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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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Competitive elections and conflict

Most African elections have improved, reshaping the stereotype that they are perverse and conflict based. Only about 20% of elections held in Africa between 1990 and 2008 involved significant levels of violence (Goldsmith 2010; Straus 2012). Yet outbreaks of conflict remain worrying, and take on a high profile. Since 2007, conflict-ridden elections in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe show the distance that Africa still needs to cover in improving its elections. Conflicts undermine the legitimacy of elections and their outcomes, and devalue the democratic process.

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