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African regional organizations and democratization

About this project

Research on the determinants of electoral integrity has disproportionately focused on the role of international observers and global institutions, such as the UNDP. African regional organizations, such as East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Southern African Development Community (SADC) among other organizations and multilateral programs, such as NEPAD and APRM, have increasingly become involved in election-related concerns. In particular, African regional organizations embrace de jure commitments to democracy and good governance in treaties, protocols, and guidelines.

Nevertheless, efforts to promote free and fair elections vary across regions and elections. What explains the highly variable behavior of African regional organizations? In addition to explaining regional intervention, it is important to discern the influence of regional organization interventions on election quality outcomes. On a broader level, the regional dimension is crucial for explaining the prospects for realizing increased integration across the African continent.

Regional Organization Membership

Regional Organization Developments

In recent years, efforts have been made to increase the autonomy and capacity of African regional organizations. However, there is great variation in the extent to which institutional development has taken place. Another development on the horizon are efforts to make regional institutions less dependent on external financial support. The move away from external support should be matched with increases in the autonomy and capacity of the regional organizations.

The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG)