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Parties, Political Finance, and Governance in Africa
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: February 2023
  • Print publication year: 2023
  • Online ISBN: 9781009262798
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Book description

A major challenge for the advancement of democratic governance in Africa is the extraction of money by ruling parties from the state to fund their electoral campaigns and gain political advantage over opponents. Drawing upon in-depth case studies of Benin and Ghana, Rachel Sigman considers how, and with what consequences, party leaders control and access public funds to finance their political operations. Weaving together biographical data on government ministers, surveys of civil servants, elite interviews, and archival research, Sigman explains leaders' extraction strategies and connects these strategies to how politicians manage state personnel. In so doing, she challenges the perception of African states as uniformly weak and argues that effective government is possible even in contexts of widespread state politicization, corruption, and clientelism. Demonstrating the profound impact that extractive financing practices have on democratic institutions, Sigman illuminates and develops our understanding of “good governance” across the African continent.


‘This excellent study of political finance in Africa explains the extent and type of delegating extraction of state resources. The questions of to whom, how, and which instruments of control are used to delegate extraction have important lessons for state politicization and institutional performance, state capacity, and public policy across the world.’

Rachel Beatty Riedl - Cornell University

‘The influence of political finance on the growth of Africa's party-based democracies has been laid bare for the scholarly and policy communities to know. Rachel Sigman has contributed to democratic studies in Africa and has produced an agenda-setting book based on original data. The book advances a distinctive theoretical argument that is generalizable.’

George M. Bob-Milliar - Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

‘This is an essential read for everyone interested in how variations in party institutions and competitive electoral politics drive divergent patterns of politicization of the state in Africa, and beyond. Sigman’s ‘follow the money’ approach meticulously demonstrates how parties’ extraction strategies are critical to understanding the current challenges of democratic governance.’

Staffan I. Lindberg - University of Gothenburg


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