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date: 28 May 2018

African Foreign Policies

Summary and Keywords

Studies on African foreign policies and policymaking have received much less attention compared to other aspects of African studies. Most foreign policy-related studies have been in-depth case studies illustrating how foreign policy decisions were limited, shaped, and constrained by international, regional, and domestic constraints. Forms of these studies include single case studies, a collection of single case studies within an edited volume, a comparative study of few regional countries, a study of a subregion, and discussions of the whole region of Africa. The region has some of the smallest and weakest states in the world. As such, African foreign policy analysis is often consistent with earlier analyses of small state foreign policy literature. The primary foreign policy behavior of small states are the following: (a) low levels of overall participation in world affairs; (b) high levels of activity in intergovernmental organizations; (c) high levels of support for international legal norms; (d) avoidance to the use of force as a technique of statecraft; (e) avoidance of behaviour and policies which tend to alienate the more powerful states in the system; (f) a narrow functional and geographic range of concern in foreign policy activities; (g) frequent utilization of moral and normative positions on international issues. Most of these views are reflected in studies of African foreign policies.

Keywords: Africa, African studies, African foreign policy, foreign policies, African states

Introduction

Compared to other aspects of African studies, much less has been written directly on African foreign policy formation or the comparative foreign policy of Africa (Wright 1999:1). Where the foreign policies of Africa are examined, the focus tends to be more on the outcomes and the limits constraining it, rather than on the decision making process itself (Aluko 1977; Shaw and Aluko 1984; Wright 1992; 1999; Clapham 1996; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001a). Some exceptions did exist that emphasized process within particular countries (Aluko 1987; Bischoff and Southall 1999; Venter 2001). However, given the nearly region-wide personalization of power, and given the inability to peek behind authoritarian curtains (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Clapham 1996), the leaders and elites tend to be the logical loci of study (Wright 1992).

Excluding studies written from the perspective of external actors, most studies of African foreign policies have been deep case studies illustrating how foreign policy decisions were limited, shaped, and constrained by international, regional, and domestic constraints. Most studies have taken one of several forms: single case studies, a collection of single case studies within an edited volume, a comparative study of few regional countries, a study of a subregion, and discussions of the whole region of Africa – selecting evidence to make general points about the region (Aluko 1977; Bender 1987; Reed 1992; Wright 1992; 1999; Clapham 1996; Harbeson and Rothchild 2000; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001a). However, some works on African foreign policies were cross-national quantitative studies which isolate one foreign policy behavior (e.g. United Nations [UN] voting behavior) and look for variances and causes vis-à-vis foreign policy outcomes (e.g. Newcombe et al. 1970; Clark et al. 1971; East 1973; Moon 1983:85). This essay will only examine comparative studies, regional studies, or collections of cases written from African countries’ perspectives.

The region-wide similarities of colonial heritage and economic and political weakness can lead to appropriate and meaningful generalizations about African foreign policy (Shaw and Aluko 1984; Shaw and Okolo 1994). Thiam (1965) argued that African countries were tackling the common problems of nation building, stability, poverty, decolonization, the problems of the Cold War, and international dominancy of the great powers. This commonality has also helped create the conditions that lead African countries to turn to attempts at regional cooperation. Such common foreign policy concerns/approaches facing the region include Pan-Africanism, anticolonialism and African nationalism, unity against apartheid era South Africa, struggles with autonomy vis-à-vis the former colonial power, regional cooperation for economic development and political autonomy, nonalignment vis-à-vis the Cold War, regional security, and securing national sovereignty (Aluko 1977; Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Harbeson and Rothchild 2000).

Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and regional IGOs were among the primary African venues for the foreign policy decisions (Okolo and Wright 1990; Clapham 1996; Keller and Rothchild 1996; Bach 1999). African countries were also often in multilateral treaties, such as the Lomé treaty and later Cotonou (Khadiagala 2000; 2009) along with other ACP countries. Most of the other important venues were bilateral, especially with immediate neighbors, or “great powers,” such as France (Chipman 1998; Schraeder 2001), the superpowers or Europe (Schraeder 1994; Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Taylor and Williams 2004), or China (Alden 2007).

In terms of the end of the Cold War, democratization and the “Washington consensus” should have lessened the importance of the personalization of power and ideology in foreign policy, though most states manifest tendencies toward the personalization of foreign policy (Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001a; Harbeson 2009). With the end of the Cold War, however, we have seen more the emerging analysis of failing or collapsed states and the “privatization” of state relations (Zartman 1995; Clapham 1997; Reno 1998; 2000; 2009) and regional responses to such increased instability (Herbst 2000b; Mortimer 2000; Zartman 2000). Also, various regional attempts at improving African economic conditions were witnessed in the drafting of the development of the African Economic Community and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) (for NEPAD, see Hope 2002; Chabal 2002; Taylor 2005). Finally, some authors in this period are calling for the reconsideration of the guiding principle in international relations of sovereignty (Englebert 2000; Deng 2000; 2009; Herbst 2000a).

Another important commonality, past and present, for African foreign policy is that nearly all African countries are small and weak. In fact, of all the regions in the world, Africa has among the smallest and weakest states (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Black 1988; Zartman 1995; Clapham 1996; Reno 2000; van de Walle 2001). As such, African foreign policy analysis is often consistent with earlier analyses of small state foreign policy literature. As East (1973) explains, the primary foreign policy behavior of small states are these: “(a) low levels of overall participation in world affairs; (b) high levels of activity in intergovernmental organizations; (c) high levels of support for international legal norms; (d) avoidance to the use of force as a technique of statecraft; (e) avoidance of behaviour and policies which tend to alienate the more powerful states in the system; (f) a narrow functional and geographic range of concern in foreign policy activities; (g) frequent utilization of moral and normative positions on international issues” (1973:557). Most of these views are echoed in studies of African foreign policies.

Foreign Policy Paradigms in Africa: the Decider

Within Africa, foreign policy formation was normally in the domain of the chief executive, given the personalization of power common throughout the region (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Jackson 1990; Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001a). Clapham argues that foreign policy was shaped by the personalization of the African state as “African leaders characteristically conducted much of their foreign relations themselves” (1996:58). As such, examining the bureaucracies or legislatures would not shed much light on the foreign policies of most African governments. Schraeder (1996) also says that African foreign policy is highly personalized in the office of the president, though would later suggest that this was overly simplistic in the case of democratic Senegal (Schraeder 2001). As mentioned above, this does not seem to have changed with the end of the Cold War. According to Adar and Schraeder (2007), although many found that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank programs were increasingly constraining African foreign policy formulation, they also found that the creation of (noneconomic) policy remained primarily in the hands of leaders.

Many analysts see foreign policy as one of several venues or opportunities for leaders to engage in the politics of “state survival” (Clapham 1996). As such, the leader and his circle extract resources for ruling and leading from both domestic and international sources in order to remain in place. The existence of juridical sovereignty created opportunities for leaders to obtain resources with which to remain in power and to play one patron against the other (Callaghy 1983; Clapham 1996; Quinn 2004). As Clark (2001) points out, the domestic needs of leaders dominate the foreign policy arena. He suggests that rational actor models are important for understanding the foreign policy choices of regimes where the interests of the regimes substitute for the interests of the nation. In fact, those who write about neopatrimonial or personalist rulers would hold this position either empirically or as a stylized fact of the subcontinent (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Bratton and van de Walle 1997).

Adogame (2003) tries to reconcile the decision making approach by integrating it with a political economy (dependency) approach. Daddieh and Shaw (1986) also merged dependency and decision making in their comparison of African foreign policies and alignments on two African issues: the recognition of Biafra and the recognition of the two competing political parties for power in Angola.

