The Politics and Challenge of Institutional Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • MW Kpessa
Keywords: Governance, Socio-Political Institutions, Institutional Transformation, Political Theories


This paper draws insights from theories of institutional change to analyze the interface between indigenous and contemporary socio-political  institutions of governance in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that, although critical junctures are assumed to be path-departing moments, they can
result in fundamental divisions in overall institutional structures by grafting new institutions onto existing ones while at the same time re-enforcing the reproduction of existing institutional logics. Tracing the politics of  institutional development and change in SSA over time, the paper shows that colonial rule left an unintended legacy of institutional dualism—the formal and the informal—which the recent processes of structural   adjustment and democratizations have reenforced. Thus, the development of governance institutions in SSA is far from over  as actors and interests associated with both formal and informal institutional settings compete for legitimacy and sovereignty, while at the same time introducing new goals to enhance their efficiencies, and combining existing elements within the overall institutional repertoire in a process of change within and beyond path dependence.

KEY WORDS: Governance, Socio-Political Institutions, Institutional  Transformation, Political Theories


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-6768