November 5, 2015

2015 Africa Democracy Map

2015 African Democracy Map

Green = Democracy
Red  =   Dictatorship
White = Somewhere in between

How many democracies are there in Africa? Our map shows 21 out of a total of 50+ states.


(1) Only characteristics relating to the Head of State or Head of Government are assessed.

(2) To be a democratic Head of State or Government, you must have come to power and remained in power through multi-party elections. You also must have served no more than two terms.

(3) If you come to power through a coup and then organize elections which you win, such as Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt, you are not a democrat.

(4) If you succeed your father, who himself was a despot, you are almost certainly not a democrat, e.g. Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.

(5) Absolute monarchs are by definition not democrats. Ceremonial monarchies could possibly be democracies.

(6) If you are or were any kind of fighter (soldier, rebel, coup plotter etc), your democratic credentials are immediately suspect, however good the cause for which you were fighting.

(7) If you were indirectly elected by a small group of electors, such as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Somalia, your democratic credentials are undermined.

(1) Although the two-term limit could be regarded as unduly severe, especially by those comparing with the European experience (Angela Merkel etc), it should be noted that some of those who have exceeded this limit have done so by very lengthy periods, with little indication of their stepping down any time soon, e.g.

 Teodoro Obiang Masogo, Equatorial Guinea,                         36 years

 Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola                                            36 years

 Paul Biya, Cameroon                                                               33 years

Dennis Sassou-Nguesso, Congo Brazzaville                             31 years, non-continuous

 Omar al-Bashir, Sudan                                                             26 years
 Yoweri Museveni, Uganda                                                       29 years

 Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe                                                      28 years

Idriss Deby, Chad                                                                      25 years

Isaias Aferwerki, Eritrea                                                           22 years

 Yahya Jammeh, Gambia                                                          21 years