Democratic Struggle, Institutional Reform, and State Resilience in the African Sahel makes an important contribution to our understanding of democratization struggles and state consolidation in West Africa and fills a great gap in the study of Sahelian countries.The contributing authors provide a rich account of democratization processes and their impact on the state, put in historical perspective.This book will be of interest to scholars interested in institutions and democratization politics broadly for its conceptual framework and comparative analysis, as well as scholars and practitioners wishing to understand better the individual countries making up the West African Sahel. Importantly, it will also provide a crucial historical and theoretical perspective to analysts and policymakers working on the Sahel and its current “crisis,” who would benefit from this valuable collective endeavor.
This excellent collection of studies of six Francophone countries in the Sahel region of West Africa (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal) examines the impact of democratization on state building since the early 1990s. The supporters of democratization assumed that it would produce more legitimate and effective central states. The process has proved partial and uneven, but all six countries did allow political oppositions to form and began to convene regular multiparty elections. The valuable case studies of Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger suggest that the turn to electoral politics strengthened institutions, whereas the chapter on Mali shows how democratization led to the government’s collapse in 2011. The collection offers no easy generalizations to explain this variation but draws out the social, political, and economic histories of each country, the choices made by individual politicians, and the key political groups that shaped institutional outcomes.