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The future of authoritarianism in Africa 
Marie-Eve Desrosiers (University of Ottawa)
Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham)
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Marie-Eve Desrosiers (University of Ottawa)
Florence Brisset-Foucault (IMAF)
Rebecca Tapscott (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)
Florence Brisset-Foucault (IMAF)
Politics and International Relations (x) Futures (y)
Hörsaalgebäude, Hörsaal D
Thursday 1 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

The panel looks at how authoritarian systems in Africa sustain themselves, in terms of their political structures, ideas and ideologies. In so doing, it also looks at how international donors engage with these states, and what capacity international actors have to moderate authoritarian regimes.

Long Abstract:

In recent decades, a democratic recession has contributed to a global rise of autocratic governance, which has also affected Africa. The nature of authoritarianism has also changed, with leaders increasingly seeking to justify their regimes in terms of service delivery and economic growth rather than just stability and liberation credentials. This raises important questions about how authoritarian political systems sustain themselves over time, both in terms of political structures and in terms of ideas and ideological frames. Over the same period, autocracies have also become the dominant type of development aid partners, partly due to their growing number, but also because "regime type does not appear to weigh heavily on ODA allocation decisions" (OECD 2022). As a result, most official development aid recipients are authoritarian, and the share of aid they receive has increased significantly over the last decade. Again, this raises important questions about how international donors engage with authoritarian regimes, whether they take care to "do no harm" when engaging with coercive states, and about the capacity international actors have to shape or moderate repressive regimes. Building on insights from comparative authoritarian studies, scholarship on development cooperation, international relations, and country case studies, the panel seeks to answer some of the following questions: In what ways is authoritarianism changing and with what consequences? How do authoritarian regimes see to build and sustain legitimacy, and which strategies are the most effective? How do international actors engage with authoritarian governments and what effects does this have?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -