As long as 20 years ago, electoral authorities in African states had apparently gained the capacity to manage electoral operations on their own. However, the continent still accounts for the largest share of electoral assistance. The article argues that electoral assistance survived because it contributed to the institutionalisation of the election profession on the continent. The article highlights the role of key knowledge projects in this dynamic: the professional platform ACE, the professional training programme BRIDGE and the electoral cycle concept. The self-enforcing logic of professionalisation preserves interventionism by giving a new twist to the classical problem of aid dependency.

Eva Johais

Post Doctoral Researcher

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