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Stated Purpose: 

To produce a comparative series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, markets and civil society in Africa.

Area of Governance: 
Civil Society
Funding Source: 

Afrobarometer is funded through grants from various donors, foundations and academic institutions including the Swedish International Development Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department for International Development (UK), the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Michigan State University.

Current usage: 

The Afrobarometer is quoted in the international press and is used as a source for other governance indicators.

Type of data used: 

National surveys and opinions and attitudes of individual respondents.


Country Coverage: Selected countries in Africa: Round 1 (12 countries): Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Round 2 (16 countries) 4 additional countries: Cape Verde, Kenya, Mozambique, and Senegal. Round 3 (18 countries) adds Benin and Madagascar. Round 4 (20) adds Burkina Faso and Liberia. Round 5 (22 countries) adds Mauritius and Sierra Leone.  Additional time series data has also been collected in 5 countries.

Year Coverage:
Round 1: 1999-2001
Round 2: 2002-2004
Round 3: 2005-2006
Round 4: 2008-2009
Round 5: 2011-2012

Contact details: 

Further information is available from the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (


The methodology compiles survey results from 18 countries to provide individual level and cross-country results on various questions regarding democracy and economic conditions. The questionnaire sample provides guidelines on how to collect data with the ultimate objective of the design being to give every sample element (i.e. adult citizen) an equal chance of being chosen for inclusion in the sample. The usual sample size is 1200 people per country. For some surveys data is weighted to correct for either deliberate (e.g., to provide an adequate sample of specific sub-groups for analytical purposes) or inadvertent over- or under-sampling of particular sample strata. In these cases, a weighting variable is included as the last variable in the data set, with details described in the codebook. These weighting factors are to be used when calculating all national-level statistics.

Format of results: 

The results are presented as a percentage of the population response to particular questions in all the surveyed countries. Data can be disaggregated to the individual level.

Valid Use: 

The Afrobarometer is a mass survey attempt to measure people’s attitudes to democracy and economic conditions in selected African countries. The surveys are likely to be used in international and national media as well as for civil society purposes. Over time with new rounds of surveys the Afrobarometer can provide insight into how people feel their governments are progressing in the areas of democracy and economic reform. The sampling from the selected countries provides some information on how attitudes to democracy and economic conditions are different in the countries. Users need to carefully review individual questions for whether they concern perceptions or experience.

Invalid Use: 

The Afrobarometer survey results cannot be used for all of Africa. The results only pertain to the 18 selected countries, which were chosen based on their political and economic reforms. The cross-country results must be read in the light that not all the questions are the same in each country and are conducted in different languages. The same issue applies to the fact that the national data sets are not always collected in the same year. In other words, perceptions expressed in the barometer are often based on questions posed at different points of time.

Example results: