Political instability in Africa has been on the rise since the latter half of the 20th century. States in Africa collapsed and wars engulfed societies. Why did this happen? How can we learn from the tragedies that befell the continent? What lessons can be drawn to prevent a recurrence?
On April 27, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted Professor Robert Bates of Harvard University to address these questions. Based on his recent book, When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Professor Bates focused on the origins and causes of state failure in Africa and the nature of political life when private individuals must provide their own security. Ernest Aryeetey, director of the Africa Growth Initiative, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
After the program, Professor Bates took audience questions.