It’s never too early to learn about voting. A girl watches election procedures in South Africa in 2014. (© AP Images)

In Africa, 2015 might become known as the year of elections.

Voters in 12 countries with a combined population of 447 million — nearly half the continent’s population — will cast ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 174.5 million people, held presidential elections at the end of March. In Nigeria, as with other African countries, the United States is committed to supporting democracy and empowerment by:

  • Supporting free and fair elections: In Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi and other countries, the U.S. helps programs that support voter education and registration, build electoral commission capacities and train election observers.
A woman casts her ballot in a Nigerian election. (© AP Images)
  • Supporting civil society: With President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, America enhances the capacity of young leaders to build democratic institutions and drive economic growth. In partnership with other countries and foundations, the U.S. launched Making All Voices Count, an initiative that helps citizens engage with governments.
  • Partnering to promote good governance: Eight African countries participate in President Obama’s Open Government Partnership, in which governments commit to promote transparency, empower citizens and fight corruption. Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, America partners with African countries that practice good governance and invest to reduce poverty.

“As president, I’ve made it clear that the United States is determined to be a partner in Africa’s success — a good partner, an equal partner, and a partner for the long term,” Obama said at the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.