Nonetheless, it appears that most of the foreign policy studies on sub-Saharan Africa – outside of dependency thinking – have been made within single cases or clusters of cases examining the central role of the decision maker within a larger context of constrained choices. Most have preferred a use of mixed paradigms and empirical analysis over paradigmatic purity (Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Harbeson and Rothchild 2000; 2009; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001b; Schraeder 2004). Unlike a pure rational actor model, studies also examine the ideologies of leaders and the parties, the role of IGOs (e.g. the UN, the World Bank, and the IMF) in addition to looking at domestic interest groups and societal forces as additional limits – where appropriate. However, sometimes these ideologies are seen as other factors which constrain rational actors.

Most analyses see some relative autonomy for African leaders vis-à-vis domestic institutions and social forces, though they are constrained by the weakness of their institutions as well – however, some point to real regional variances in this relative autonomy (Quinn 2000). The number of constraints has increased with the end of the Cold War, especially in relation to economic foreign policy, though new opportunities may appear as well. In sum, few authors on African foreign policy are pure realists, liberals, radicals, or constructivists, though some emphasize one position more than others do. Most appear to use empirical understandings of international, ideological, and domestic constraints on leaders’ power as the best approach to understanding African foreign policy.

Paradigms and Foreign Policy in Africa: Realism

Few foreign policy or international relations (IR) analyses were written from a strict realist theoretical viewpoint. In fact, African countries were often considered only quasi-states, lacking Weberian “stateness” or de facto state power; rather, they were endowed with de jure external sovereignty from the international community (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Jackson 1990; Clapham 1996; Reno 1998; Englebert 2000; Herbst 2000a; Rothchild and Harbeson 2000; Quinn 2001). However, Herbst suggests that African international relations began with the Congolese war (2000b).

Zartman (1967) also argued that common notions of realist power (e.g. size of army or population) do not take into account the power countries have through voting in IGOs or the power of norms governing interstate African relations. In fact, Jackson and Rosberg argued that “Black Africa challenges more than it supports some of the major postulates of international relations theory” (1982:24). In fact, rather than increasing domestic state power, as realists would have it, elites undermine their own state's economies or structures in order to deprive potential domestic rivals of political power (Jackson and Rosberg 1982; Clapham 1996; Reno 1998). Dunn (2000) argued that African realities are not consistent with either neorealism or realism because distinctions between internal and external sources of power and legitimacy are less important in Africa. He also argues that hierarchy, and not anarchy, more accurately describes African relations. Similarly, Dunn and Shaw (2001), Lemke (2003), and Reno (1998) argue that Africa's key realities occur at the nonstate and substate levels – which can be seen as a challenge to realism.

Despite the views that realism does not appear to explain many of African realities at first glance, most case studies on African foreign policy still analyze how alignment vis-à-vis the superpowers and former colonial powers (i.e., great powers) are determinative of much of African foreign policies (Aluko 1977; Clapham 1996; Wright 1999; Khadiagala and Lyons 2001a; Taylor and Williams 2004). In addition, some see African countries perhaps playing the role of regional hegemons (Herbst 2000b). However, where strong discussions of super or great powers emerge, they tend to be written from the perspective of these great powers or institutions and their relations with Africa (Schraeder 1994; Chipman 1998; Taylor and Williams 2004). Nonetheless, very few analyses of the international constraints of African foreign policy would exclude either the superpowers or the past colonial powers.

Moreover, some African scholars such as Akinyemi (1982), Akinsaya (1976), and Gambari (1989) argued that realpolitik was the key to understanding Africa's foreign policies in the 1960s. In addition, some of the early empirical comparative foreign policy analysis tested realist variables, such as alignment in the UN and differences between large and small nations (see below).

Paradigms and Foreign Policy in Africa: Liberalism and Liberal Political Economy

Although many African scholars found realism lacking, traditional liberalism seemed to fare no better: few scholars have focused upon mostly domestic interest aggregation or articulation as significant sources of foreign policy. Clapham (1996), Reno (1998), and Lemke (2003) all stress that elites compete to undermine rivals and deprive them of political power – resulting in a weakened state and weakened civil society.

