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AFRICAN ELECTIONS DATABASE

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Electoral Democracies in Sub-Saharan Africa
 
Freedom House's criteria for designation as an Electoral Democracy
1. A competitive, multiparty political system.
2. Universal adult suffrage for all citizens (with exceptions for restrictions that states may legitimately place on citizens as sanctions for criminal offenses).
3. Regularly contested elections conducted in conditions of ballot secrecy, reasonable ballot security, and the absence of massive voter fraud that yields results that are unrepresentative of the public will.
4. Significant public access of major political parties to the electorate through the media and through generally open political campaigning.
Additional Note: The presence of certain irregularities during the electoral process does not automatically disqualify a country from being designated an electoral democracy. A country cannot be an electoral democracy if significant authority for national decisions resides in the hands of an unelected power, whether a monarch or a foreign or international authority. A country is removed from the ranks of electoral democracies if its last national elections were not sufficiently free or fair, or if changes in law significantly eroded the public's opportunity for electoral choice.
 
Year-by-Year Summary
Year # of Electoral Democracies

% of EDs in Sub-Saharan Africa

"Free" Democracies "Partly Free" Democracies
1989-1990 3 7% 3 0
1990-1991 4 9% 4 0
1991-1992 8 17% 8 0
1992-1993 10 21% 9 1
1993-1994 15 31% 8 7
1994-1995 18 38% 8 10
1995-1996 18 38% 9 9
1996-1997 18 38% 9 9
1997-1998 17 35% 9 8
1998-1999 17 35% 9 8
1999-2000 20 42% 8 12
2000-2001 21 44% 9 12
2001-2002 20 42% 9 11
2002-2003 20 42% 11 9
2003-2004 19 40% 11 8
2004-2005 20 42% 11 9
2005-2006 24 50% 11 13
2006-2007 24 50% 11 13
2007-2008 24 50% 11 13
2008-2009 22 46% 10 12
2009-2010 19 40% 9 10
2010-2011 18 38% 9 9
2011-2012 19 39% 9 10
 
Year-by-Year Details
 

1989-1990

Number of Electoral Democracies: 3 Countries
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 3 Countries
Botswana, The Gambia, and Mauritius.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: None
 

1990-1991

Number of Electoral Democracies: 4 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Additions: Namibia
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 4 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Botswana, The Gambia, Mauritius, and Namibia.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: None
 

1991-1992

Number of Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (+4 from the previous year)
Additions: Benin, Cape Verde, São Tomé & Príncipe, and Zambia
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (+4 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and Zambia.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: None
 

1992-1993

Number of Electoral Democracies: 10 Countries (+2 from the previous year)
Additions: Congo-Brazzaville and Mali
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and Zambia.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 1 Country (+1 from the previous year)
Congo-Brazzaville
 

1993-1994

Number of Electoral Democracies: 15 (+5 from the previous year)
Additions: Central African Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Niger, and Seychelles
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, and São Tomé & Príncipe.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 7 Countries (+6 from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Lesotho, Madagascar, Niger, Seychelles, and Zambia.
 

1994-1995

Number of Electoral Democracies: 18 Countries (+3 from the previous year)
Additions: Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa
Removals: The Gambia
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 10 Countries (+3 from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Seychelles, and Zambia.
 

1995-1996

Number of Electoral Democracies: 18 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: None
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
Partly Free Democracies: 9 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Seychelles, and Zambia.
 

1996-1997

Number of Electoral Democracies: 18 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: Ghana and Sierra Leone
Removals: Niger and Zambia
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

1997-1998

Number of Electoral Democracies: 17 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Additions: Liberia
Removals: Congo-Brazzaville and Sierra Leone
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Seychelles.
 

1998-1999

Number of Electoral Democracies: 17 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: Sierra Leone
Removals: Lesotho
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

1999-2000

Number of Electoral Democracies: 20 Countries (+3 from the previous year)
Additions: Djibouti, Niger, and Nigeria
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 12 Countries (+4 from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2000-2001

Number of Electoral Democracies: 21 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Additions: Senegal
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 12 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2001-2002

Number of Electoral Democracies: 20 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Additions: The Gambia
Removals: Central African Republic and Liberia
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Djibouti, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2002-2003

Number of Electoral Democracies: 20 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: Kenya and Lesotho
Removals: Djibouti and The Gambia
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (+2 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (-2 from the previous year)
Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2003-2004

Number of Electoral Democracies: 19 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Additions: None
Removals: Guinea-Bissau
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 8 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2004-2005

Number of Electoral Democracies: 20 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Additions: Comoros
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2005-2006

Number of Electoral Democracies: 24 Countries (+4 from the previous year)
Additions: Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, and Liberia
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 13 Countries (+4 from the previous year)
Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Sierra Leone.
 

2006-2007

Number of Electoral Democracies: 24 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: Zambia
Removals: Nigeria
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 13 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
 

2007-2008

Number of Electoral Democracies: 24 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Additions: Mauritania
Removals: Kenya
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 11 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 13 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
 

2008-2009

Number of Electoral Democracies: 22 Countries (-2 from the previous year)
Additions: None
Removals: Central African Republic and Mauritania
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 10 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 12 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Burundi, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
 

2009-2010

Number of Electoral Democracies: 19 Countries (-3 from the previous year)
Additions: None
Removals: Madagascar, Mozambique, and Niger
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 10 Countries (-2 from the previous year)
Burundi, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
 

2010-2011

Number of Electoral Democracies: 18 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Additions: Tanzania
Removals: Burundi and Guinea-Bissau
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (-1 from the previous year)
Comoros, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia.
 

2011-2012

Number of Electoral Democracies: 19 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Additions: Niger
Removals: None
 
"Free" Electoral Democracies: 9 Countries (unchanged from the previous year)
Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, São Tomé & Príncipe, and South Africa.
 
"Partly Free" Electoral Democracies: 10 Countries (+1 from the previous year)
Comoros, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia.
 
 
 
 

Freedom in Africa

2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 20102011 | 2012
Electoral Democracies (1989-present)