Professor Nic Cheeseman

Professor Nic Cheeseman

International Development Department
Professor of Democracy and International Development

Contact details

International Development Department
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nic Cheeseman (@fromagehomme) is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham and was formerly the Director of the African Studies Centre at Oxford University. He mainly works on democracy, elections and development and has conducted fieldwork in a range of African countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The articles that he has published based on this research have won a number of prizes including the GIGA award for the best article in Comparative Area Studies (2013) and the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratization (2015). Professor Cheeseman is also the author or editor of ten books, including Democracy in Africa (2015), Institutions and Democracy in Africa (2017), How to Rig an Election (2018), and Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective (2018). In addition, he is the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, a former editor of the journal African Affairs, and an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel.

In recognition of this academic and public contribution, the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom awarded him the prestigious Joni Lovenduski Prize for outstanding professional achievement by a midcareer scholar in 2019. The same year, he was a finalist in the ESRC’s prestigious Celebrating Impact prize. A frequent commentator of African and global events, Professor Cheeseman’s analysis has appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Daily Nation and he writes a regular column for the Mail & Guardian. In total, his articles have been read over a million times. Many of his interviews and insights can be found on the website that he founded and co-edits,


  • D.Phil in Politics, University of Oxford, 2006
  • M.Phil in Politics, University of Oxford, 2003
  • B.A in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Double First), 2001

Other activities

  • Editor in Chief, Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, Oxford University Press (2016-).
  • Editor in Chief, Oxford Dictionary of African Politics, Oxford University Press (2016-).
  • Advisor and Consultant, African Progress Panel (2011-).
  • Advisory Board Member, UNESCO Chair on Communication Research and Africa (2012-).
  • Editorial Board Member, Zambia Social Science Journal (2012-).
  • Joint Editor, African Affairs, The Journal of the Royal African Society (2012-).
  • Executive Committee Member, Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship scheme (2011-).
  • Research Associate, Centre for the Study of African Economics, University of Oxford (2008-).
  • Editorial Board Member and Book Reviews Editor, Journal of Modern African Studies (2010-2012).


Recent publications


Cheeseman, N, Lynch, G & Kanyinga, K 2020, The Oxford handbook of Kenyan politics. Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press.

Cheeseman, N, Lynch, G & Willis, J 2020, The moral economy of elections in Africa: democracy, voting and virtue. Cambridge University Press.

Cheeseman, N 2019, The dictionary of African politics. Oxford University Press.

Chaisty, P, Cheeseman, N & Power, TJ 2018, Coalitional-Presidentalism in Comparative Perspective: Minority Presidents in Multiparty Systems. Oxford Studies in Democratization, Oxford University Press. <>

Cheeseman, N & Klaas, B 2018, How to Rig An Election. Yale University Press. <>

Cheeseman, N 2018, Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics. Oxford University Press.

Cheeseman, N (ed.) 2017, Political Institutions and Democratization in Africa: How The Rules of the Game Shape Political Developments. Cambridge University Press.


Lynch, G, Cheeseman, N & Willis, J 2019, 'From peace campaigns to peaceocracy: elections, order and authority in Africa', African Affairs.

Cheeseman, N, Kanyinga, K, Lynch, G, Ruteere, M & Willis, J 2019, 'Kenya's 2017 elections: winner-takes-all politics as usual?', Journal of Eastern African Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 215-234.

Dodsworth, S & Cheeseman, N 2018, 'Risk, politics and development: Lessons from the UK’s democracy aid', Public Administration and Development, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 53-64.

Dodsworth, S & Cheeseman, N 2018, 'Ten challenges in democracy support - and how to overcome them', Global Policy.

Willis, J, Lynch, G & Cheeseman, N 2018, 'Voting, Nationhood, and Citizenship in late-colonial Africa', The Historical Journal, vol. 61, no. 4, pp. 1113-1135.

Cheeseman, N, Collord, M & Reyntjens, F 2018, 'War and democracy: the legacy of conflict in East Africa', Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 31-61.

Cheeseman, N & de Gramont, D 2017, 'Managing a megacity: lessons from Lagos', Oxford Review of Economic Policy, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 457–477.


Willis, J, Lynch, G & Cheeseman, N 2017, La machine électorale: culture matérielle des bureaux de vote au Ghana, au Kenya et en Ouganda. in S Perrot , M-E Pommerolle & J Willis (eds), Politique Africaine: Matérialités du vote. vol. 144, Karthala, pp. 27-50.

View all publications in research portal


Professor Cheeseman is happy to field media interviews on the following topics:

  • Elections in Africa
  • Election violence
  • Democratisation
  • Kenyan politics
  • Zimbabwean politics
  • Ugandan politics
  • Nigerian politics
  • Zambian politics
  • Populism
  • Political office term limits and political crises
  • Political parties
  • Taxation

Media experience

Professor Cheeseman's analysis has appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Wall St Journal, New York Times, BBC, Sky News, Radio France International, Guardian, New Yorker, Vice, the Mail & Guardian and the Daily Nation. In total, his columns and articles have been read over a million times. Many of his interviews and insights can be found on the website that he founded and co-edits,

Audio and video

Short | How To Rig An Election | Nick Cheeseman
Research into Fake News in collaboration with WhatsApp


Foreign, security and development policy

Professor Nic Cheeseman has advised or presented his work to governments and agencies around the world, including the Department for International Development and Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK government, the Lagos State Government (Nigeria), the Committee on Revenue Allocation (Kenya), the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) of the Swedish Government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UN Habitat, the EuropeanExternal Action Service and Kofi Annan's Africa Progress Panel.

His areas of expertise include elections, presidential politics, democracy, development, and international democracy support.

Policy experience