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Liberians’ views on democracy, trust and corruption

Demand for democracy: A large majority of Liberians prefer democracy (70%) and reject alternatives to democratic rule – one-man rule (88%), one-party rule (77%), and military rule (73%).

Extent of democracy: Six in 10 Liberians describe the country as “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems,” but the same proportion say they are “not very satisfied” or “not at all satisfied” with the way democracy works in the country.


Almost half of Liberians perceive increase in corruption over the past year, new Afrobarometer survey shows

Almost half of Liberians say the level of corruption in the country has increased, new Afrobarometer data reveal. The police, National Electoral Commission, and National Assembly are perceived to be the most corrupt public officials, while religious and traditional leaders are perceived to be least corrupt. 


AD257: Liberians endorse democracy but are dissatisfied with the way it’s working in their country

Liberia’s recent presidential and legislative elections were widely considered a success and ushered in the country’s first peaceful democratic transition of power in 73 years. The National Democratic Institute’s election observation mission in Liberia called them “an historic achievement for the country and its citizens,” noting active voter-education campaigns, a strengthening of political parties, and improved transparency allowing citizens to observe various aspects of the electoral process (National Democratic Institute, 2018).


President’s performance, citizenship, land ownership and the TRC’s mandates: What do Liberians say?

At a glance

Performance of President Weah: 56% of Liberians approve of His Excellency President George Weah’s job performance since he assumed office in January 2018.

Citizenship: 68% of Liberians want the exclusive black citizenship law to be maintained. The same proportion say only Liberian citizens should be allowed to own land.


Liberians approve of President George Weah but critical of government economic performance, survey shows

A majority of Liberians approve of President George Weah’s performance since he assumed office in January 2018 but rate the government poorly on economic management, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.

The president received the highest approval rating among political leaders in Liberia. A majority of citizens say he is doing a good job on national security, domestic policy, and foreign policy issues.


WP181: Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable? Evidence from Africa

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done on its effects on other strategies for democratic accountability, such as contacting an elected representative and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these forms of participation.


WP180: Police-citizen interaction in Africa: An exploration of factors that influence victims’ reporting of crimes

While personal insecurity in Africa is typically associated with civil wars, crime is actually a far more common threat to the continent’s citizens. Rates of homicide, sexual assault, and property crime in Africa are often far higher than global averages. Despite such threats, many Africans do not report crimes to the police.


WP179: Electricity provision and tax mobilization in Africa

In this paper, we provide evidence on how the provision of social infrastructure such as reliable electricity can be leveraged to increase taxation in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, using comprehensive data from the latest round of the Afrobarometer survey, we estimate, via the instrumental variable approach, the effect of access and reliability of electricity on tax compliance attitudes of citizens in 36 SSA countries.


The Khana Group (TKG)

Khana - Noun /'Kana/ - Refers to the Palm “Kernel”, the kernel is the soft edible part of the palm fruit. It’s pronounced “Kana” in Liberian Pidgin English. The kernel is the nut, seed, or fruit stone contained within the hard shell of the palm fruit. The palm fruit represents timelessness, usefulness and sustainability--An epitome of TKG's mission to provide sustainable solutions that will positively impact and transform communities around the world.


AD196: Who’s watching? Voters seen as key in holding elected officials accountable

In addition to the growing number of African states that conduct regular elections and embed democratic principles in their constitutions, evidence comes from survey-based research that most Africans support democratic values and reward governments that adhere to democratic rules (Mattes & Bratton, 2007; Bratton & Mattes, 2001). However, in many countries, citizen demand for democracy is not met by supply of democracy (Mattes & Bratton, 2016) as governments, once elected, fail to respect the norms of democratic governance (Gyimah-Boadi, 2015).


PP43: Tax compliance Africans affirm civic duty but lack trust in tax department

In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state. 


WP176: The autocratic trust bias: Politically sensitive survey items and self-censorship

Because of a perceived risk of repressive action, some survey questions are likely sensitive in more autocratic countries while less so in more democratic countries. Yet survey data on potentially sensitive topics are frequently used in comparative research despite concerns about comparability.


AD151: As Liberia’s election approaches, what will citizens be looking for in their next government?

Later this year, after 12 years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will step down as president of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state, having completed her maximum of two terms. Sirleaf, who came to power after decades of underdevelopment, tyranny, and civil conflict in Liberia, will leave a legacy that has won international acclaim – including the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize – for progress in rebuilding infrastructure, strengthening health care and education, helping to bring warlord Charles Taylor to justice, and seeing the country through the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic (Lane, 2016).


