Democracy in Africa

Ugandans wait to vote in the presidential election in Kampala, Uganda. (Jerome Delay/AP)

At his first inauguration in 1986, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni famously blamed Africa’s problems on leaders who stay in power for too long. Thirty-five years later, he’s settling into his sixth term in office.

Museveni is just one of many African presidents who have maintained their hold on power by circumventing, modifying or eliminating constitutional clauses limiting presidents to a maximum of two terms. Just last year, Alpha Condé of Guinea and Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire followed the well-trodden trail blazed by Azali Assoumani of the Comoros, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo and Ismail Guelleh of Djibouti, among others.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Chinese-backed railway in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2017. (Khalil Senosi/AP)

Over the past two decades, China and Africa have dramatically expanded their political and economic ties. China’s leading role in development financing has some observers concerned about political influence, economic power and debt.

Washington-based think tank Freedom House gives China a score of 9 out of 100 on its Global Freedom Index, compared to 83, 90 and 93, respectively, for the United States and former colonial powers France and the United Kingdom. Unlike Western donors, China doesn’t condition its assistance on political agendas such as the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Democracy advocates worry that Africa’s fledgling democratic governments’ ability to turn to China’s condition-free resources may make it harder to promote democratic and accountable governance across the continent.…  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 »