Christof Hartmann

Territorial Power Sharing and the Regulation of Conflict in Africa

Civil Wars, 15, 2013, 123-143

The article argues that there is a relative lack of territorial power sharing in sub-Saharan Africa, but that this should not surprise us given the socio-ethnic context of most African countries which lack both majoritarian ethnic groups and clear culturally based distinctions between contending groups. A comprehensive analysis of the various federal systems and of some decentralising countries reveals a sobering record of conflict management and discusses some explanatory variables. In this context, forms of power sharing that include provisions on territorial autonomy, amounting to full-fledged federalism or restricted to some degree of decentralisation, should be regarded with caution. Regional autonomy as a solution to civil war will not work in most cases.