Aspirations and Realities in Africa: Five Reflections

Issue Date July 2019
Volume 30
Issue 3
Page Numbers 76-85
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Democratic pressures in Africa challenged autocracy at the end of the Cold War. Since then, there has been vigorous debate over the resilience of democracy in the region and the quality of democratic performance. The accompanying articles raise five important observations. First, democracy has become a normative value for the majority of African citizens. Second, political space has opened in a range of systems. Third, political actors have gained greater sophistication at manipulating electoral politics, whether to ensure incumbency or to thwart political transition. Fourth, problems of democratic performance extend beyond elections to key institutions, accountability, and economic development. Finally, questions of political transition continue to challenge authoritarian governments and electoral democracies.

About the Author

Peter M. Lewis is Dr. Warren Weinstein Associate Professor of African Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he also serves as director of the African Studies Program. Most recently, he is coeditor (with John W. Harbeson) of Coping with Crisis in African States (2016).

View all work by Peter M. Lewis