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WP181: Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable? Evidence from Africa

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done on its effects on other strategies for democratic accountability, such as contacting an elected representative and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these forms of participation.

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WP180: Police-citizen interaction in Africa: An exploration of factors that influence victims’ reporting of crimes

While personal insecurity in Africa is typically associated with civil wars, crime is actually a far more common threat to the continent’s citizens. Rates of homicide, sexual assault, and property crime in Africa are often far higher than global averages. Despite such threats, many Africans do not report crimes to the police.

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WP179: Electricity provision and tax mobilization in Africa

In this paper, we provide evidence on how the provision of social infrastructure such as reliable electricity can be leveraged to increase taxation in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, using comprehensive data from the latest round of the Afrobarometer survey, we estimate, via the instrumental variable approach, the effect of access and reliability of electricity on tax compliance attitudes of citizens in 36 SSA countries.

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AD196: Who’s watching? Voters seen as key in holding elected officials accountable

In addition to the growing number of African states that conduct regular elections and embed democratic principles in their constitutions, evidence comes from survey-based research that most Africans support democratic values and reward governments that adhere to democratic rules (Mattes & Bratton, 2007; Bratton & Mattes, 2001). However, in many countries, citizen demand for democracy is not met by supply of democracy (Mattes & Bratton, 2016) as governments, once elected, fail to respect the norms of democratic governance (Gyimah-Boadi, 2015).

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Ghanaians strongly endorse rule of law but see inequities in how laws are applied

Most Ghanaians endorse the rule of law and the legitimacy of key state enforcement bodies, a recent Afrobarometer survey reveals, affirming that the rule of law should and in fact does anchor democratic practices in the country. Even so, there is a widespread – and growing – belief that inequities exist in how laws are applied, with unfair advantage given to officials and the wealthy.

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AD194: Ghanaians strongly endorse rule of law but see inequities in how laws are applied

Until January 7, 1993, Ghana’s post-independence history was checkered at best. The country’s first three democratic regimes never completed their first terms in office, ending in military coups d’états and the suspension of the constitutions underpinning their existence. The military regimes that ruled the country were largely autocratic and characterized by human-rights breaches and disregard for the rule of law. 

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Election of MMDCEs and other aspects of local governance: What do Ghanaians say?

At a glance

  • Election of MMDCEs: More than two-thirds (69%) of Ghanaians “strongly agree” or “agree” that metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs) should be elected by voters in the local authority area.
  • Trust in local government officials: Trust in local government councillors has increased by 12 percentage points since 2014 but remains 7 percentage points lower, compared to 2005.
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Ghanaians favour election of metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs)

Most Ghanaians want a voice in choosing their metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs), a recent Afrobarometer survey reveals. Support for elected rather than appointed MMDCEs is strong across regions, demographic groups, and major political parties. 

The data is being released at a time when the president has reiterated the government’s commitment to push for a law that would make MMDCE positions elective in a bid to improve transparency and accountability at the local level.

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H. Kwasi Prempeh replaces E. Gyimah-Boadi as executive director of CDD-Ghana

Legal scholar and governance expert Henry Kwasi Prempeh succeeds retiring E. Gyimah-Boadi, who will continue as executive director of Afrobarometer.

The Board of Directors of Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh as the new Executive Director of the Center.  Professor Prempeh’s appointment, which takes effect from February 1, 2018, follows the retirement of the Center’s founding Executive Director Professor E. Gyimah-Boadi.  

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Turning raw data into useful information: Ashesi University sharpens students’ statistical skills

  Josephine Appiah-Nyamekye is Afrobarometer regional communications coordinator for anglophone West Africa, based at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). jappiah@afrobarometer.org

Take a ton of raw data and a pinch of passion, stir vigorously, and what do you get? A lot of food for thought.

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Quest for greener pastures: Four in 10 Ghanaians have considered emigrating

Four in 10 Ghanaians have considered emigrating, although far fewer are actually taking steps to leave the country, a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates.

The study reveals that most potential emigrants are in search of more favourable economic prospects. A majority would prefer to live outside Africa, with North America and Europe being the most preferred destinations.

The data is released as the world expresses outrage over reports of slavery and the inhuman treatment meted out to migrants in Libya.

