The 1990s were marked by democratic reforms throughout Africa, which went in tandem with decentralization reforms. The chapters of the volume all highlight the gradual changes that have taken place since. Long-term structural uncodified factors – be it societal, economic, geographic, demographic – seem to have interacted with the constitutional clauses introduced during the reforms.
Some chapters look at how decentralization slowly gave way to recentralization because none of the new subnational entities were politically and economically strong enough to balance off the center; some look at how inherent deficiencies in infrastructure and personnel at the subnational level brought the central government back in; some look at how different subnational units ended up working differently due to differences in demographic and social factors; some look at how uncodified factors came to determine how national politics functioned; some look at how decentralization created new conflicts between ethnic groups competing for the control of the new entities; some look at how decentralization blew new life into traditional authorities.
This book was original published as a special issue of Regional and Federal Studies.