African Governance Report III : Elections & the Management of Diversity

Author : United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Copy : 2

The African Governance Report, the most comprehensive report on governance in Africa, assesses and monitors the progress of African countries on governance, identifies capacity gaps in governance institutions and proposes policies and strategic interventions to improve governance on the continent.

This third edition of the Report, while continuing to monitor governance trends, adopts a thematic approach : elections and the management of diversity in Africa. Elections are central to democratic governance and the political management of diversity in plural societies. While elections are held with greater regularity in Africa, their content and quality
remains suspect in many countries, with Africa’s rich diversity deployed as a combustive tool in electoral conflicts. Elections have often triggered conflict, with violence, tensions, acrimonies and sharp elite divisions surrounding electoral processes and outcomes—a worrying trend for Africa’s democratic future.

This Report investigates elections in the face of managing diversity in Africa. It recommends major electoral, institutional, political and constitutional reforms to enable elections to facilitate the democratic management of diversity, while significantly improving their quality and credibility. These include reform of the party system to make it more inclusive and democratic, a move to more proportional electoral systems, and an increase in the autonomy and effectiveness of election management boards. The Report argues that regional and subregional initiatives and frameworks for elections, democracy and governance have to be implemented and monitored to improve electoral performance and promote democratic consolidation and stability.