Africans consistently show a strong desire for democratic and accountable governance, but they are not satisfied with the quality of democracy in their countries.
Afrobarometer Director of Surveys, Boniface Dulani, made the statement at an African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) civil society engagement, hosted in collaboration with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and the Data for Governance Alliance, an Afrobarometer-led and EU-funded project focused on promoting democracy, good governance and human rights on the continent.
The webinar marked APRM’s 20th anniversary. Discussion focused on the latest research and trends in democracy and democratic norms.
“While the story on the support for democracy is positive, unfortunately, the picture on the supply side is negative. Africans’ citizens think there are problems with the quality of democracy and how democracy works in their countries, and this has been consistent over time,” Dulani said.
Dulani unpacked Afrobarometer’s Round 9 survey findings. Across 28 countries surveyed in 2021/2022, Afrobarometer data show that about seven in 10 Africans (67%) prefer democracy to any other kind of government, and three in four (75%) support choosing leaders through regular, open and honest elections. Two-thirds (65%) of Africans are also in support of multiparty competition.
Africans’ citizens think there are problems with the quality of democracy and how democracy works in their countries, and this has been consistent over time
But while the demand for democracy is without question, the supply side is wanting. In 25 countries surveyed between 2014-2022, satisfaction with democracy is the lowest it has ever been. Only four in 10 (39%) Africans say they are satisfied with the way democracy is functioning in their country, a drop from 46% in 2014/15, and under half (46%) describe their country as “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems.”
Managing Editor at AfricanLII, Inge Papp, introduced participants to the Data for Governance AGP website (AGP.AfricanLii.org) which gives free access to over 5000 legal and policy instruments, judgments and communiques, produced by the organs of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.
"The AGP website is intended to be a clearinghouse of AU legal resources which are up-to-date, comprehensive and authoritative and which can be referred to and used by CSOs, lawyers, researchers or anyone else working in this space," she said.
APRM urged civil society organisations to actively participate in upcoming 20th anniversary events.
“A series of events will be organized across the continent to celebrate APRM successes, reflect on its challenges and popularise its work in improving governance in Africa. The main objective of this commemoration is to raise public awareness and understanding of the APRM as the premier African instrument for the promotion of good governance,” APRM’s Head of Communications, Liziwe Masilela, said.
The seminar underscored the importance of the collective power of civil society organisations as well as the centrality of promoting data-driven approaches to strengthen the impact of democracy.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Data for Governance Alliance.