Disability-inclusive elections in Africa: a qualitative systematic review

Main objectives

This systematic review aimed to identify, appraise and synthesise all available evidence to understand:

  • What experiences and practices have already taken place in African countries to support political participation of people with disabilities
  • What effect they have had on the political inclusion of people with disabilities at local and national levels across the continent


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities underscores the equal right of persons with disabilities to participate in political life. However, in Africa they are often unable to exercise their right to vote. This study sought to systematically review available evidence on inclusive elections in Africa.

Findings showed that although most African countries ratified disability-focused legislation and proclaimed equal opportunities, the implementation of the legislation varies across the continent. Barriers to political participation can occur at any electoral stage and can be broadly categorised into three groups: lack of education and financial resources; stigma and negative social attitudes; and inaccessible physical infrastructure.

Study details
Start date
Finish date
Main contact
Bhavisha Virendrakumar
Research Associate, Evidence Synthesis