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Eloïse Bertrand

Early Career Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) / Politics and International Studies (PAIS)


Dr Eloïse Bertrand works on party politics, democratisation, and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Burkina Faso and Uganda.

Her doctoral research aimed at unpacking the perceived "weakness" of opposition parties in Africa, in order to understand the role these parties have in the constrained and shifting settings of hybrid regimes. Based upon a comparative approach and extended fieldwork, her thesis explores the formation process, internal organisation, and mobilisation capacity of opposition parties in Uganda and Burkina Faso. Several publications stemming from her PhD are currently under review or in preparation.

She is currently working on two collaborative research projects. One addresses the place of security as a campaign issue in the 2020 elections in Burkina Faso (with Dr Abdoul Karim Saidou, University Thomas Sankara, Ouagadougou, funded by the Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique). The other analyses the use of WhatsApp by Ugandan political parties and candidates ahead of the 2021 election (with Grace Natabaalo and Jamie Hitchen, funded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy).

She was awarded the Entente Cordiale scholarship for the 2015/2016 academic year, as well as research grants from the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nairobi), and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). In 2020, she received an Early Career Fellowship from the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Warwick.

She is open to media requests and has appeared on various outlets (press, radio, TV) to discuss current and political affairs in Burkina Faso and Uganda. She also regularly serves as a country expert on Burkina Faso for asylum claims in the UK and the USA.


Cheeseman, N., Bertrand, E. and Husaini, S. (2019). A Dictionary of African Politics. Oxford University Press. [URL]

Reports & working papers

“Accountability from the Streets: How Mobilization and Negotiation Sustained a Peaceful Democratic Transition in Burkina Faso”, USIP Special Report, forthcoming.

“Learning from Success: The Implementation of Election Observation Recommendations in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, forthcoming (with S. Dodsworth and J. Hitchen).

“Understanding the G5: Governance, Development and Security in the Sahel”, OPEN Publications, Vol. 3, n° 2, Spring 2019 (with N. Cheeseman). [URL]

Op-eds & blogs

"Crises threaten trust in Burkina Faso's Government", Oxford Analytica Daily Brief, 22 June 2020. [URL]

"Polls in Peril: Burkina Faso's 2020 elections", West Africa Insight 6:6, January 2020. [URL]

“New dictionary provides nuanced insights into the language of African politics”, The Conversation, 14.03.2019 (with N. Cheeseman and S. Husaini). [URL]

“Explaining China’s Latest Catch in Africa”, The Diplomat, 16.01.2019 (with O. Burcu). [URL]

“Popular Resistance to Authoritarian Consolidation in Burkina Faso”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 16.05.2018 (with N.-K. Wienkoop). [URL]

“Why Uganda’s political parties aren’t sitting pretty”, The East African, 23.07.2016. (with G. Lynch).

“100 jours après : où en est le gouvernement de Roch Marc Christian Kaboré au Burkina Faso?”, L’Afrique des Idées. 22.04.2016. [URL]

“Elections au Burkina Faso : un exemple de transparence et d’efficacité”, L’Afrique des Idées. 17.12.2015. [URL]

“Elections au Burkina Faso : que doit-on en retenir?”, L’Afrique des Idées. 3.12.2015. [URL]

“How Burkina Faso ensured its freest and fairest elections ever”, African Arguments. 2.12.2015. [URL]

“From the street to the ballot box: Elections in Burkina Faso”, Africa Research Institute. 27.11.2015 [URL]

“Popular resistance to the Burkina Faso coup: who, where and what next?”, African Arguments. 21.09.2015. [URL]

“Extension Discord: Will the military in Burkina Faso include the opposition in the interim government?”, Africa in Fact n°29. Dec. 2014 – Jan. 2015.

“Grey Areas: tensions between old and new land laws fuel conflict in Burkina Faso”, Africa in Fact n°27. Oct. 2014.

Research consultancies & practical impact

Anti-Child Labour Policies in Burkina Faso & Liberia. Case study for Winrock International (2019)

Citizens’ Engagement in Agricultural Policy in Burkina Faso & Tanzania. Review for Oxfam (2018) [URL]

Youth Migration & Employability in the Sahel. Study for Plan International (2016)

Women & Youth Participation in South Kivu, DRC. Study for Oxfam (2014)

Conflict Assessment in Burkina Faso for Search for Common Ground (2013) [URL]

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