Africa and the Rule of Law

SUR 23 - v.13 n.23, 159 - 173, 2016

15 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 7, 2016


The rule of law is often seen as a panacea for ensuring a successful, fair and modern democracy which enables sustainable development. However, as Makau Mutua highlights, this is not the case. Using the example of African states, he describes how no African country has truly thrown off the shackles of colonial rule and emerged as a truly just nation state – even though many have the rule of law at the heart of their constitutions. This, he argues, is because the Western concept of the rule of law cannot be simply transplanted to Africa. The concept must be adapted accordingly to take into account the cultural, geographic and economic peculiarities of each state. In order to achieve this, Mutua offers seven core values which the rule of law must reflect in order to achieve sustainable development across the continent.

Keywords: Rule of law, Africa, Sustainable development, Liberalism, Post colonialism

Suggested Citation

Mutua, Makau, Africa and the Rule of Law (July 7, 2016). SUR 23 - v.13 n.23, 159 - 173, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Makau Mutua (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

626 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716 645-2311 (Phone)

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