Civil Society, Emigration and Democracy in Africa: An Alternative Proposition

By Bradley, Matthew Todd | The Western Journal of Black Studies, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Civil Society, Emigration and Democracy in Africa: An Alternative Proposition


Bradley, Matthew Todd, The Western Journal of Black Studies


"Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people best assures these rights."

(United Nations Millennium Declaration, 2000, p. 2).

I. Introduction

In many parts of Africa (especially sub-Saharan Africa) there exists a shortage of qualified human resources, particularly in the skilled (e.g., engineers, accountants, computer scientists) and professional (e.g., attorneys, physicians, teachers, professors) sectors of society, for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is "brain drain." "Brain drain" is the process whereby a country's skilled and highly skilled workforce perpetually leave the country for a variety of reasons. As a result, the political and economic systems are transformed and can become fragile, even more so in weak states.

Moreover, large-scale departures (emigration or mass exoduses) of corporate executives and university graduates have contributed to this shortage. This mass exodus is primarily due to the desire to improve their living conditions, either by pursuing higher education studies abroad or by seeking better paying jobs. Other native citizens depart to flee from insecurity created by civil unrest, regional conflicts, and repressive authoritarian regimes exacerbated by unstable political and socioeconomic conditions. The resulting "brain drain" heightens the dependency of African economies on foreign aid. The aid is primarily from the West, which is often viewed as a new form of colonialism, that is, neo-colonialism. This new form of colonialism creates an abyss of dependent economic entrenchment.

As more African countries make the arduous transition to democratic rule (currently nineteen of the fifty-three countries are democracies), the likelihood of mass exoduses may become less attractive, since democracies tend to accommodate skilled and highly skilled workers far better than non-democracies. By accommodation, we are talking about things like higher wages and salaries, adequate healthcare, advanced educational opportunities and more opportunities for vertical mobility in all sectors of society. However, even if the mass exoduses continue, I am suggesting that civil society and emigration may actually create vacuums of opportunities for ordinary as well as privileged citizens throughout Africa.

Thus, this paper seeks to view democratic transitions and consolidation in nascent democracies in Africa from an alternative paradigm. That is, by investigating democratization in Africa while considering civil society and push and pull factors like emigration and "brain drain," such evidence should reveal more germane discussions on the complexities of democratization in Africa. Perhaps, nascent African democracies may be creating an alternative wave of democracy as opposed to "riding" the third wave (Huntington 1991).

Qualitatively and quantitatively measuring democratic processes and outcomes in Africa is a recent occurrence, and most results are tenuous at best and inconclusiveness at worst because of the various methodological analyses, which do not necessarily reflect the complexities in Africa (McHenry 2000). Nevertheless, democratization is a maturation process as it always has been in emerging democracies as well as developed Western democracies. However, because of the enduring entrenchment of ethnic, class, and religious cleavages, the process of democratization is that much more demanding for embryonic democracies in Africa. Akinrinade (1999, p. 238) appropriately warns us that "democratization can be a highly disruptive process as it encourages existing conflicts to manifest freely." Akinrinade (1999, p. 238) goes onto to posit that "democracy presupposes and requires elite fragmentation, the formation of competing groups that jostle for power in a consolidated political space.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Civil Society, Emigration and Democracy in Africa: An Alternative Proposition
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.