State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa

Elliott Green

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI:
State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa

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State-building in Africa has long been a concern of scholars and policymakers. The subject is particularly fascinating because of the large and quick shift from a continent largely populated by small states and acephalous societies in the precolonial era to one partitioned among European powers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then to one in which four dozen new sovereign countries were created upon independence. For decades the ongoing question in Africa has been how these new states could build themselves into modern nation-states. This issue became especially pertinent in the context of large-scale political and economic collapse from the 1970s onward and the resultant donor-driven structural adjustment and reform programs. The effects on state-building of both political and economic instability and the subsequent attempts at reform have been the subject of major debate, as has the relationship between the continent’s numerous civil wars and state formation. Africa is also a continent rich with numerous natural resources, such as oil and diamonds, many of which have had an effect on state-building together with continued supplies of foreign aid.

Article.  5696 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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