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Over the past two decades, Africa has made notable progress in achieving democratic and peaceful transitions of executive powers. According to the Africa Forum, more than 40 African presidents have left office democratically and peacefully during this period. Eight of them have been awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Moreover, according to recent Afrobarometer surveys, a majority of the continent’s citizens support term limits and most African Union (AU) member states are in favor of constitutionalism and the rule of law. Nevertheless, a considerable number of leaders across the continent have extended their tenure by altering or eliminating constitutional term limits, and political space is shrinking in others.

in early 2019, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched the Term Limits Initiative to engage political leaders and civil society to advocate for and mobilize citizen support for presidential term limits across sub-Saharan Africa through high-level advocacy and citizen mobilization. In October 2019, NDI, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and the Kofi Annan Foundation jointly organized a Summit in Support of Constitutional Term Limits in Niamey, Niger, to mark the official launch of the program. This event, attended by former African Heads of State, representatives of regional institutions, civil society leaders, and constitutional experts, helped to spark a continent-wide conversation that continues to today.

Since 2019, the Term Limits Initiative has expanded its network of partners, and now works to provide ongoing financial and technical support to regional civil society movements across Africa as they lead campaigns to promote respect for constitutional term limits. In July 2022, The Term Limits Initiative organized its second high-profile summit in Gaborone, Botswana in partnership with the government of Botswana to develop strategies to combat democratic backsliding in Africa and consolidate democratic gains.


For more information about the initiative, please contact James Stewart at NDI at

Program partners
NDI Logo with _National Democratic Insti
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