One nation, multiple identitiesEthnicity, inclusivity, and constitution-making

Authored by: Muna Ndulo

The Routledge Handbook of African Law

Print publication date:  November  2021
Online publication date:  November  2021

Print ISBN: 9780815350682
eBook ISBN: 9781351142366
Adobe ISBN:


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Africa faces a difficult future unless it acts quickly to consolidate democracy, liberalize economies, invest in people and infrastructure, and ensure the rule of law. Africa houses about half the world’s fragile states, whose governance structures are weak, and faces daunting developmental challenges. Halving severe poverty by 2030, as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals, would require annual growth rates of more than 7 percent and more equitable distribution of income. Good governance and efficient regulatory and administrative processes are central to ensuring decent growth and providing jobs, as other regions of the world illustrate. Notably, the challenges to governance in Africa are rooted in the colonial legacy of pluralistic states, characterized by language differences, culture, and religion. Hence, the need to manage diversity and harness it for national development. Also, there is social exclusion of segments of the population of the nation state fueled by income inequality, economic vulnerability, and environmental risks. Therefore, there is urgent need to develop political systems that promote inclusiveness, accountability, and citizens’ empowerment. It means transforming undemocratic colonial societies into sustainable democracies committed to separation of powers, public accountability, and meritocratic appointments across government services. This chapter examines possible ways of achieving these objectives.

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