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By S. Adejumobi

Because the Nineteen Eighties, democratic struggles have brought on constitutional reforms, elections, and other kinds of political growth. This finished quantity deals fresh views on Africa's democratic renewal and may open up discussion at the traits and trajectory of Africa's democratic destiny.

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32 M Abdul Raufu Mustapha To understand the aggregate continent-wide trends, we must, however, start from a careful analysis of individual cases. Bratton et al. make the important point that “country characteristics matter,” and that the “prospects for regime consolidation are also best apprehended from a macro level ‘country’ perspective” (2005: 320). How do we capture these country-level dynamics while leaving the door open for comparative studies and the generation of tentative causal statements that transcend particular country cases?

Many African nationalist leaders like Nkrumah had economic visions, even if these visions eventually succumbed to the exigencies of domestic politics and the international economy. State controls on the economy were not necessarily introduced in order to provide rent-seeking opportunities, but rather as solutions to perceived macroeconomic problems of development. Indeed, some of the institutions of state intervention, like the marketing boards, were 36 M Abdul Raufu Mustapha put in place in the colonial period.

12 M Said Adejumobi This chapter contends that while the challenges are real and formidable, there is a positive, yet soft underbelly of elections in many African countries. A noticeable trend is that elections are gradually shifting the dynamics of state-society relations by providing space for increased political participation, a voice—especially for young people—and an arena for demanding political accountability (however limited it might be) in many African countries. Elections have created a new engagement between the state and people, in which the revolution in information technology, among others, has aided citizen activism and mobilization, and intensified the social organization of nonstate forces in advancing the democratic cause in Africa.

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