Tag Archives: democracy

Development and democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Rwanda and Mozambique


Last year, while interning and conducting research in Rwanda, I often
mused on the trade-offs in the country’s development and democratic
transformations. While Rwanda certainly has visible signs of
development, the country still ranks low for democratic freedoms, such
as freedom of speech. Now during my time in Mozambique, I pose the
same question. How do democracy and development relate in Sub-Saharan

In terms of recent economic developments, Rwanda has positive
indicators; it experiences steady GDP growth, low inflation rates,
increased financial access, and general macroeconomic stability.
According to the Government of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 plan, the GOR aims
to move the country to middle-income status by the year 2020.

However, Rwanda has far to go regarding of human development.
According to UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), Rwanda still ranks
below average for Sub-Saharan African countries with barriers in
health, education, and inequality, a sign that the country may not
reach its 2020 goals.  Continue reading

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Pakistan’s 2013 Elections: Progress and Pugnacity

Pakistan votes

Ten points to team Pakistan!

For the first time in it’s history, Pakistan’s government has made a peaceful democratic transition from ruling party to an opposition party.  There’s a lot to be said of this, noting how far Pakistan has come.

Pakistan is the fifth largest democracy in the world and has experienced a tumultuous back and forth between military and civilian governance.  After a bloody split from India as part of British decolonization, Pakistan was led by the internationally renowned Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was instrumental in the establishment of an independent state dedicated to protecting  Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. His death less than 13 months later left the young country to less capable statesmen, who failed to govern as its inchoate political institutions floundered. The military was viewed as a pillar of stability, having inherited the majority of officers in the former British India military hierarchy. Following a spate of political instability, Pakistan experienced it’s first coup in 1958 under General Ayub Khan, who declared himself the new President. Continue reading

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Madagascar Politics – Legitimacy and Popular Disillusion


After four years of undemocratic government, Madagascar looked set this year to hold competitive elections and begin the Indian Ocean island’s return path to democracy. Then, two former presidents and the current president entered their names onto the ballot in violation of international agreements, and the process has once again stalled. The short term effect of the delayed elections will be a continuation of Andry Rajoelina’s troubled rule and the economic stagnation of the country. The longer and more pernicious effect will be the ongoing erosion of the population’s belief in, and support for, the country’s governing structures.

Like many nations transitioning into competitive politics, the process in Madagascar has been a bumpy road. In 20 years, the country has already had an impeached president, a disputed election that split the island in two, and a military backed coup d’état. Democracy has yet to become ‘the only game in town’ and thus political movements willingly ignore or change the rules to fit their agenda. The result is not just coups and mutinies, but a population that no longer believes in the system or thinks it worthwhile to engage in government.
Continue reading

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