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Dr Nicole Beardsworth

The Expert is a South African political scientist, currently based at the University of Warwick. With a PhD in Politics from Warwick and an MSc in African Studies from Oxford, The Expert has been researching governance and opposition politics for more than a decade - with specific expertise in Southern and Eastern Africa. She has extensive experience of engaging with UK policy makers on governance questions, has published widely on the countries covered, and has written expert reports for USAID, BMZ, BTI and risk analysis firms.

Dr Nicole Beardsworth
Postdoctoral researcher, University of Warwick

The Expert is a South African political scientist, currently working at a UK university. The Expert has been researching African politics for more than a decade, with expertise in Southern and Eastern Africa. Having completed a Masters degree at the University of the Witwatersrand on power sharing in Kenya and Zimbabwe, The Expert attended the University of Oxford (MSc, African Studies) where they continued their research into the impacts of power sharing on opposition parties in the two countries. My doctoral research – for which they spent 5 months each living in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda – was an analysis of opposition party politics and governance in the three countries. During their two postdoctoral positions – at the University of York and University of Warwick – The Expert has undertaken two projects on political and electoral dynamics in Ethiopia and Zambia.


Throughout The Expert's PhD and during their two postdoctoral positions, The Expert has established themselves as an authoritative voice on the politics of these countries, having briefed the East Africa desk at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Uganda, and the incoming High Commissioner to Zambia, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, in 2016. Since 2017, The Expert has been repeatedly contracted as the author of the political economy analysis of Zambia by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and wrote the 2018 and 2020 Zambia reports for the Bertelsmann Transformation Index with Prof. Nic Cheeseman. In 2019, The Expert was contracted to help write the USAID’s Zimbabwe political parties’ assessment and in 2020 The Expert was contracted to write a follow-up report. The Expert also maintains regular coverage of several countries for a political risk analysis firm, and frequently writes and has been published in newspapers and on academic blogs.


In Preparation

2021   Book Manuscript, Parties, politics and personalities: Negotiating opposition coalitions in Africa, for submission to Cambridge University Press’ Studies in Comparative Politics series

2020   “Democratisation or dis-integration? Ethiopia’s transition ahead of the 2020 elections,” co-authored with Professor Assefa Fiseha (Addis Ababa), for submission to Democratisation

2020   “Moving beyond the ‘incumbent-opposition binary’: Populist co-constructions of the dangerous ‘elite’ in South Africa,” co-authored with Dr Alexander Beresford, for submission to the Review of African Political Economy

2020   “Persuading partisans or courting 'co-ethnics': The UPND's 2015 & 2016 campaigns in Zambia,” for submission to Party Politics


2020   “From a ‘Regional Party’ to the Gates of State House: The resurgence of the UPND,” in T. Banda, O. Kaaba, M. Hinfelaar and M. Ndulo (eds.), Democracy and electoral politics in Zambia, (Leiden: Brill)

2019   “Zimbabwe: the coup that never was, and the election that could have been,” African Affairs, Volume 118, Issue 472, July 2019, Pages 580–596, with Nic Cheeseman and Simukai Tinhu

2019   “Opposition Party Coalitions,” in G. Lynch and P. van Doepp (eds.), Handbook of Democratization in Africa, (London: Routledge)

2018   “Book Review: Understanding Zimbabwe’s surprising 2013 election,” Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 967-8

2016   “Challenging dominance: The opposition, the coalition and the 2016 election in Uganda”, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 749-768.

2013   “Engaging with the Media on APRM Issues: a Civil Society Guide,” South African Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg, 2013

2011   “Implementing the APRM: Views from Civil Society, South Africa Report," Y. Turianskyi, S. Gruzd, T. Petlane, N. Beardsworth, R. Richards, O. Nzewi, J. Grey-Johnson, and O. Tungwarira, South African Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg (2011)


English, Afrikaans
Political groups expertise
Specifically opposition parties, but also ruling party politics.
[Private to EIN members]
[Private to EIN members]
[Private to EIN members]