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Democratization (2nd edn)

Christian W. Haerpfer, Patrick Bernhagen, Christian Welzel, and Ronald F. Inglehart
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date: 30 May 2023

p. 38424. Sub-Saharan Africalocked

p. 38424. Sub-Saharan Africalocked

  • Michael Bratton


This chapter examines efforts to introduce multi-party politics into Sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. It first considers regime changes in the region and shows that they result from the ‘conjuncture’ of various forces. Some of these forces are structural—such as the decline of African economies, the end of the Cold War—but political actors produce others, like incumbents’ concessions, opposition protests, and military withdrawals from politics. With reference to various African examples, the chapter emphasizes the important role played by certain structural conditions in transitions to democracy during the 1990s, but suggests that outcomes more often hinged on purposive political action. It also analyses the quality of resultant African regimes and concludes by identifying several fundamental constraints on further democratization including endemic poverty and weak states.

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