The African literature that does examine substate/domestic sources of power for their impact on foreign policy often looks to rival armed guerrillas, warlords, military factions, ethnic groups, or companies as important constituents for foreign policy (Clapham 1996; Reno 1998; Zartman 2000). However, with the increased democratization of Africa following the end of the Cold War, more and more research should look to domestic sources of foreign policy, though they continue to be weak (Wright 1999; Lyons and Khadiagala 2001; Schraeder 2001).

Nonetheless, foreign economic policy may be a more fruitful venue for the liberal paradigm: this is referred to as endogenous tariff theory (Magee et al. 1989; McGillivray 1997). This approach looks to leaders, sectors, elites, farmers, importers, exporters, parties, classes, and other economic and political actors to pursue their economic self-interest through the establishment of trade policy.

Perhaps the best known theory for so many countries following an inward-oriented (protectionist) development approach in Africa is the urban–rural bias theory (Lipton 1977; Bates 1981). Urban political elites prefer a policy of inward-oriented trade as it benefits the importers and urban dwellers, while the exporters are mainly politically powerless rural dwellers. Moreover, the countryside cannot overcome its collective action problems, but city residents do (Bates 1981). Other scholars have suggested that African neopatrimonial political structures themselves are the cause of region-wide inward-oriented policies (Joseph 1983; Lewis 1996; van de Walle 2001). The need for resource redistribution systems requires more inward-oriented policies. The inward-oriented policies are therefore necessary to create enough patronage to maintain the political elite (Chabal and Deloz 1999; Chabal 2002). In a similar vein, Easterly and Levine (1997) suggest that ethnolinguistic fractionalization moves polities away from growth policy formation towards protectionist, redistributive policies for similar reasons. They illustrate that Africa has among the world's most ethnolinguistically fractionalized nations, and the region is quite protectionist.

For those that see more heterogeneity in economic foreign policy during the Cold War period, Africa is a region with many countries having inward-oriented policies, but not all. In fact, as Berg pointed out, six countries had higher than 3 percent growth in agriculture prior to 1981 (World Bank 1981). Even during the 1980s, the period of worst economic performance, countries without mineral exporting or majority state ownership, or their economies (see below), experienced an average annual food export rate of positive 1.28 percent (World Bank 1992, table 5-36, p. 98). Lofchie (1989) compared Kenya to Tanzania and finds that outward-oriented agricultural policies were the reason for agrarian success in Kenya in contrast to the agrarian failure of Tanzania. He attributed more outward-oriented foreign economic policies to the ownership of land by political elites. Widner (1993) suggests a similar mechanism at work in Côte d'Ivoire. Even Bates (1981) agrees that the existence of large landowners can lead to the pursuit of more outward-oriented policies, as in the case of Kenya.

Englebert (2000) suggests that countries with more endogenous “legitimacy” have had less severe policy distortions. Countries in the region that are “legitimate” are linked to policy, institution, and governance variables. Englebert finds that good economic foreign policy is determined by higher levels of endogenous legitimate authority.

Quinn (1999; 2002) argued that countries in sub-Saharan Africa that had majority state ownership of most capital-intensive industries or a significant mineral or oil exporting sectors were more likely to pursue more inward-oriented development policies than were other similar countries. Having no comparative advantage in capital, when African leaders became the owners of sectors that used scarce factors, they took on the preference for protectionism as owners of scarce factors. Building on the ideas of Rogowski (1989), who discussed the ideas of Heckscher-Ohlin and Stolper Samuelson, Quinn argues that inward-oriented policies protected these sectors from withering competition from abroad, which then allowed these sectors to be used primarily for patronage. By contrast, countries without majority state ownership of most capital-intensive sectors or the largest mineral export sector may or may not have inward-oriented development policies – depending on the relative power of different social forces. Nonetheless, on average they had lower levels of inward-oriented policies and were less inward-oriented in each direct comparative match of eight countries (Quinn 2002).

