took the floor to present the role of political parties towards participative and inclusive reforms.

Finally, as part of a visiting Kenyan delegation, Hon. Adam Bagoudou presented the experience of his country and the work of NIMD’s implementing partner, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy in Kenya.

Lively debates on the issues followed the presentations, and provided a valuable opportunity for participants to dialogue, and express their concerns and expectations.

Further reading (in French)

This activity is part of the ‘Lobby and Advocacy’ programme of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is implemented in cooperation with AWEPA. More on the Strategic Partnership with the Ministry here.