The Impact of Obama’s Election on Democracy and Governance Discourse in Africa

"This paper argues that the financial crises in the United States and globally have opened up the possibility for thinking quite differently about the role of the state in governance, the role of the state in development, and the interface between the two. For the first time in a very long time, Americans are being forced to reconsider certain cherished orthodoxies about market fundamentalism, neo-liberalism, the role of the state in the economy, and the relationship between the free market and democracy. This much more than Obama’s or ethnic background is where the potential arises for a rethinking of how his ascent to power might impact democracy and governance discourse in Africa. African leaders have the opportunity to use this moment of questioning as a way of opening the avenue for a different set of questions to be asked about the intersection between democracy and economic development, the role of the state in the economy, and the possibilities for the emergence and survival of democratic developmental states across the globe."