Others argue that African foreign economic relations were shaped by their search for development and their relations with IGOs, like the World Bank and the IMF (East 1973; Callaghy and Ravenhill 1993; Callaghy 2000; 2009). Given the need for developmental aid, many African countries have lost prior control over the establishment of an independent economic foreign policy (Callaghy and Ravenhill 1993), especially in the post–Cold War period over fiscal matters (van de Walle 2001). These countries had to adopt externally imposed economic policies due to their need for lending from the World Bank and IMF, which imposed changes in economic policy as a condition of lending (Gordon 1993; Callaghy 1998; van de Walle 2001). Despite this being under a liberal perspective (as ideology, not paradigm), many see structural adjustment as externally imposed and in need of domestic constituent support to be successful (Nelson 1989; 1992; Gordon 1993; Herbst 1998). However, externally imposed economic policies can be politically destabilizing.

Given, however, the ever-increasing requirement of economic conditionality for international loans, fewer liberal scholars study endogenous sources of economic foreign policies and study instead what leads to “good government.” Recently, it is not a question of whether they will adopt these “liberal” policies, but rather there is an examination of how these policies are adopted, what their impacts are, or how they are best resisted. They appear to have become a new external constraint for African countries.

Paradigms and Foreign Policy in Africa: Constructivism

Many scholars include ideas as a variable in shaping African foreign policy, though few would call themselves constructivists. Few scholars would disagree with the proposition that ideas helped shape African foreign policies. Pan-Africanism, collective bargaining, regional integration, regional security, and the sanctity of colonial boundaries have all been very strong norms vis-à-vis African foreign policies (Aluko 1977; Mazzeo 1984; Okolo and Wright 1990; Schraeder 1996; 2004; Wright 1999), even if they arose out of self-interest. At its core, Pan-Africanism extends to the region, while sovereignty does not – which places it in tension with nationalism (Young 2000). Nonetheless, the regional and international norm of uti possidetis was enshrined in the OAU, and it allowed African elites to have armies that did not have to defend against external enemies (Englebert 2000; Herbst 2000a; Young 2000; Quinn 2001), though this is no longer as true about the AU.

Nonetheless, nationalism and sovereignty have been quite strong norms in African relations (Jackson 1993). However, for Africa, “sub-nationalism” is strongly opposed (Englebert and Hummel 2005). For example, few countries recognized Biafra upon its declaration of independence, and fewer still have recognized either of the Somali breakaway entities (Schraeder 2004). Nonetheless, nationalism was the driving ideology behind the decolonization movement of Africa (Gifford and Louis 1982; 1988; Hargreaves 1988).

Africa also has a history of regional, multilateral attempts as crisis resolution (Keller and Rothchild 1996; Zartman 2000). The OAU was built upon the idea of the sacrosanct nature of borders, as well as looking to African solutions before going to the UN (Foltz 1991). According to Zartman (2000), several regional organizations are also involved in conflict negotiation: the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (see below), the West African Economic Community (CEAO) [which became the Economic and Monetary Union of West African States (UEMOA)], and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In fact, SADC was the vehicle to justify the involvement of Zimbabwe in the Congolese War (Lemarchand 2000). For example, when regional conflict emerged, African countries attempted regional responses (Mortimer 2000; Zartman 2000; 2009). Part of this is Africa's Pan-African perspective; part of this was partial or full disengagement from Africa by the super and great powers (Rothchild 2000). For example, ECOWAS sent troops to Liberia through its wing, the Economic Community Monitoring Groups (ECOMOG) (Mortimer 2000). America's call for a regional peacekeeping force, called the African Crisis Response Initiative (Herbst 2000b), is consistent with Pan-African ideals as well as US interests.

