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African Affairs Advance Access

Published: Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:51:36 GMT


The potential and pitfalls of collaborating with development organizations and policy makers in Africa


A growing number of academics are engaging in collaborative research projects with development organizations and policy makers. Increasingly, this includes efforts to co-produce research, rather than simply share information. These new ways of doing research raise important ethical and practical issues that are rarely discussed but deserve attention. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world in which these new approaches are particularly prevalent, and one where the challenges created by those approaches tend to manifest in distinct or acute ways. In this Research Note, we draw on a collaborative research project with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to illuminate these difficulties. We also offer suggestions for how to manage the challenges that arise when academics conduct research with policy makers and development organizations. Ensuring that such collaborations are both effective and ethical is not easy, but it must be done if we are to develop better informed policy and scholarship.

Reciprocal retaliation and local linkage: Federalism as an instrument of opposition organizing in Nigeria


How do local politics shape national political competition in Africa? This article explores opposition party formation in Nigeria, where citizens voted out the People’s Democratic Party in 2015 after 16 years in power. Existing analyses attribute the victory of the All Progressives Congress to issues such as corruption, terrorism, and declining economic performance. Drawing upon field research in Abuja and Rivers, a key opposition state, this article argues that the institutional environment also played a role. Federalism provided the nascent All Progressives Congress with a partisan basis for subnational interest coordination. Rivers’ governor leveraged his authority over local governments to challenge the federal government, linking local struggles to broader states’ rights. The People’s Democratic Party unsuccessfully attempted to deter defections and subvert subnational challenges through court cases and other means. More than just a mechanism for resource distribution, representation, or conflict mediation, Nigeria’s federalism has emerged as an instrument of party organizing.