Geocoded data

Subnationally geocoded Afrobarometer data

Analyze the priorities, preferences, experiences, and opinions of more than 200,000 African citizens in 28,000 localities.

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WP175: Wartime educational loss and attitudes toward democratic institutions

How does civil war affect society and citizen interaction with politics? Civilians who live through warfare face numerous challenges that can have permanent effects on society even after peace is achieved.

This project uses the Liberian civil wars as a case study to examine the impact of war through one channel – disruptions in education for an entire generation of children. The paper shows that negative effects of war on education and economic outcomes clash with citizen expectations for post-war democracy, leading to negative consequences for the democratization process.


Access to justice still elusive for many Africans, Afrobarometer survey finds

In most African countries, substantial barriers still inhibit citizens’ access to justice, a new Afrobarometer analysis finds. 

Based on a special access-to-justice module in national surveys in 36 African countries, the sobering report identifies long delays, high costs, corruption, the complexity of legal processes, and a lack of legal counsel as major obstacles for citizens seeking legal remedies.


How good are Africa's elections? Afrobarometer video.

Video transcript:

Dozens of African countries regularly conduct national and local elections.

Each election picks a winner.

But beyond winners and losers, the quality of each election also shapes how people feel about their political system in general.

Free and fair elections make people want more democracy.

Elections tainted by repression, fraud, or violence have the opposite effect.

So how good are Africa’s elections?

Afrobarometer surveyed  more than 53,000 citizens in 36 countries, in every region of Africa.


Do Africans still want democracy? Afrobarometer findings warn of democratic recession, point to long-term gains

A decade-long upward trend in African citizens’ demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012, according to a new Afrobarometer analysis.
But despite warning signs of a democratic recession, public demand for democracy remains higher than a decade ago, and most Africans still say they want more democracy than they’re actually getting – a good basis for future democratic gains.

One important factor: the quality of elections. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to show increases in popular demand for democracy.


World Development Information Day: China’s growing presence in Africa wins positive popular reviews (Afrobarometer findings)

Key findings

  • On average across 36 African countries, China is the second-most-popular model for national development (cited by 24% of respondents), trailing only the United States of America (30%). About one in 10 respondents prefer their former colonial power (13%) or South Africa (11%) as a model.

AD121: Approaching presidential transition, Liberians supportive and critical of their democracy

After a decade of relative stability that has included two presidential elections, Liberia is looking ahead to its first post-war electoral leadership transition when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second term ends in 2017.

Less than a generation removed from civil war, the country is still rebuilding governance and economic structures, and the upcoming elections – which are already drawing candidates from more than 20 political parties – promise to put that progress to the test.


AD116: Liberians on Ebola: Foreign aid most effective, but government performed well, is now better prepared

Liberia is one of five West African countries hit by the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease. Between March 2014 and May 2015, the epidemic in Liberia produced 10,675 suspected, probable, and confirmed infections and killed 4,809 people, including about 200 health-care workers (Doctors Without Borders, 2016).


Job performance of MPs, local councillors: Are representatives serving Africa’s voters or themselves? (Afrobarometer findings)

Key findings

  • Across 36 African countries, fewer than half of respondents say they trust their MPs (48%) and local councillors (46%) “somewhat” or “a lot.” Among 12 public institutions and leaders, MPs and local councillors rank eighth and ninth in public trust.

Trustworthy institutions play vital role in Africa’s development, new Afrobarometer findings suggest

Key findings

  • Across 36 countries in 2014/2015, Africans express more trust in informal institutions such as religious and traditional leaders (72% and 61% respectively) than in the formal executive agencies of the state (on average 54%).
  • That said, people find certain executive agencies, such as the national army and the state presidency, to be quite trustworthy (64% and 57% respectively), especially when compared with legislative and electoral institutions (47% and 44% respectively).

Youth Day: Does less engaged mean less empowered? Political engagement lags among Africa’s youth

Political and civic engagement by African youth is declining and is particularly weak among young women, according to new Afrobarometer survey findings.

The findings, which are being released on International Youth Day 2016 (August 12), show African youth are less likely than their elders to engage in a variety of political and civic activities, including voting, attending community meetings, joining others to raise an issue, and contacting leaders. Young women express significantly less interest in public affairs than young men.