Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 49-69

First online:

Addressing Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Institutions and Agency

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African leaders have not used processes in constitutional reforms that would result in institutions that could, in turn, reduce ethnicity (ethnic consciousness and mobilization for effective ethnic group demands on the state). Popular methods used to manage ethnicity have serious costs and weaknesses. Proposed are constitutional reforms via stable equilibrium determination processes. Focal points embedded in the cultures of the groups, relating to political institutions, distributive justice, and societal civility should facilitate the tasks. Important as enabling factors are leadership activities within civil society, inter alia to promote mutual respect, generalized trust, and pluralistic solidarity.


sub-Saharan Africa reducing ethnicity constitutional reform civil society leadership political stability in pluralist societies