House of War

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Civil War and State Failure in Africa

This book examines the phenomenon of civil war and state failure in Africa (sub-Saharan Africa in particular) from a social contract perspective.

Its main hypothesis is that authoritarian governance would inevitably lead to state failure in the context of African governance.

In this regard, the text argues that African states are political communities that have not done enough to promote and develop a social contract that would be compatible with the region’s sociopolitical and structural peculiarities.

And since civil war and state failure have hampered different dimensions of human progress in Africa, analyzing the main patterns of conflict in the continent leads to an underlying incompatibility between current governing political structures and the region’s social structures.

In this case, one major characteristic of civil war and state failure in Africa is that they are caused by delegitimization of government authority by ethnic groups whose allegiance to internal traditional authority which they intend to perpetuate continues to be stronger than to centralized government.

Hence, a social contract that allows ethnic groups to legitimize state authority is what Africa lacks and needs.

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