The Role of Legislatures in Africa’s Emerging Democracies

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2006

Project Description/Abstract

I seek funding to continue my work this summer on the collaborative African Legislatures Project with Professor Robert Mattes of the University of Cape Town (UCT). This project is a comparative study of the role of legislatures in fostering and sustaining emerging democracies in 42 African countries. It focuses on the three key functions of democratic legislatures – lawmaking, representation, and oversight – and collects systematic quantitative data on the institutional, organizational, political and attitudinal variables that impact the capacity of legislatures to perform these three functions while accommodating the tensions inherent among them. The project’s research design combines examination of primary and secondary documents in all 42 African countries with intensive in-country research and national surveys of corresponding samples of legislators and constituents in 18 countries. The project’s overall goal is to advance systematic analysis and understanding of how legislatures foster and sustain successful democracies in Africa and elsewhere.

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