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Afrobarometer Round 7 survey in Ghana

At a glance

Attitude towards emigration: About one-third of Ghanaians declare an intention to emigrate within a year or two, while about one in ten Ghanaians are currently planning to emigrate.

Political party vigilantism: Majority of Ghanaians (88%)  “approve” that government prosecutes and punishes members of political party vigilante groups that engage in acts of lawlessness,  irrespective of their party affiliation.

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Ghanaians decry ‘galamsey,’ favour government providing alternative livelihood support

A majority of Ghanaians support the government’s efforts to clamp down on illegal small-scale mining, popularly known as “galamsey,” a recent Afrobarometer survey indicates.

The survey also shows that Ghanaians overwhelmingly favour the government’s proposed initiatives to develop alternative livelihoods for those affected by the clampdown.

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PP43: Tax compliance Africans affirm civic duty but lack trust in tax department

In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state. 

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Ghanaians call for tough punishment for corrupt public officials

A majority of Ghanaians demand stiff punishment for corrupt public officials, including jail time, restitution of stolen funds, and public shaming, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

Findings show widespread popular perceptions of corruption in both government and private-sector leadership, with the police and judges most widely seen as corrupt. But public approval of the government’s efforts to combat corruption has increased dramatically since 2014, after more than a decade of decline.

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AD175: Ghanaians disapprove of illegal mining, endorse alternative livelihood support by government

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WP176: The autocratic trust bias: Politically sensitive survey items and self-censorship

Because of a perceived risk of repressive action, some survey questions are likely sensitive in more autocratic countries while less so in more democratic countries. Yet survey data on potentially sensitive topics are frequently used in comparative research despite concerns about comparability.

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Women’s interest in politics increases, though gender gap remains

Ghanaian women’s interest in public affairs and political discussion increased between 2012 and 2015, reversing a decade-long decline, a new analysis of Afrobarometer data indicates.  This shifting attitude of women toward politics was recorded prior to the seventh presidential and parliamentary election of the 4th Republic, when there was a clarion call for an increase in women’s participation and representation in the country’s politics.

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Geocoded data

Subnationally geocoded Afrobarometer data

Analyze the priorities, preferences, experiences, and opinions of more than 200,000 African citizens in 28,000 localities.

In partnership with:

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Access to justice still elusive for many Africans, Afrobarometer survey finds

In most African countries, substantial barriers still inhibit citizens’ access to justice, a new Afrobarometer analysis finds. 

Based on a special access-to-justice module in national surveys in 36 African countries, the sobering report identifies long delays, high costs, corruption, the complexity of legal processes, and a lack of legal counsel as major obstacles for citizens seeking legal remedies.

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How good are Africa's elections? Afrobarometer video.

Video transcript:

Dozens of African countries regularly conduct national and local elections.

Each election picks a winner.

But beyond winners and losers, the quality of each election also shapes how people feel about their political system in general.

Free and fair elections make people want more democracy.

Elections tainted by repression, fraud, or violence have the opposite effect.

So how good are Africa’s elections?

Afrobarometer surveyed  more than 53,000 citizens in 36 countries, in every region of Africa.

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Do Africans still want democracy? Afrobarometer findings warn of democratic recession, point to long-term gains

A decade-long upward trend in African citizens’ demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012, according to a new Afrobarometer analysis.
But despite warning signs of a democratic recession, public demand for democracy remains higher than a decade ago, and most Africans still say they want more democracy than they’re actually getting – a good basis for future democratic gains.

One important factor: the quality of elections. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to show increases in popular demand for democracy.

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World Development Information Day: China’s growing presence in Africa wins positive popular reviews (Afrobarometer findings)

Key findings

  • On average across 36 African countries, China is the second-most-popular model for national development (cited by 24% of respondents), trailing only the United States of America (30%). About one in 10 respondents prefer their former colonial power (13%) or South Africa (11%) as a model.
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Job performance of MPs, local councillors: Are representatives serving Africa’s voters or themselves? (Afrobarometer findings)

Key findings

  • Across 36 African countries, fewer than half of respondents say they trust their MPs (48%) and local councillors (46%) “somewhat” or “a lot.” Among 12 public institutions and leaders, MPs and local councillors rank eighth and ninth in public trust.
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