E. Gyimah-Boadi

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Swearing Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba in as president of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, March 2022. Anne Mimault / Reuters

On September 5, 2021, a 41-year-old colonel in Guinea’s special forces took to the radio to announce that President Alpha Condé had been arrested and the constitution had been dissolved. The colonel, Mamady Doumbouya, said he and his fellow coup makers were fulfilling their duty to “save the country”. As he spoke, a photo of the disheveled 83-year-old Condé—slouched on a couch, surrounded by his captors—went viral on social media, inspiring a meme as young Guineans humorously reenacted the scene.

Over the last two years, coups themselves seem to have gone viral in West Africa, accelerating an already troubling trend toward authoritarianism.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council and protesters from the surrounding communities hold placards during a picket in Cape Town, South Africa, against the construction of the new Africa headquarters for U.S. retail giant Amazon on Nov. 12. (Shelley Christians/Reuters)

African citizens are raising their voices. In just the past three months, protesters have taken to the streets to demand democracy in Eswatini and to show their opposition to anti-democratic power grabs in Tunisia and Sudan. Since April 2017, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has recorded more than 70 episodes in 35 African countries of protests focused on issues ranging from police brutality and presidential third-term attempts to covid-19 restrictions.

Citizen participation and government responsiveness are cornerstones of democracy. In the first installment in this Afrobarometer series in anticipation of the Biden administration’s Dec. 9-10 Summit for Democracy, we reported that African citizens are committed to democracy — even if they aren’t getting as much of it as they want.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Africans line up in the early morning cold to vote on May 8, 2019, in Bekkersdal, South Africa, west of Johannesburg. (Ben Curtis/AP)

In December, the Biden administration will gather government, private-sector and society leaders in a global Summit for Democracy. The summit will be a forum at which institutions and countries will discuss democratic aspirations, confront threats faced by democracies around the world, and establish “an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal.”

Afrobarometer will participate in the summit, bringing the perspectives of ordinary Africans to the table. The quality of democracy and governance across the continent are Afrobarometer’s core themes, so we have a lot to say, especially since we just completed 48,084 face-to-face interviews in 34 countries in our eighth survey round (2019-2021).…  Seguir leyendo »

Guineans began voting on Oct. 18 to choose their next president in the first high-risk round of an election that marks the start of a busy electoral cycle in West Africa (John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images)

While the coronavirus’s toll in Africa has been less severe than many analysts initially feared (South Africa being the major exception), the Gates Foundation and others have warned that the pandemic may wipe out years of progress in fighting poverty and improving health around the world.

These setbacks are likely to increase pressures on African governments. Even before the pandemic, citizens were already demanding urgent action on jobs and health, and growing increasingly critical of their countries’ overall direction, Afrobarometer public attitude surveys show.

The new biweekly Friday Afrobarometer series, starting today in the Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, will explore these and other critical current topics, helping to explain Africans’ democratic aspirations and economic ambitions that will mark policy engagement with Africa well beyond the coronavirus pandemic.…  Seguir leyendo »

Malians supporting the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta gather to celebrate in the capital, Bamako, on Aug. 21. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

In Mali, after weeks of large-scale demonstrations demanding that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resign, the military settled the matter. Amid international condemnation of last week’s coup deposing Keïta, thousands of Malians celebrated in the streets.

With a military junta running the country, are Malians ready to give up on democracy? Here’s what Malians themselves have to say, based on a recent Afrobarometer survey.

The March-April 2020 survey revealed textbook conditions for a popular uprising as well as strong popular trust in the military — factors that may explain why many Malians seem to welcome, or at least accept, a coup as the country’s best chance to escape a downward spiral of corruption, poor services and economic failure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Local volunteers hand out bread to residents of the Booysens informal settlement during a bread distribution organized by a grass-roots organization in Johannesburg. (Michele Spatari/AFP/Getty Images)

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging governments in Africa, just as it is around the globe. Many Africans already assess their public officials skeptically, wary of corruption, coercion and inadequate care for ordinary people’s physical, social and economic welfare, as our research on citizens’ experiences and evaluations shows. How African governments respond to this crisis — whether with compassion and respect or corruption and coercion — will influence their citizens’ trust in government for years to come.

The rule of law vs. reality

In general, Africans see their governments as legitimate. In Afrobarometer Round 7, which collected data from more than 45,800 respondents across 34 African countries between late 2016 and late 2018, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of respondents said that people must always obey the law, including majorities in all 34 countries.…  Seguir leyendo »