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Democratisation via elections in an African 'narco state'? The case of Guinea-Bissau

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  • N47 - Africa
  • Oceania
  • Z1 - Cultural Economics
  • Economic Sociology
  • Economic Anthropology
  • O17 - Formal And Informal Sectors
  • Shadow Economy
  • Institutional Arrangements
  • E26 - Informal Economy
  • Underground Economy
  • H76 - State And Local Government: Other Expenditure Categories
  • D72 - Political Processes: Rent-Seeking
  • Lobbying
  • Elections
  • Legislatures
  • And Voting Behavior
  • K14 - Criminal Law
  • Economics
  • Political Science


Recent development cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, focussing on good governance, state-building and conflict prevention, did not contribute to democratization nor to the stabilization of volatile political, military and economic structures. Both the portrayal of Guinea-Bissau as failed ‘narco state' as well as Western aid meant to stabilize this state are based on doubtful concepts. Certainly, the impact of drug trafficking could endanger democratization and state-building if continued unchecked. However, the most pressing need is not state-building, facilitated by external aid, yet poorly rooted in the social and political fabric of the country, but nation-building by national reconciliation, as a pre-condition for the creation of viable state institutions.

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