chapter  14
Africa: An Interim Balance Sheet
ByCrawford Young
Pages 18

Most of the early scholarship on liberalization in Africa centered on the dynamics of transition. As soon as independence was won, however, support for democratic governance largely ceased. The doctrine of the mass single party as the vanguard of African progress soon took root, planted by the most charismatic leaders of the independence generation, and nurtured by persuasive academic commentators. The Soviet strategy of promoting a "socialist orientation" in Africa crested in the late 1970s with the emergence of seven states professing a Marxist-Leninist doctrinal commitment and the radicalization of populist-socialist regimes in Algeria and Tanzania. African patrimonial autocracy began to seem outside the Third World mainstream. The global conjuncture has changed significantly since the early 1990s. The international community today is less united and compelling in its pressures. And in Africa, since political liberalization has not produced the "second independence" initially imagined, citizen skepticism concerning the process is several shades deeper.