Africa in 2023: The year in elections

Nkasi Wodu | December 14, 2023

Madagascar, Libera, Nigeria, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe – 2023 was a year in elections for Africa. Problematic, controversial  and mostly disappointing in their nature and outcome, these elections have been crucial in shaping the democratic outlook of the continent.

In this piece for Democracy in Africa, 2021 New Voices Fellow, Nkasi Wodu provides a run down of the major electoral outcomes in Africa and their implications. Low turnouts, closely contested candidates and a country divided politic defined the nature of elections across the continent. Although, with incumbent President George Weah conceding to a defeat after losing in the run-off, Libera offers a glimmer of hope and a departure from the irregularities experienced in the other elections. “This single act of leadership alone ensured that Liberia, riddled with years of civil war, will continue to consolidate democracy and unity”, notes Wodu.

The elections, while troubling, raise pertinent lessons about democracy building in Africa. Wodu highlights three key lessons that  ensure government accountability and protect the integrity of the electoral process. From the place of the courts and an election management body in running peaceful elections to investing in a robust civil society who is defending democracy at the frontlines – Wodu emphasizes the importance of moving the democratic agenda forward across Africa calling it “a step that is sorely needed in the face of undemocratic government takeovers in recent years in the continent.”


To learn more about the recent elections in Africa and the lessons they offer click below.