Growth, Security, and Democracy in Africa

Issue Date October 2014
Volume 25
Issue 4
Page Numbers 61-75
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Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced great oscillations in democratic progress and retreat. Authoritarian modernization has taken root, notably in Ethiopia and Rwanda. No paradigm captures the complexity and volatility. Some argue that autocratic governance produces development outcomes while competitive clientelism encourages corruption and social distress. Nigeria presents a paradox of reform and dysfunction, of growth and discordant development, of minority affluence and mass poverty. The northern region has undergone economic and political decline. The failure to defeat Boko Haram reflects the prebendalist corrosion of state institutions. The February 2015 election is a dismaying hurdle for the Nigerian system of conglomerate governance.

About the Author

Richard Joseph is John Evans Professor of International History and Politics at Northwestern University. He is the author of Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria (1987; reissued 2014). He is writing books on post-1975 Nigerian politics and society; and on governance, development, and the state in Africa.

View all work by Richard Joseph