Learning from Success: The Implementation of Election Observation Recommendations in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Learning from Success: The Implementation of Election Observation Recommendations in Sub-Saharan Africa

January 06th, 2020

by Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman, International Development Department, University of Birmingham


International election observers invest significant time and energy in making recommendations designed to improve the integrity and credibility of future elections. Yet observers do not always have the opportunity to monitor the implementation of their recommendations over time, nor the capacity to conduct in-depth research into why certain recommendations may be successfully implemented while others are not. With this in mind, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) has partnered with the University of Birmingham on a new project that tracks the implementation of observers’ recommendations across five countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Uganda. Preliminary analysis reveals significant variation in terms of which recommendations are implemented, as well as some surprising successes – cases where, against the odds, the recommendations of international observers appear to have contributed to real and concrete improvements in electoral processes. Our initial analysis also identifies promising lines of inquiry for future research that will help to better connect international election observation with democracy assistance more broadly.

Download the first findings

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