Decentralization, Democracy, and Development in Africa: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Decentralization, Democracy, and Development in Africa

1st Edition

Edited by Jan Erk


104 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780815366348
pub: 2017-11-21
SAVE ~$29.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351259521
pub: 2018-12-07
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


Decentralization reforms introduced to Africa in the 1990s have not always delivered the intended long-term outcomes. This is a collection on the consequences of these reforms two decades on. In addition to general and comparative overviews, the book contains case studies on Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ethiopia, and Uganda. The common theme across the chapters is that the reforms seem to have engendered political consequences beyond decentralization itself – mostly through interaction with the broader historical, political, social, and economic context. The book thus speaks both to the scholarly literature (on decentralization, democratization, and development) and to the community of development practitioners.

Most of the literature on decentralization and development emphasizes questions of institutional design and policy, but here the harder-to-pin-down political patterns marking the workings of decentralization are the main focus of analysis. The debates on development, through the case studies, are connected to the scholarly literatures on comparative federalism, comparative decentralization, and local democracy.

The main conclusion that emerges from the studies in the book is that no magic formula that can turn countries into peaceful, stable, and prosperous democracies overnight exists. Furthermore, there are risks involved in importing formal institutions without regard to the local historical, political, social, and economic context.

The chapters of this book were originally published as a special issue in Regional and Federal Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Iron Houses in the Tropical Heat: Decentralization Reforms in Africa and their Consequences

Jan Erk

2. Policy Decentralization and the Endogenous Effects of State Traditions: Devolution of Water Management in Ghana and Senegal

Gerrit Krol

3. Decentralization in Africa and the Resilience of Traditional Authorities: Evaluating Zimbabwe’s Track Record

Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

4. What is a Chief without Land? Impact of Land Reforms on Power Structures in Namibia

Daniela Behr, Roos Haer & Daniela Kromrey

5. Decentralized Governance under Centralized Party Rule in Ethiopia: The Tigray Experience

Dejen Mezgebe

6. Decentralization and Development in Contemporary Uganda

Elliott Green

About the Editor

Jan Erk is the Jan C. Smuts Memorial Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. He completed his doctorate at McGill University and his postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto, in Canada. In 2018, he will become a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies