The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa

The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa

A bleak picture emerges from today’s Africa. One glaring aspect is the material deprivation suffered by most Africans: the situation has degenerated to outright destitution because of steep economic decline across the continent in the past decade or so. Nearly every national economy has collapsed or is on the verge of doing so.

The gravity of the situation has to be measured not just in terms of painful statistics but against the economic optimism that pervaded the majority of African states in the early sixties. Substantial economic development and
rising living standards were achieved in the aftermath of independence, and a few cases sustained their gains well into the late seventies and early eighties. We are therefore witnessing a complete reversal of the rising expectations that came with the triumph of nationalism.

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