Africa in World Politics: Engaging a Changing Global Order

Africa in World Politics: Engaging a Changing Global Order

Africa in World Politics: Engaging a Changing Global Order

Africa in World Politics: Engaging a Changing Global Order


Harbeson and Rothchilds Africa in World Politics provides an excellent introduction to understanding the ways African states relate to each other and to the rest of the world. The individual chapters are written by the top scholars in their respective issue areas. They provide important insights while remaining accessible even to those with no background in African politics. --Michael Byron Nelson, Wesleyan University The sixth edition of Africa in World Politics focuses on challenges African states face in constructing viable political economies in contexts both of familiar domestic challenges and an unprecedented mix of engagements, opportunities, and threats emanating from a turbulent and rapidly changing international order. This text, including new chapters on Nigeria and the influence of party politics on economic development, remains an invaluable resource for students of African politics seeking to navigate the continents complex political and economic landscapes. Revised chapters consider both the extent and the limits of continued healthy growth rates in many countries; the impacts of investments by China and other BRICS countries; plateaus and some reversals in progress on human rights and democratization; dimensions of chronic state weakness deepened by insurgencies, including some that are connected to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State; and peacebuilding efforts struggling to uphold responsible sovereignty in the Sudans, the Great Lakes region, and elsewhere. John W. Harbeson is professor emeritus of political science in the Graduate School and at City College of the City University of New York and a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, SAIS and the Elliot School of International Affairs of George Washington University. The late Donald Rothchild was professor of political science at the University of California at Davis.


The dramatic changes in the contours of African politics in the past few years led to the decision to launch this fifth edition of Africa in World Politics more closely following the previous edition than might otherwise have been the case. Among the most prominent of these developments have been the rapid expansion of China’s economic engagement, the markedly improved rates of economic growth for many countries, and the troubled birth of the continent’s newest independent country, the Republic of South Sudan. More generally, the core focus of this edition is upon the numerous and complex interconnections between Africa’s emergence from marginalization to greater economic prominence on the world stage and the transformation of the global economic and political order itself heralded by the growing power of many G-20 countries.

A central concern of this volume, however, is the fundamental question of to what extent Africa’s growing prominence on the world stage will translate into greater and more sustainable well-being for the continent in political, socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural terms. Not yet clear is to what degree more rapid economic growth, if it proves sustainable, will both substantially reach all countries on the continent and include diminished poverty and inequality and broadly improved quality of life for most of the continent’s peoples.

The essays in this volume also attest to the profound elusiveness of the goal of building stronger and reformed states given their deeply rooted manifestations of weakness and ineffectiveness arising from decades of postcolonial authoritarian and corrupt stewardship. Continuing manifestations are present in the fragile, tentative easing of the Great Lakes crisis, uneven and still fragile democratization, pervasive clientelism, and the responsibility to protect honored in the breach.

Notwithstanding all these profound challenges, this edition of Africa in World Politics, like its predecessors, is born of resilient optimism, which I

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