Democratic Reform in Africa: The Quality of Progress

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Democratic Reform in Africa: The Quality of Progress

By E. Gyimah-Boadi
Lynne Rienner, 2004
351 pp. $59.95
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This edited collection provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of democracy in Africa today. The contributors offer evidence of progress but overwhelmingly remind readers that the survival of democracy in Africa faces serious challenges: endemic corruption, the trend toward the regionalization of conflict, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Michael Bratton and Robert Mattes argue that uneven progress toward economic reform may have negative consequences for satisfaction with democracy. Similarly, in the conclusion, Larry Diamond argues that economic success in Africa is impossible without political reform and offers a number of interesting and perhaps controversial policy recommendations to alter the incentives facing African leaders and increase the costs associated with nondemocratic rule. As in most edited volumes, chapters vary in quality, with some offering little more than description and others providing careful analysis and explanations for observed trends.