The Evolving Concept and Institution of Sovereignty Challenges and Opportunities

"Sovereignty has continuously metamorphosed over the years in terms of its norms and practices. This evolving character of sovereignty has been hailed by those who advocate a responsible and accountable sovereign authority, and lamented by those who are strictly wedded to the Westphalian concept of sovereignty. However, this evolutionary process does not necessarily diminish the fact that, since the advent of the Westphalian state, sovereignty has been used as a shield and sword to justify states’ policies and actions. It is argued in this policy brief that the weakening of state sovereignty and the prominence and institutionalisation of people’s sovereignty will be a welcome development, in terms of governance fundamentals, on the African political and socio-economic development scene. Indeed, it may be a key to addressing Africa’s chronic political, socio-economic and human development challenges."