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Political Leadership in Africa
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Book description

Do political leaders matter for development in Africa? Political leaders south of the Sahara have taken centre stage since countries in the region gained independence in the 1960s, yet a 'leadership trap' soon emerged with power-holders overstaying in office and chronic instability caused by coups resulting in decades of disappointing developmental performances. The beginnings of change are found in political reforms of the early 1990s, with many sub-Saharan countries introducing multiparty elections and an increasingly regular succession of leaders. But what impact did the new mechanisms for selecting leaders have on the political stabilization of African states, on the growth of their economies, and on the welfare of ordinary citizens? Drawing on a new dataset called the Africa Leadership Change (ALC), this innovative analysis of political leadership in Africa investigates the distinct leadership dynamics of development processes across the region from 1960 to 2018, revealing how, as Africa began to change its leaders and the way they reach power, these new leaders themselves began to change Africa.


'The end of the Cold War set off a worldwide wave of democratization whose effects are still being catalogued and analyzed. How have Africa’s new arrangements for choosing rulers, checking their power, and removing them by the will of the majority worked out? This study is sure to be the go-to source for answers to these questions, analyzing how the acquisition and distribution of power has evolved under Africa’s new multiparty regimes - the accompanying online database is an invaluable resource for students and scholars wanting to gather additional facts on particular African rulers.'

Arthur A. Goldsmith - Emeritus Professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston

'Carbone and Pellegata provide a powerful study on how leaders impact the success and failures of their countries in sub-Saharan Africa and how they reach power influences their behaviour and what they do too. Political Leadership in Africa is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the impact of leadership on democracy and development in sub-Saharan Africa today.'

Alex Vines - Coventry University and Head of the Africa Programme, Chatham House

‘… empirically accomplished, well-researched study … this is an extremely impressive scholarly work … Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students and faculty. General readers.’

C. E. Welch Source: Choice

‘… a significant achievement.’

Kai M. Thaler Source: Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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