The Politics of Defence in Africa

Authored by: Benedikt Franke

Handbook of Defence Politics

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9781857434439
eBook ISBN: 9780203804278
Adobe ISBN:


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While generalizing is never easy—especially about matters as complex as national defence policies—one has to be particularly careful in doing so with respect to a region as large and diverse as Africa. The continent’s 53 states include fully fledged democracies (like Botswana), virtually absolute monarchies (like Swaziland) and authoritarian dictatorships (like Zimbabwe), the political variety of which does not exactly appear to lend itself to a straightforward comparison of national politics of defence. However, it is this chapter’s central contention that the basic parameters of these politics are, in fact, sufficiently congruent across Africa to merit the attention of international policymakers and academics alike. It thereby argues that especially the defence policies of the sub-Saharan states are subject to a generalizable topography of determinative policy parameters comprising African realities and non-African influences.

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