West Africa’s slide toward authoritarianism can be stopped, argues E. Gyimah-Boadi, Co-Founder and Board Chair of Afrobarometer and Co-Founder and Former CEO of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development. Popular support for democracy remains strong in the region despite the decline in the quality of governance, he writes for Foreign Affairs:
Public opinion surveys show that strong majorities express a preference for core democratic norms and institutions and demand human rights. Across the 14 West African countries covered in the most recent Afrobarometer survey, which was carried out between 2019 and 2021, three-quarters of respondents preferred democracy over any other form of government, and even larger majorities rejected authoritarian alternatives such as one-man rule (86 percent) and one-party rule (84 percent).
More remarkable for a region with huge gaps in government services, a clear majority agreed with the proposition that it is more important for a government to be accountable to the people than to “get things done.” In the 13 West African countries surveyed regularly over the past decade, popular demand for accountable governance (rather than governance that is effective but unaccountable) has increased by 11 percentage points. RTWT