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2017: Elections in Africa


  • Election map – click on highlighted countries on the map for pop-up fact boxes and links to recommended reading
  • Timeline – scroll through for a chronological view of the year’s elections
  • Further reading – browse a variety of articles, from survey reports to ambassadorial blog posts, by country
  • Expert briefings – read insightful background and analysis

Africa will have at least three new presidents in 2017. In Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will stand down after two six-year terms. She has endorsed Vice-President Joseph Boakai as her successor, but the final decision will rest with voters. In Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos has pledged to hand over to defence minister João Lourenço after 38 years in power. However, dos Santos will remain leader of the MPLA, which assuming it remains the largest parliamentary party, will be responsible for selecting Angola’s president.

In Somaliland, President Silanyo has ruled out standing for another term; but with a severe drought affecting the self-declared state it may struggle to adhere to its electoral timetable. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila’s mandate has expired. A transitional deal has raised hope for elections in 2017 – assuming the necessary resources and political will can be mustered. In neighbouring Rwanda, Paul Kagame will stand for his third seven-year term as president. This was legalised by a constitutional referendum in December 2015.

Kenya will stage nearly 2,000 electoral contests for county assemblies and governors, the Senate and National Assembly, and the presidency. Uhuru Kenyatta hopes to remain in State House for another term. Opposition coalitions are still being finalised, but his most likely main opponent is Raila Odinga, a former prime minister. A snap election will also be held in Lesotho in June.

Use the resources below to explore analysis on upcoming votes and review the outcomes of concluded elections across the continent. We are updating this page on a rolling basis.

Election map

Click on the countries highlighted on the map to browse resources assembled by ARI.

grey  2016 elections             ff0000 2017 elections – forthcoming              light red 2017 elections – completed



The timeline display the polls according to their anticipated dates. Each entry includes a quote, which offers an interesting angle on potential outcomes and political dynamics. All resources have been chosen with a view to encouraging debate, and neither individually nor collectively reflect ARI’s own opinions. Some countries have not yet set firm dates for their polls. We will be updating the visualisation with new information and graphics over the coming months as details are finalised.


Further reading

Expert briefings