GCRF_NF109: GCRFCV19@ukri.org African elections during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Total publications:1 publications

Grant number: EP/V028464/1

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    University of Edinburgh
  • Research Category

    Epidemiological studies

  • Research Subcategory

    Disease transmission dynamics

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



Elections involve increased risks of the spread of COVID-19, with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) highlighting more than 40 stages where people assemble, or objects are transferred during the electoral cycle. Despite these risks, a number of elections have already taken place in Africa during the pandemic, including those in Mali, Guinea, and Burundi. Nine more elections are due to take place in Africa before the end of 2020, and there are 18 scheduled for 2021. Reducing the risks of increased transmission during these elections is paramount, particularly as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently declared that the pandemic is accelerating on the continent. By following three elections (in Tanzania, Ghana and the Central African Republic) from beginning to end, we will look closely at each stage of the electoral process and how the risks of COVID-19 transmission have been mitigated (if at all). We will also chart the extent to which holding elections has had a demonstrable effect on infection rates. Secondly, we aim to assess whether and how the pandemic affects political participation. We will evaluate whether the ability of any social (including gendered) groups or geographic populations to engage in the political process is reduced, either unintentionally or deliberately. These public health and governance foci will allow us to produce detailed, evidence-based, and context-specific recommendations that can be applied to upcoming African elections. The findings will also be valuable to all other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that are due to hold elections.

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