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Paul Kagame showed off the first stamp in his AU passport, launched in July.
Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Signs of progress.

Africa is home to only one fully fledged democracy

By Lily Kuo

The African continent is home to only one fully fledged democracy, Mauritius, according to a recently released index from the Economist Intelligence Unit. The list, which takes into account things like electoral procedures, civil liberties, and political participation, classified seven African countries as  ”flawed democracies,” 13 as “hybrid regimes,” and 23 as authoritarian regimes.

Country Regime type
Mauritius Full democracy
Cape Verde Flawed democracy
Botswana Flawed democracy
South Africa Flawed democracy
Ghana Flawed democracy
Lesotho Flawed democracy
Namibia Flawed democracy
Senegal Flawed democracy
Zambia Hybrid regime
Tanzania Hybrid regime
Mali Hybrid regime
Benin Hybrid regime
Malawi Hybrid regime
Kenya Hybrid regime
Liberia Hybrid regime

Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall “democracy” score on the index has remained flat for the last five years, according to the EIU index. Improvements in political participation and frequency of elections have been counteracted by crackdowns on civil liberties and media suppression, the report notes.

Though democratic elections were held in almost a dozen African countries last year, most citizens still see their governments as corrupt. African countries were among the lowest ranked on a new corruption index by Transparency International. Sub-Saharan Africa averaged a score of 31 on a scale of 0 to 100 where 100 is seen as “very clean.” The score, based on citizen attitudes, was much less than the global average of 43, and down from last year’s score of 33.

The results suggest that African citizens aren’t so easily persuaded by election promises to crack down on corruption. Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya, where government-led anti-corruption campaigns were prominent, all failed to improve their scores. South Africa, where the president has been embroiled in a scandal over state capture, or outside influence on the office, improved its score by one point. The least corrupt countries on the continent were Botswana, Cape Verde, and Mauritius,

Country Corruption perception score
Botswana 60
Cape Verde 59
Mauritius 54
Rwanda 54
Namibia 52
Sao Tome and Principe 46
Senegal 45
South Africa 45
Ghana 43
Burkina Faso 42
Lesotho 39
Zambia 38
Liberia 37
Benin 36
Gabon 35
Niger 35
Côte d´Ivoire 34
Ethiopia 34
Mali 32
Tanzania 32

Somalia, South Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau were seen as the most corrupt, according to Transparency International’s index.

Country Corruption perception score
Nigeria 28
Guinea 27
Mozambique 27
Cameroon 26
Gambia 26
Kenya 26
Madagascar 26
Uganda 25
Comoros 24
Zimbabwe 22
Democratic Republic of Congo 21
Burundi 20
Central African Republic 20
Chad 20
Republic of Congo 20
Angola 18
Eritrea 18
Guinea-Bissau 16
South Sudan 11
Somalia 10