Recent declines in democracy have undermined some of the remarkable progress made in Africa over the past three decades, although bright spots remain. The Covid-19 pandemic, though seemingly less damaging to public health than elsewhere in the world, has added pressure on governance, rights, and social inequality. The report also covers the Middle East and North Africa which is one of the least democratic regions in the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the erosion in democratic principles and the deepening authoritarianism that has accompanied a decade of economic, social and political turmoil in the region. This Report provides lessons and recommendations that governments, political and civic actors, and international democracy assistance providers should consider in order to counter the concerning trends in the erosion of democracy, and to foster its resilience and deepening.

International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Reports review the state of democracy around the world. Access the digital version to download PDFs or read online. The 2021 edition covers developments in 2020 and 2021, with democratic trends since 2015 used as a contextual reference. This report has on Africa and the Middle East is one of four regional reports that provide more in-depth analysis of trends and developments in the Americas; Asia and the Pacific; and Europe, which along with the Global Report complement and cross-reference each other. There are also three thematic papers that allow more in-depth analysis and recommendations on how to manage electoral processes and emergency law responses, and how democracies and non-democracies fared based on lessons learned from the pandemic. The reports draw on data from the Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices and lessons learned from International IDEA’s on-the ground technical assistance to understand the current democracy landscape. The 2021 reports also draw heavily on data collected by International IDEA’s Global Monitor of Covid-19’s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights.

A summary of global and regional key facts and findings is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.


Publication date
22 November 2021
Number of pages
978-91-7671-483-6 (PDF)
978-91-7671-493-5 (Print)


About the report

I. The State of Democracy 2021 in Africa
1. Key facts and findings
2. Overview of key trends
3. Representative Government
4. Fundamental Rights
5. Checks on Government
6. Impartial Administration
7. Participatory Engagement
8. Conclusion
9. Policy recommendations

II. the State of Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa
1. Key facts and findings
2. Representative Government
3. Fundamental Rights
4. Checks on Government
5. Impartial Administration
6. Participatory Engagement
7. Conclusion
8. Policy recommendations


About International IDEA

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The State of Democracy in Africa and the Middle East 2021

Resilient Democratic Aspirations and Opportunities for Consolidation
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