The Africa Programme’s work on elections and political systems provides analysis of latest developments during election cycles in sub-Saharan African countries, as well as setting out the wider context and political trends behind the headlines.

Since its inception, the Programme has produced regular publications and hosted events aimed at helping international policymakers better understand the domestic and regional implications of the ever-increasing number of elections held on the continent. A 2017 Africa Programme event with the chairperson of the African Union, HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, looked at options for strengthening democracy in the continent.

Programme staff also regularly participate in election observation missions across sub-Saharan Africa, with most recently serving as members of the National Democratic Institute's (NDI) International Observer Missions in Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria, and as a member of the Commonwealth Observer Mission in Ghana.

2017 saw several major elections and political transitions in Africa, including polls in Kenya and Liberia, and the end of the reigns of three long-standing leaders: President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola. As the ballot box becomes a more prominent part of political life in Africa, Africa Programme publication and events are investigating how the entrenchment of the rule of law and stronger institutions can take the heat out of political crises. 

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