The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratization in Africa

The Gambia under AFPRC-APRC Rule, 1994-2008

By (author) Abdoulaye Saine

Publication date:

16 March 2009

Length of book:

198 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739129210

This book is about the dilemma(s) of "third-wave" "democratization" in Africa. It teases out the general proposition that while the market is a necessary ingredient for development, it is not by itself a sufficient condition for prosperity—the state's role, policy framework, and leadership also matter. Using a counter-example, the book contends that in a poor governance environment, gross human rights violations result in poor economic performance and failure by repressive governments to provide basic needs for the poor in society. While this study is concerned primarily with The Gambia, it nonetheless has a lot to say about Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and other countries in the continent caught in the paralysis of externally driven political and economic transitions and globalization. Locating countries undergoing liberalization and democratization within the global economy—as well as their peripheral status within it—is important, as patterns of contemporary globalization are highly asymmetrical and often associated with a democratic deficit. Consequently, some groups, classes, and states enjoy numerous political and economic freedoms foreign to the vast majority of humanity, which lives in oppressive living conditions.

The Paradox of Third-Wave Democratization in Africa is also a comprehensive account of the historical, political, and economic events since the onset of military and quasi-military rule in this West African mini-state of 1.5 million, once the longest surviving functioning democracy in Africa. Predictably, the book is about former President Dawda Jawara as much as it is about soldier-turned-president Yahya Jammeh, who in the last fourteen years has dominated the country's political and economic landscape. In the end, the book posits that various attempts to improve living standards of ordinary Gambians and Africans by client regimes using foisted conventional market-driven economic models alone are not likely to succeed until they are predicated on a basic-nee
This carefully researched work provides a much-needed analysis of Gambian politics and economy. By far the most illuminating and comprehensive research on the Gambia's descent into hell, Dr. Saine's is an authoritative diagnosis of democracy's travails in the tiny West African country that most scholars interested in authoritarian politics and political economy will find compelling.