An all-time low: Africans discontent with quality of democracy


Africans consistently show a strong desire for democratic and accountable governance, but they are not satisfied with the quality of democracy in their countries, according to Boniface Dulani, Afrobarometer* Director of Surveys.

“While the story on the support for democracy is positive, unfortunately, the picture on the supply side is negative. African 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 told the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), hosted in collaboration with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) and the Data for Governance Alliance:

  • Across 28 countries surveyed in 2021/2022, Afrobarometer data show that seven in 10 Africans (69%) 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.
  • 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 African Legal Information, Inge Papp, introduced participants to the Data for Governance AGP website, which “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.

*A partner of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 

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