Democracy in Africa: The Hard Road Ahead

By Marina Ottaway | Go to book overview

However, rapid reform that undermines entrenched interests in the public sector bureaucracy seems far more likely than incremental change to result in significant structural macro reforms as well as in political opening, both of which are key to poverty alleviation and to democracy in the African context.


Notes
1
Foa detailed account of the fate of the poor in Peru and Zambia under two regimes that pursued heterodox policies in an attempt to avoid adjustment ( Alan Garcia's and Kenneth Kaunda's), see chapters 4 and 6 in C. Graham, Safety Nets. Politics and the Poor:Transitions to Market Economies ( Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1994).
2.
This trend has been precipitated on the one hand by the extremely poor economic performance of many regimes in the 1980s, and on the other by the collapse of one-party governments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and by the increased unwillingness of bilateral donors to support "undemocratic" regimes that violate human rights. I discuss this in greater detail in "Zambia's Democratic Transition:"The Beginning of the End of the One-Party State in Africa?" Review (spring 1992): 40-41.
3
Steven R. Weissman, "The Lessons from the Experiences, of Ghana and Senegal", World Development 18, no. 12 ( 1990): 1010-1018.
4
This is discussed in detail in David E. Sahn, "Structural Adjustment in Africa:"Are There Similarities with Latin America? (paper presented to workshop on Macroeconomic Crises, Policy reforms and the Poor in Latin America, Cali, Colombia, October 1-4, 1991).
5
This term was originally used by Thomas Callaghy in describing adjustment in Nigeria, Ghana, and Zambia in "Lost Between State and Market:"The Politics of Economic Adjustment in Ghana, Zambia, and Nigeria, in Joan Nelson, ed., Crisis and Palicy Choice. The Politics of Adjustment in the Third World ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp. 257-319.
6.
Particularly in Africa, how the poor fare during aktjustment varies among countries, and depends on how urbanized the country is, how dependent the poor are on the market economy, in urban areas the extent to which prices for products that the poor consume were subsidized prior to adjustment, and in rural areas the extent to which inputs such as fertilizer were subsidized prior to adjustment.
7.
Sahn, in "Structural Adjustment in Affica", notes that the slower the pace of reform, the longer the lag in poverty alleviation.
8.
I am grateful to Habib Fettini of the World Bank for introducing this point.
9.
The cases of Ghana in the early 1980s and Zambia in 1991 are examples of crises precipitating economic ( Ghana) or political ( Zambia) change that leads to significant attempts at adjustment. Gradual change alone is not enough to undermine existing governments in Africa. Either external pressure, war, or extreme economic crises have preceded most political openings. As many governments in the region have survived for decades with questionable bases of legitimacy, lack of legitimacy alone is not enough to precipitate political openings. (This point was raised by Achille Mbembe in a seminar on Political Transformation in Africa, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., February 27, 1992.)

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