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FEDERALISM   Tags: decentralization  

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Federalism in Africa



Gana, Aaron Tsado and Samuel G. Egwu. Federalism in Africa: The Imperative of Democratic Development. African Centre for Democratic Governance, 2003. [Google Books]

About: "This book interrogates the problem of national integration within the context of ethno-religious and cultural pluralism. Drawing on the experiences of other organic "federal societies" across the globe, it explores similarities and differences in the tortuous trajectory of nation-building and presents exciting prospects for the resolution of the National Question." [Publisher]



Burgess, Michel. "Federalism in Africa: An Esssay on the Impacts of Cultural Diversity, Development and Democracy," University of Kent (2012).
Summary: "This paper provides a short survey of the African federal experience and demonstrates that historically speaking there have been many federal experiments in the 1960s and 1970s that did not survive but which left many important lessons for African state builders who fought desperately to create new nation states that themselves still struggle to hold together societies which remain deeply divided." [Author]




Kefale, Asnake. Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Regional Study. New York: Routledge, 2013. [Google Books]

About: "This book examines the impact of the federal restructuring of Ethiopia on ethnic conflicts. The adoption of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia was closely related with the problem of creating a state structure that could be used as instrument of managing the complex ethno-linguistic diversity of the country. Ethiopia is a multinational country with about 85 ethno-linguistic groups and since the 1960s, it suffered from ethno-regional conflicts." [Amazon]




Maasho, Aaron. "Federalism in Ethiopia Helps Maintain Unity." Reuters, January 7, 2011.




Teshome, Wondwosen and Záhořík, Jan. "Federalism in Africa: The Case of Ethnic-Based Federalism in Ethiopia," International Journal of Human Sciences 5 (2008).

Summary: "Ethiopia adopted ethnic federalism and restructured the regions along ethnic lines as soon as the EPRDF took political power by overthrowing the Marxist military government in 1991. The aim of this paper is to examine the merits and the demerits of federalism. The paper particularly assesses federalism in Africa by taking the case of Ethiopia as an example." [Authors]



Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and its Discontents. Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2009. 

Purpose: To provide a synopsis of politics since 1991.

Content: "This report takes stock of the EPRDF’s major institutional policies and practices, as well as the political dynamics unleashed by “ethnic federalism”, the contested centrepiece of the system whose achievements and short-comings require a holistic assessment that takes into account the formal and informal rules, decision-making and practices that shape political life." [Author]




Kalu, Kalu N. State Power, Autarchy and Political Conquest in Nigerian Federalism. Lexington Books, 2009. [Google Books]

About: "This book describes a variety of factors that have contributed to the challenges facing state-building and political institutions in Nigeria. Chief among them are the nature of interest aggregation, the dynamics of conflict, and the patterns of state intervention in matters dealing with secularism, distributive politics, economy, security, and autonomy." [Publisher]


Ojo, Bamidele A. Problems and Prospects of Sustaining Federalism in Nigeria. Nova Science Publishers, 2001. [Google Books]

About: "Many observers have seen the resilience that has come to signify the strength and potential of this once 'giant of Africa', as well as the destruction and the socio-political and economic decay of the past decades. The Nigerian people have endured the exploitation of their rights due to the lack of democratic leadership, and with this in mind, they have been called to attention to fight for their country." [Amazon]


Suberu, Rotimi. Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria. United States Institute of Peace, 2001. [Google Books]

About: "This book examines the profound political contradictions that make up Nigeria, a nation whose leaders have constantly tinkered with a colonial federal legacy that sought to balance the country's three major ethnic groups. It explores the evolution of Nigerian federalism through its various constitutional experiments and administrative redesigns, including those in the periods of military rule." [Amazon]



Babalola, Dele. “The Origins of Nigerian Federalism: The Rikerian Theory and Beyond,” Federal Governance 13 (2013): 43-54.

Summary: "Central to the Rikerian theory is that federations are formed through a political bargain between two sets of rational politicians, and the motive for the federal bargain is principally military. The main aim in this paper is to argue that the Rikerian theory of federal formation is inadequate to explain the origin of the Nigerian Federation, especially in the light of the centripetal and centrifugal forces that combined to result in the Federation." [Author]

"Federalism: Problems and Prospects of Power distribution in Nigeria," Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (2011).

Summary: "This paper highlights and assesses the nature, quality and value of particular issues and matters that have dominated the Nigerian federal polity, such as religious crises, the Zamfara debacle, that is, the adoption of Shariah penal code, recourse to emergency powers in settling issues in a democratic federal setting, resource control, the lopsided revenue allocation formula, creation of states, inadequate representation of the various ethnic groups at the centre." [Author]

Suberu, Rotimi T. "Renovating the Architecture of Federalism in Nigeria: The Option of non- Constitutional Renewal," Solomon Asch Center, University of Pennsylvania & Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan (2005).

Summary: "Nigeria is arguably Africa’s leading experiment in the building and remodeling of federalist institutions to manage the challenges of unity, democracy and development. Yet, pressures for fundamental federal reforms have remained a persistent, intense and divisive feature of contemporary Nigerian politics." [Author]



Somalia Federalism Headache. CCTV Africa, 2013.
About: Implementing federalism in Somalia has become a big challenge for president Mohamud's administration. As the country struggles to contend with several semi autonomous enclaves with different leaders and priorities, administering the Jubba region and its lucrative administrative capital of Kismayu has presented a fresh upheaval with the self declaration of two presidents for the region. 

South Africa

Inman, Robert P. and Rubinfeld Daniel. "Federalism and South Africa's Democratic Bargain: The Zuma Challenge," Berkley Law University of California (1979).
Summary: "South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy stands as one of the past century’s most important political events. The major hurdle to the transition was for the poor majority ANC to provide a credible promise not to exploit the full economic resources of the then ruling economic elite. The new constitution adopted a form of federal governance that has the potential to provide such protections." [Author]

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