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African Governance Report III - 2013

Elections and the Management of Diversity

image of African Governance Report III - 2013
This report is the most comprehensive report on governance in Africa, assesses and monitors the progress African countries are making on governance, identifies capacity gaps in governance institutions and proposes polices and strategic interventions aimed at promoting good governance on the continent. It focuses on political and economic governance, development of the private sector and corporate governance, checks and balances in political power, institutional effectiveness and accountability of the executive, human rights and the rule of law, corruption and institutional capacity building. The theme of this third edition of the report revolves around elections in Africa becoming a significant tool for political change and genuine democratization.

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The economics of elections

Elections are expensive, and becoming more so in Africa because of rapid population growth and civil conflicts. Resources, especially money, are therefore critical to electoral competition in both the established and emerging democracies (Nassmacher 2009; Samuels 2001; Austin and Tjernstrom 2003). As the US politician Jesse Unruh observed, money is the “mother’s milk of politics” (Nassmacher 2003, 5). Money is a double-edged sword, however, and can also distort the electoral process (Igwe 2011), such that successful, sustainable democracy demands particular attention to political finance (Nassmacher 2003).

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