In 1989, a number of prominent Africans, led by Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, began a push for political reform and regional cooperation with a view to improving Africa's potential for stability and development. Bypassing the ineffectual Organization of African Unity, they established a group known as the Conference on Security, Stability, Development, and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), sometimes optimistically called the Kampala Movement. Authoritarian governments put up obstacles, and the initiative languished even before Obasanjo's incarceration by dictator Sani Abacha in 1995. Since then, South Africa has emerged as a regional hegemon, and Obasanjo was elected Nigeria's president in 1999. Now he has joined Thabo Mbeki in a new but similar reform initiative, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (nepad). This book was written without explicit reference to nepad, but it provides a sympathetic yet critical look at the rise and decline of Obasanjo's earlier "movement." Most notable are the authors' discussions of how the CSSDCA approached the definitions of sovereignty, security, and democracy, and why the initiative foundered during the 1990s. An important commentary on Africa's political evolution.
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