From 31 January to 1 February 2017, Westminster Foundation for Democracy hosted 66 experts, academics and politicians from four countries in West Africa –Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal –for WFD’s first Regional Cost of Politics Conference.
Together they addressed a major challenge in the region: how to stem the rising costs of engaging in politics in West Africa. With the express goal of developing a platform for making politics more affordable, the conference provided an important forum to identify common trends in the region and develop a regional framework for tackling persistent challenges that candidates face, from securing their nomination to campaigning and maintaining a parliamentary seat –and their associated costs.
In this report, we present a summary of key themes and findings discussed throughout the conference. The report also includes a comprehensive set of recommendations that were agreed upon by all participants to address the regional challenges related to the cost of politics. The recommendations do not serve as a template for tackling the rising costs of politics in the region, but instead provide a set of general guidelines that can be utilised by experts throughout the region, who would then determine what areas and issues to focus on in line with their country’s unique circumstances, as well as its political, legal and regulatory system. This guide also opens the door to cross-regional communication and cooperation in attempting to solve common problems in the region.