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Counting cost of democracy in Africa
July 30, 2017, 5:22 pm

Early next month, Rwandans will be going to polls and the country has budgeted US$7 million for a process targeting just over five million voters. Rwanda spent about $9 million during the last election in 2010.

Four days after the Rwandan vote, Kenyans will be going to the polls on 8 August with a budget of $480 million. At nearly 20 million, Kenya's voting population is four times that of Rwanda and its costs are nearly 70 times higher.

Across the border in Mozambique, where more than 10 million people are registered to vote, $13million has been targeted for this year's local government elections.

In Africa's most populous country, Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) spent $603 million to conduct its 2015 general elections, translating to more than $8.5 for each of the more than 70 million voters.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's election commission this week announced a $274 million budget for the country's 2018 plebiscite that will engage an estimated seven million voters. The per capita electorate cost of $39 is the highest on the continent and accounts for almost seven percent of the country's annual budget since 2009.

Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) will spend $7.6 million to procure a biometric voter registration system and will also conduct training for officials on the new system, prior to a 10 week voter registration program

Rwanda will spend $1.38 per voter; Mozambique will need $1.33 per voter and Kenya will require $22.5 per voter. Ghana's 2016 election, with 16 million voters, cost $12 per voter, while Tanzania spent $5.16 per voter in 2015.

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