Nic Cheeseman

Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham and was formerly the Director of the African Studies Centre at Oxford University. He mainly works on democracy, elections and development and has conducted fieldwork in a range of African countries including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The articles that he has published based on this research have won a number of prizes including the GIGA award for the best article in Comparative Area Studies (2013) and the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratization (2015). 

Professor Cheeseman is also the author or editor of ten books, including Democracy in Africa (2015), Institutions and Democracy in Africa (2017), How to Rig an Election (2018), and Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective (2018). In addition, he is the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, a former editor of the journal African Affairs, and an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel. A frequent commentator of African and global events, Professor Cheeseman’s analysis has appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Daily Nation and he writes a regular column for the Mail & Guardian. In total, his articles have been read over a million times. Many of his interviews and insights can be found on the website that he founded and co-edits, www.democracyinafrica.org.

Discrediting elections: Why the opposition playbook carries risks

By pushing their usually valid complaints onto the streets and the courts, opposition leaders deny governments the popular goodwill and international credibility they need to govern effectively

How colonial rule predisposed Africa to fragile authoritarianism

The unstable pathway many post-colonial African states followed was facilitated by the way in which European empires undermined democratic elements

Dictators expand their toolbox

An update of How to Rig an Election is a guide to new strategies used by authoritarian leaders to stay in power

Lunga erodes Zambia’s democracy

A proposed amendment to its Constitution may turn Zambia into a de facto one-party state

UK visas discriminate against Africans

No continent has suffered more from Britain’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy

WhatsApp played a big role in the Nigerian election. Not all of it was bad

In the recent Nigerian election WhatsApp was used to mislead voters. But it also strengthened democracy in other areas

How to get women’s voices heard in African politics

Getting women into politics is only half of the challenge. The second half is to make sure that women are not only seen, but also heard

How democratic revolutions are being subverted in Algeria and Sudan

One of the most misleading myths about African politics is the idea of the all-powerful leader who rules on their own through their cunning and wit

The pros and cons of coalitions in SA

Political mergers can enrich democracy and lead to more accountable government, but they can also lead to opportunism that undermine accountability

Presidents for life spell danger

Algerian and Sudanese citizens have taken to the streets and Cameroon and Uganda may be next

Algeria, Sudan and the danger of presidents-for-life

Unless something changes, Cameroon and Uganda might be next

New dictionary provides nuanced insights into the language of African politics

A dictionary of African politics reveals the witty and insightful political terminology that people in different African countries use.

Press Releases

Corporates: A force for good for a sustainable future

In order to see people and nature thrive what is required is a strong focus on partnerships – we cannot act alone anymore

Combatting wildlife crime in Southern Africa activity annual programme statement (APS) No. 04

Concept papers are sought for implementating activities, for a multi-faceted programme that aims to reduce poaching and illegal trade in wildlife

The financial decisions made during your life journey, and their impact on your retirement outcome

The longer you save towards retirement the larger your retirement savings are expected to be due to the effect of compounding interest

In conversation with SA Reserve Bank Governer, Lesetja Kganyago

'Make interest rates zero and inflation goes up and then people save less – we need savings to fund investment in this country'

Secure your business from cyber threats

Many business-grade security systems now have built-in learning systems and AI to help businesses stay up to date with protection

Mental Health

During the pandemic there's been a dramatic increase in depression, anxiety and suicides, according to some of the surveys done

Expert financial advice still recommended – especially in uncertain times

A financial advisor is an expert who will help you to protect your wealth and make a realistic plan when unexpected events threaten your wellbeing

What is a virtual card, and how does it work?

A virtual card lets you pay online without ever having to take your card from your wallet or exposing your actual account information

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