Written by today's most influential African scholars, this collection of pathbreaking articles covers a variety of topics including political leadership, forms of state power, the role of civil society, the importance of class, ethnicity, and gender, and the prospects for democratic change in the region. The book provides a broad historical perspective on Africa's political economic development and an overview of current problems and prospects.
In the decades since independence, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have faced three central dilemmas of development. The first has been the challenge of state building. In the wake of colonial rule, governments have encountered the problems of establishing legitimate authority and constructing capable states. A second dilemma has been that of nation building and state-society relations. African countries have confronted the difficulties of managing ethnic diversity, forging national identities, and negotiating relations between citizens and rulers. The third challenge encompasses problems of economic development as the region has grappled with a legacy of poverty, slow growth, and external dependence.This collection provides an overview of the leading themes and issues in these three critical areas of Africa's postindependent development. A selection of pathbreaking articles provides insights into the key questions, the major theories, and the outstanding challenges in African development. Written by today's most influential African scholars, the readings cover a variety of topics including political leadership; forms of state power; the role of civil society; the importance of class, ethnicity, and gender; and the prospects for democratic change in the region. Changes in African political economies are also addressed, focusing special attention on the debt crisis and the problems of economic reform. A final section focuses on the present-day challenges to African development: the spread of refugees, pressures on the environment, the devastating toll of AIDS, and the threat of state collapse.Providing a broad historical perspective on Africa's political and economic development and an overview of current problems and prospects, this collection will be especially useful for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and development professionals.
teaches in the School of International Services at American University.