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Democracy improving in Nigeria, Africa despite challenges — IDEA


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…9 African countries in top 50 democracies

….Popular movements in Nigeria, others play vital role

The Global State of Democracy (GSoD) 2023 Report has revealed that democracy is improving in Nigeria and other African countries despite major challenges. It noted that countries in Africa like The Gambia and Zambia have shown that democratic consolidation is also gaining ground despite waves of unrest and military coups across the continent, especially the Sahel region.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Africa and West Asia Regional Office; in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland, presented the 2023 edition of the Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Report, titled “The New Checks and Balances.” on February 8, 2024, in Addis Ababa.

According to the press statement on Thursday by the Communications Officer, International IDEA Africa and West Asia Regional Office, Mr. Sami Ahmed, key report highlights show political participation is emerging as a regional strength, with nine African countries ranking among the top 50 globally in levels of Participation.

The statement with the theme: “Emerging Strengths and Challenges: Exploring Africa’s Democratic Landscape and Institutional Transformations”, stressed that experiences in countries like Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone have shown that popular movements can play a vital role as countervailing institutions when other institutions have been unable to constrain governments.

The launching of the report in Ethiopia drew participation from an array of stakeholders, including International IDEA member states, the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), United Nations agencies, diplomatic representatives, civil society organizations, research institutions, think tanks, academic bodies, election management bodies, and government officials.

International IDEA’s annual Global State of Democracy Report provides an overview of the global and regional trends related to democracy and human rights, complemented by case studies as well as a set of actionable recommendations for policy makers, governments and civil society.

“The challenges are huge in Africa and what we have seen in the Sahel over the last few years highlights the risks to democracy in the continent,” said Roba Sharamo, Regional Director Africa and West Asia Office at International IDEA. “But there are also green shoots across the region, most notably the strengthening role of civic groups and popular political movements.

The report also shows that formal countervailing institutions have a mixed record. Co-opted and weak legislatures have contrasted with judiciaries and fourth-branch institutions that have demonstrated that they can be effective checks on executive power.

The role of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities in establishing and upholding democratic norms in Africa is underscored in the report.

However, inadequate compliance by member states (including on matters as serious as reinstating a head of state or making a swift transition back to civilian rule) has shown that there is no substitute for effective democratic institutions at the domestic level.

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