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Africa saw some major advances in democracy in 2014: the new constitution in Tunisia, the transition in Burkina Faso and a record 179 million people voting in mostly peaceful and credible elections in 12 countries. Several countries, however, continued to experience instability, acts of terrorism or conflicts.

The continent remains nonetheless on a trajectory of improved governance. In 2013, 387 million sub-Saharan Africans lived in a democracy as opposed to 2.5 million in 1970. The most obvious governance gains since 2008 have been in participation.

Apart from political participation, there have been few governance gains or reversals on aggregate since 2008. The gains that have been made are fragile and can be reversed unless the causes and manifestations of terrorism and civil wars are addressed.