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Coping with Crisis in African States

Peter M. Lewis and John W. Harbeson, editors
Coping with Crisis in African States
ISBN: 978-1-62637-229-0
ISBN: 978-1-62637-439-3
2016/235 pages/LC: 2015026426
SAIS African Studies Library
"Provides a lucid approach to assessing the factors that create vulnerabilities, or possibilities for resilience, in the face of crisis ... complemented by rich empirical country chapters and clear policy recommendations."—Rachel Beatty Riedl, Northwestern University


Although large-scale conflicts, political upheavals, and social violence are common problems throughout Africa, individual countries vary greatly in both their susceptibility to these crises and their capacities for responding effectively. What accounts for this variance? How do crises emerge, and how are they resolved? When are unexpected events most likely to spiral into crisis? Are there institutions and policies that can help to manage adverse shocks?

The authors of Coping with Crisis in African States assess the capability for crisis management in countries across the continent, shedding new light on the sources of instability in the region, as well as on comparative questions of state capacity and resilience.


Peter M. Lewis is associate professor and director of the African Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. John W. Harbeson is emeritus professor of political science at the City University of New York Graduate Center and the City College of New York.


  • Crisis, Vulnerability, and Response in Africa—the Editors.
  • Diagnosing and Managing State Crises—the Editors.
  • Algeria: Between Co-optation and Repression—M.R. Lowi.
  • Angola: A Rude Awakening—S. Moreira.
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo: The Politics of Perpetual Crisis—P. Englebert.
  • Ghana: Shocks and Adaptation—K.A. Nuamah.
  • Kenya: The Challenges of Democratic State Making—J.W. Harbeson.
  • Nigeria: Cycles of Crisis, Sources of Resilience—P.M. Lewis.
  • South Africa: A Disaster That Refuses to Happen—D. Fowkes.
  • Crisis Management for Strengthening the State—the Editors.