Electoral Commission members and senior officials from election management bodies in West and Central Africa on Monday engaged in a specialised training programme designed to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of election administrators.
The five-day workshop based on a capacity-building curriculum known as "the BRIDGE Project" (Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections) is being organised by the African Union and International IDEA.
Mr. Theophilus Dowetin, IDEA West Africa Programme Manager, expressed concern about the lack of a university awarding degree in election administration on the continent even though recent events in Africa remind us of how important credible elections are and that democracy requires the continuous building and strengthening its institutions and process.
He said: "Election management is the greatest logistics event any country may undertake in peace times; for elections to be free and fair and to produce a credible result the body organising the elections needs to have independence, integrity and professionalism.
"The BRIDGE training curriculum focuses on the professional development of election administrators – recognising that this is one of the essential ingredients for a successful election."
Mr Dowetin said the aim of the Accra BRIDGE "Professional Development Training (PDT) Course" includes providing a platform for analysing global trends, standards, principles, practices and processes in election management; build professional networks amongst practitioners; and enhance leadership competencies in sustainable election management
Mr William Williams, Australian High Commissioner in Ghana, said Australia was pleased to be associated with the professionalisation of election administration in the respective countries of participants.
About 21 election administrators from 11 Africa countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo- are attending the course with funding from the Australian Government.