Africa’s Governance Travails After More Than Two Decades of Democratic Experiments

Chapter
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 71)

Abstract

The democratic transitions of the Third Wave across Sub-Saharan Africa degenerated into a ‘crisis of governance’, eroding the views of a political imagination where a new social contract could be realized. This paper seeks to answer the following question: What conditions and ideas have led to Sub-Saharan Africa’s failure to deliver on a new social contract for its citizens? The Arab Uprisings resuscitated debates on democracy and development juxtaposed with the trajectory of Sub-Saharan Africa’s democratic governance trajectory. The uprisings demystified the truism that democracy is incongruent with ‘monolithic’ Islamic values. Despite the political instability that the movement has brought to the region, it reflected a fundamental shift in thinking as citizens of these countries took ownership of their political trajectories. By contrast, scholarly literature on Sub-Saharan Africa’s governance trajectory has been reductionist, caricaturing the continent as neopatrimonial. The chapter does not attempt to pathologize Sub-Saharan Africa’s democratic experiments; rather, it proposes a thesis that looks at history and analogy alongside colonial violence and suggests that most countries in the region are attempting development, democratization and nation-building using an outdated political structure. Novel discourses on democratization should be conceptualized in line with a New African Democracy and transformational political leadership committed to justice and a radical humanist democratic project that transcend the modalities of colonial and postcolonial states that are predicated on violence. The chapter will use quantitative data from the Mo Ibrahim Index which gathers governance indicators across the African continent.

Keywords

Democratization Sub-Saharan Africa African social democracy Governance Arab Uprisings 

