Hi! Welcome to Semafor Africa where we dig into some of the biggest stories around the continent twice a week.
In light of the big upcoming elections coming up across Africa this year, it was interesting to peruse the latest Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit and find the main takeaway is that little has changed. For purely selfish reasons, we journalists prefer signs of a major change, in this case perhaps indicating some great leap forward in democratic values or even a significant backwards slide. But instead sub-Saharan Africa hasn’t moved.
By EIU’s metrics, the continent still has only one “full democracy” (Mauritius), six “flawed democracies”, 14 “hybrid democracies”, and 23 authoritarian democracies. That hasn’t changed in the last year. There was a slight upswing overall — with Angola and Niger among the world’s Top 10 most improved — but that was offset by Burkina Faso, where two military coups last year put it among the world’s worst performers.