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

Africa is home to only one fully fledged democracy

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.

CountryRegime type
MauritiusFull democracy
Cape VerdeFlawed democracy
BotswanaFlawed democracy
South AfricaFlawed democracy
GhanaFlawed democracy
LesothoFlawed democracy
NamibiaFlawed democracy
SenegalFlawed democracy
ZambiaHybrid regime
TanzaniaHybrid regime
MaliHybrid regime
BeninHybrid regime
MalawiHybrid regime
KenyaHybrid regime
LiberiaHybrid 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,

CountryCorruption perception score
Botswana60
Cape Verde59
Mauritius54
Rwanda54
Namibia52
Sao Tome and Principe46
Senegal45
South Africa45
Ghana43
Burkina Faso42
Lesotho39
Zambia38
Liberia37
Benin36
Gabon35
Niger35
Côte d´Ivoire34
Ethiopia34
Mali32
Tanzania32

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

CountryCorruption perception score
Nigeria28
Guinea27
Mozambique27
Cameroon26
Gambia26
Kenya26
Madagascar26
Uganda25
Comoros24
Zimbabwe22
Democratic Republic of Congo21
Burundi20
Central African Republic20
Chad20
Republic of Congo20
Angola18
Eritrea18
Guinea-Bissau16
South Sudan11
Somalia10

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.