References

  1. Achar, G. (2013). The people want: A radical exploration of the Arab uprising. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Adesina, J. (2006). Sociology, endogeneity and the challenge of transformation. African Sociological Review, 10(2), 133–150.Google Scholar
  3. Adesina, J. (2008). Archie Mafeje and the pursuit of endogeny: Against alterity and extroversion. Africa Development, 33(4), 133–152.Google Scholar
  4. African Development Bank (AfDB). (2016). African economic outlook: Sustainable cities and structural transformation. http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/. Accessed 7 Oct 2016.
  5. Ake, C. (1996). Democracy and development in Africa. Washington, DC: Brooking Institution.Google Scholar
  6. Anyang’ Nyong’o, P. (1988). Popular struggles for democracy in Africa. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  7. Bayart, J. F., Ellis, S., & Hibou, B. (Eds.). (1999). The criminalization of the state in Africa. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  8. Bigsten, A. (2014). Dimensions of African inequality (WIDER Working Paper 2014/050). Helsinki: World Institute for Development Economics Research.Google Scholar
  9. Bond, P. (2000). Elite transition: From apartheid to neoliberalism in South Africa. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bond, P. (2001). Against global apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and international finance. Cape Town: UCT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bratton, M., & van de Walle, N. (1994). Neopatrimonial regimes and political transitions in Africa. World Politics, 46(4), 453–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carter, B. L. (2016). The struggle for term limits in Africa: How international pressure can help. Journal of Democracy, 27(3), 36–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cesaire, A. (1972). Discourse on colonialism. New York/London: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  14. Chabal, P., & Daloz, J.-P. (1999). Africa works: Disorder as political instrument. London: James Currey.Google Scholar
  15. Cheru, F., & Obi, C. (Eds.). (2010). The rise of China and India in Africa: Challenges, opportunities and critical interventions. London/Uppsala: Zed Books/Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.Google Scholar
  16. Clapham, C. (1985). Third world politics: An introduction. London: Croom Helm.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Collier, P. (2007). The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cooper, F. (2002). Africa since 1940: The past of the present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Desforges, A. (1999). Leave none to tell the story: Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Human Rights Watch.Google Scholar
  20. Diop, C. A. (1981). Civilization or barbarism: An authentic anthropology. Paris: Presence Africaine.Google Scholar
  21. Fanon, F. (1967). The wretched of the earth. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  22. Fukuyama, F. (1992). The end of history and the last man. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  23. Habib, A. (2013). South Africa’s suspended revolution: Hopes and prospects. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hammar, A. (2014). Displacement economies: Paradoxes of crisis and creativity in Africa. In A. Hammar (Ed.), Displacement economies in Africa: Paradoxes of crisis and creativity. London/Uppsala: Zed Books/Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.Google Scholar
  25. Hanieh, A. (2013). Lineages of revolt: Issues of contemporary capitalism in the Middle East. Chicago: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  26. Hanlon, J. (2009). Mozambique’s elite: Finding its way in a globalised world and returning to old development models. Paper presented at a Crisis States Research Centre Seminar. London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  27. Hanlon, J., & Cunguara, B. (2010). Poverty is not being reduced in Mozambique (Working Paper no. 74, Crisis States Working Paper Series No. 2). London: Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  28. Hanlon, J., & Mosse, M. (2010). Mozambique’s elite: Finding its way in a globalized world and returning to old development models. Helsinki: UNU-WIDER (United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research).Google Scholar
  29. Kelsall, T. (2008). Going with the grain in African development? Development Policy Review, 26(6), 627–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Khatib, L., & Lust, E. (Eds.). (2014). Taking to the streets. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Mafeje, A. (1995). Theory of democracy and the African discourse. In E. Chloe & J. Ibrahim (Eds.), Democratization processes in Africa: Problems and prospects. Dakar: CODESRIA Book Series.Google Scholar
  32. Mafeje, A. (1999). Democracy, civil society, and governance in Africa. Addis Ababa.Google Scholar
  33. Mafeje, A. (2002, April 26–29). Democratic governance and new democracy in Africa: Agenda for the future, Prepared for presentation at the African Forum for envisioning Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.Google Scholar
  34. Mamdani, M. (1990). Reconceptualising the birth of state nationalism and defeat of popular movements. Proceedings of the sixth general assembly of CODESRIA.Google Scholar
  35. Mamdani, M. (1996). Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Mamdani, M. (2001). When victims become killers: Colonialism, nativism, and the genocide in Rwanda. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mamdani, M. (2003). Making sense of political violence in post-colonial Africa. Socialist Register, 39, 132–151.Google Scholar
  38. Mandaza, I. (1991). Democracy in the African reality. SAPEM 11 September.Google Scholar
  39. Melvern, L. (2000). A people betrayed: The role of the West in Rwanda’s genocide. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  40. Mitchell, T. (2011). Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  41. Mkandawire, T. (1989). Comments on democracy and political instability. CODESRIA Bulletin 1.Google Scholar
  42. Mkandawire, T. (2015). Neopatrimonialism and the political economy of economic performance in Africa: Critical reflections. World Politics, 67(3), 563–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF). (2016a). 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance: A decade of African Governance, 2006–2015. http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag/. Accessed 4 Oct 2016.
  44. Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF). (2016b). Governance in South Africa, Mozambique and Rwanda, 2000–2015. http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag/downloads/. Accessed 4 Oct 2016.
  45. Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF). (2016c). Political violence in South Africa, Mozambique and Rwanda, 2000–2015. http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag/downloads/. Accessed 4 Oct 2016.
  46. Mudimbe, V. Y. (1988). The invention of Africa: Gnosis, philosophy, and the order of knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Mudimbe, V. Y. (1994). The idea of Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Murungu, C. B. (2014). International crimes that trigger article 4(h) intervention. In D. Kuwali & F. Viljoen (Eds.), Africa and the responsibility to protect: Article 4(h) of the African Union constitutive act. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Olivier de Sardan, J. P. (1999). The moral economy of corruption? The Journal of Modern African Studies, 37(1), 25–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Phiri, M., & Macheve, A. (2014). Mozambique’s peace decades since the end of the conflict: Inclusive or managed democracy? African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 14(1), 37–62.Google Scholar
  51. Pollack, K., Byman, D. L., Al-Turk, A., Baev, P., & Doran, M. S. (2014). The Arab awakening: America and the transformation of the Middle East. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  52. Rabaka, R. (2010). Against epistemic apartheid: W.E.B. Du bois and the disciplinary decadence of sociology. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  53. Ravallion, M., & Chen, S. (2012). Monitoring inequality. Mimeo. https://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/files/developmenttalk/monitoring_inequalit y_table_1_.pdf. Accessed 7 Oct 2016.
  54. Sachs, J. (2005). The end of poverty: Economic possibilities of our time. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  55. Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  56. Said, E. W. (1993). Culture and imperialism. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  57. Sembene, D. (2015). Poverty, growth, and inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Did the walk match the talk during the PRSP approach (IMF Working Paper, WP/15/122). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  58. Shivji, I. (1980). The state in the dominated social formations of Africa: Some theoretical issues. International Social Science Journal, 32(4), 730–742.Google Scholar
  59. Shivji, I. (1989). The pitfalls of the debate on democracy. CODESRIA Bulletin, p. 13.Google Scholar
  60. Southall, R. (2013). Liberation movements in power: Power and state in Southern Africa. Woodbridge/Scottsville: James Curry and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press.Google Scholar
  61. Van de Walle, N. (2001). African economies and the politics of permanent crisis, 1979–1999. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Vines, A., & Campos, I. (2010). China and India in Angola. In C. Fantu & C. Obi (Eds.), The rise of China and India in Africa. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  63. Wamba dia Wamba, E. (1992). Africa in search of a new historical mode of politics. Proceedings conference on democratization process in Africa of CODESRIA, Dakar.Google Scholar
  64. World Bank. (2009). Conditional cash transfers: A World Bank policy research report. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archie Mafeje Research Institute (AMRI), College of Graduate StudiesUniversity of South Africa (UNISA)PretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations