COVID-19 and Ghana’s 2020 Elections (PDF)

Paul Nugent, Gildfred Asiamah, Thomas Molony and Edem Selormey

COVID-19 and Tanzania’s 2020 Elections (PDF)

Victoria Lihiru, Robert Macdonald and Thomas Molony

COVID-19 and Central African Republic’s 2020 Elections (PDF)

Alain-Serge Magbe, Mychelle Balthazard, Jean-Benoît Falisse, Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck

African elections

About the project

Elections involve increased risks of spreading viruses, with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) highlighting more than 40 stages where people assemble or objects are transferred during the electoral cycle.

Despite these risks, when this project began in mid-2020, several elections had already taken place in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more scheduled to take place in the remainder of 2020 and during 2021, the project was designed to produce detailed, evidence-based, and context-specific recommendations for reducing the risks of increased COVID-19 transmission during elections.

The project followed three national elections (in Tanzania, Ghana and the Central African Republic) from beginning to end, and by-elections (in Kenya), looking closely at each stage of the electoral process and how the risks of COVID-19 transmission had been mitigated (if at all). It also assessed whether and how the pandemic was affecting political participation and whether the ability of any social (including gendered) groups or geographic populations to engage in the political process was impacted. The findings from each of these case studies are outlined in the briefing papers at the top of this webpage.

From this research, the project generated its recommendations for reducing the transmission of COVID-19 during elections (see above). Although these were specifically tailored to African elections, they were also designed to be valuable to other low and middle-income countries (LMICs) that were due to hold elections.

The project also generated evidence-based recommendations for holding elections during future pandemics and other emergencies (see above).

Project funding

This project was funded by UK Research and Innovation through the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund. Press release: UK Government to fund international Covid-19 studies in Scotland.

Research partners

Impact partners

Africa Research Group, Africa Directorate, The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)