69 percent was the voter turnout in the 2016 general election in Ghana. This is on a par with elections in Spain in 2015 and Finland in 2012, and much higher than the 55 percent turnout in the US presidential election in 2016. Although many African countries still have self-proclaimed presidents-for-life, signs of democratisation are increasing across the continent. The number of countries that hold direct parliamentary elections has increased since the end of the Cold War, and more and more multiparty elections are being held. Voter turnout is on the rise in many African countries and so is female participation, except in North Africa. West African countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Senegal, have seen more or less peaceful regime changes in recent years.

These countries are not free of problems, far from it, but elections have been relatively free and fair. However, in East and Central Africa the prospects for democracy look more gloomy.

NAI researcher Anders Sjögren

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