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.

Why African democracies are failing women — and what we can do to fix it

How can we better measure democracy to reflect women’s lived reality?

Sudan is Africa’s secret crisis

Having long failed to establish a stable political system, the government of President al-Bashir has presided over a prolonged economic crisis

No, Africa doesn’t need more strongmen

The evidence is conclusive: over and over again, democrats trump dictators

Why there’s a case for giving foreign aid to authoritarian regimes

Aid has never been just about helping people. It's also about gaining influence and exercising soft power

Tanzania suffers peril of populism

People call John Magufuli ‘The Bulldozer’. But in his haste to get things done, he might be wrecking the very foundations of his country’s democracy

Zambia’s slide to authoritarianism

As the country’s economy worsens, so dissent grows and its government becomes more repressive

Africa is urbanising fast – and its leaders are struggling to adapt

Expanding cities will fundamentally change politics on the continent

Rigged votes aren’t just an African thing

The average quality of elections around the world is much lower than most people realise

African leaders are more constrained by democratic rules than you think

The process of institutionalisation may be patchy and uneven. But one thing is clear: Africa is not without functioning institutions

Cambridge Analytica’s role in Africa overstated

Claims about Cambridge Analytica's role in elections in Nigeria and Kenya have been overstated.

Why Rwanda’s development model wouldn’t work elsewhere in Africa

The Rwandan model can't be replicated easily given that it depends heavily on political dominance and tight, centralised control of patronage networks

Kenya’s elections are much more than just a ruthless game of thrones

Despite their scepticism, Kenyan voters come out in large numbers to cast their ballots.

Press Releases

Transport Month

An infrastructure-led recovery will help to stimulate demand in the South African economy, which is vital post the Covid-19 pandemic

Limpopo’s Economic Recovery Plan to fight Covid-19 impact

Billions have been set aside to help farmers and industries get back on their feet as part of the Limpopo Socio-Economic Recovery Plan

Disrupt the corrupt

Whistle-blowers should be seen as real heroes in the fight against corruption and we need a change in culture for this to happen

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

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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

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