25 Fletcher F. World Aff. 51 (2001)
Democratization in Africa: Double Standards in Benin and Togo

handle is hein.journals/forwa25 and id is 245 raw text is: Democratization in Africa:
Double Standards in
Benin and Togo
MATHURIN C. HOUNGNIKPO
INTRODUCTION
Following decades of economic and political strife in Africa, a process of
general democratization in several nations has generated hope that a genuine eco-
nomic revival on the continent could be taking root.' In Western aid policy cir-
cles, the apparent link between democratic reform and development is reflected
in a new orthodoxy asserting that the negative consequences of structural adjust-
ment in Africa have come about because of state weakness in the areas of good
governance, respect for human rights, and democratic institutions. While many
Western nations have reassessed their development policies in light of the grow-
ing evidence of the benefits of these democratic indicators,2 the fine print of the
North's development policies toward the South in general, and Africa in particu-
lar, reveals a more complex and often less benevolent pattern of behavior.
Since the end of colonialism, many African nations, particularly in
Francophone Africa, have struggled to achieve a second liberation3 from the
policies and institutions imposed by the West. Although France has finally suc-
cumbed to the winds of reform, its policies have not always supported democra-
tic renewal. In a better-the-devil-you-know attitude, France's policies until
recently have revolved around the support of various autocrats.' The result is that
culturally, economically, militarily, and politically, the newly independent
Francophone states remain bound to the metropolis. Now, however, Africa's cor-
rupt and autocratic regimes face strong pressures from an indigenous civil society
that France regards with suspicion, resulting in French policy that has grown
inconsistent and dependent on the particular economic and political interests
that France has at stake in the countries involved.'
MATHURIN C. HOUNGNIKPO is VISITING PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT MIAMI UNIVERSITY IN
OXFORD, OHIO.

VOL.25:Z SUMMER 2001

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