Beyond Pan-Africanism, dependency thinkers, development economists, and economic nationalism have influenced foreign economic policy decisions. Many early leaders viewed capitalism as being part of colonialism (Hargreaves 1988; Kennedy 1988; Rapley 2002) which led many to nationalize their economies (Rood 1976; Quinn 2002). Young (1982) argued that the ideological leanings of leaders/countries could predict such trade and other economic policies.

Africans have long viewed regional self-reliance as a means to achieve economic and political development. Through the AU, and the idea of regional development, several regional economic communities (RECs) have been established. Each one is to become a free trade zone on the way to creating the African Economic Community. Some see this as more rhetoric than reality as Africa has so many regional organizations and such low intrastate trade (Bach 1999). Nonetheless, the new NEPAD initiative backed by South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, and others (Chabal 2002; Hope 2002; Taylor 2005) is another regional attempt at economic development.

Sovereignty, as a key norm in the area, has been under pressure in Africa (Deng 2000; Englebert 2000; Herbst 2000a). American involvement in Somalia undermined this norm somewhat, even though it was justified by the idea that no state existed to defend the sovereignty of. The World Bank and IMF have imposed economic conditionality upon African nations, and this has been seen as a challenge to their economic sovereignty. Given the dreadful misrule in some parts of Africa, some analysts have called for the end of sovereignty per se and have argued that international actors certify a state as being sound or not (Deng 2000; Englebert 2000; Herbst 2000a). Genocide and state failure may become easy assumptions for violating sovereignty in future.

Paradigms and Foreign Policy in Africa: Dependency

Perhaps the most self-consciously concerned paradigms vis-à-vis African foreign policy include dependency or structuralism (Shaw 1975; Nweke 1980; Kegley and McGowan 1981; Shaw and Aluko 1984; Wendt 1987; Shaw and Okolo 1994). Shaw and Aluko (1984) refer to it as a “political economy” approach, though many scholars would see it as one of several subparadigms within (international) political economy. Building on the ideas of Baran (1957) and Wallerstein (1974), African countries are viewed as similar in their dependency and weakness vis-à-vis advanced industrial countries; as such, foreign policy outcomes in Africa are reduced to the effects of the system (Wendt 1987:345).

Most of this literature starts with the theory of underdevelopment, or dependency, and illustrates how African foreign policies are determined by these realities. Differences in foreign policy outcomes do not falsify the theory. For example, Shaw (1975) argues that inequality in power between African countries and “Northern” countries results in either dependency through trade and attempts to integrate with global state capitalism, or dependency through “trade, investment, and technology” (1975:370), or in attempts to reject the system by adopting socialist domestic policies. Scholars in this tradition also study how African and other third world countries attempt to bargain collectively within the IGOs on economic and political issues (Nweke 1980). Kegley and McGowan (1981) examined third world countries’ foreign policies by examining the interconnections among interdependence, dependence, and other dimensions of core–periphery relations. Shaw and Aluko edited a volume with an eye to illustrating African foreign policy from a strict dependency perspective (1984). In 1994, Shaw and Okolo edited a volume on the political economy of foreign policy in ECOWAS states.

In contrast to the standard neo-Marxist dependency theory, the theory of postimperialism suggests that third world countries interact with multinational corporations (MNCs), the latter of which are not negotiating on behalf of the “North” or the core – but rather from their own transnational class interests (Becker and Sklar 1999). It examines the foreign policy of states from a nationalist perspective in the third world, but a transnational perspective from MNCs. This approach leaves the question of exploitation to be answered empirically, as opposed to theoretically. Postimperialist thinkers would not limit their thinking to Africa, but would extend its analysis to the whole third world. Quinn (1999) showed how the postimperialism paradigm was more consistent with the developmental policies chosen by African elites than was a strict dependency view.

Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis: Africa in the Third World

Many works on the comparative study of foreign policy on Africa are in the context of third world foreign policies and tend to use data from the early 1960s. In fact, a brief flurry of studies emerged which were quantitative as well as based upon a Rosenau (1966) or Holsti (1970; 1982) approach to comparative foreign policies. Many tended to explain voting trends in the UN (Newcombe et al. 1970; Clark et al. 1971; Moon 1983; 1985; Holloway 1990; Holloway and Tomlinson 1995). Other work tested variances on this theme. For example, Meyers (1966) tested for the continuation of early UN, Pan-African voting blocks. Many other studies examined third world countries’ alignment with pro-West or pro-Soviet camps, or non-alignment, and others showed how differences in UN voting could be attributed to differences in levels of development, and even differences between North and South voting (Kim and Russett 1996). Similarly, Imai and James (1996) examined the role of superpower rivalry on trade and arms transfers as well as voting in the UN. Other studies looked for links between aid from powerful nations and UN voting (Wittkopf 1973; Rai 1980; Wang 1999). Ties with important US votes and aid were the most consistent finding for these studies, though Kegley and Hook (1991) suggested that this link disappeared during the second half of the Reagan administration. Also, some found that weaker countries aligned, but due to “consensus” or “constrained consensus” rather than “compliance” (Moon 1983; 1985). Similar comparative studies of third world foreign policies using a few cases or a single African case include Richardson and Kegley (1980), Armstrong (1981), and Richardson (1976).

Looking at ideological sources of foreign policy, Hagan (1989) examined how political revolutions or regime changes affected foreign policy orientations in the third world. He found that regime changes did result in variances in the amount of support or alignment with US positions; major shifts in voting patterns are associated with regime changes, but “nonrevolutionary changes accounted for 80 percent of regime-induced voting changes” (1989:540). Within just Africa, Vengroff (1976) found no relationship between individual-level instability in Black African countries and a change (or instability) in UN voting, implying continuity over change.

Many studies on comparative foreign policy centered only on Africa, and they have emphasized voting patterns in the UN (Ellis and Salzberg 1966; Meyers 1966; Vengroff 1976) or general African foreign policy behavior, such as levels of diplomatic activity or alignment. McGowan (1968) analyzed alignment patterns to find that more developed and densely populated countries, as well as countries that received more aid, were higher “interactors” than other similar countries. In addition, monoproduct-exporters were more likely to be low interactors. McGowan (1969) examined 30 African countries to determine if levels of economic development were correlated with foreign policy outcomes. He found that the most developed countries followed an “active-independent” path, whereas mid-level developing African nations followed a “transitional” foreign policy path. Finally, the least developed countries tended to be “inactive-dependent.” Similarly, Weigert and Riggs (1969) found that African nations with the most economic and military capabilities were more likely to hold major offices at the IGO, such as the UN. Johns (1972) examined the level of official diplomatic activity among African countries. He categorized African diplomatic activity, or normalization, into three levels: minimal, intermediate, and complete. He examined different regional, ex-colonial, linguistic, border, and ideological factors to see their effects on bilateral diplomatic ties. Ex-Belgian, militant, North African, Maghreb (ex-French), Coastal, and contiguous countries had the highest levels of diplomatic activities. Ironically, countries that housed established regional organizations had lower levels of “diplomatic” normalization.

Johns (1975) looked to see if relative power could predict levels of diplomatic activity. He found that with the exception of GDP per capita, all of his indices of power were significantly and strongly associated with diplomatic activity. He also examined the links between diplomatic activity and integration, finding that membership in some regional organizations, such as the East African Community, seemed to replace (or lower) diplomatic activity. He also found that integration was higher in some regions (the former Belgian colonies, North African countries and the Maghreb) than for the overall OAU average.

McGowan and Gottwald (1975) attempted to see if African countries fit within predictions about the foreign behavior of other small states. Using Rosenau's model of adaptation, they tried to predict which countries would be “promotive” or “acquiescent.” They found that country size, level of development, and inner-directed leaders were the main predictors of foreign policy orientation. Also, countries that were more modern and other-directed were more dependent in foreign policy.

Shifting questions, Khapoya (1975) sought to explain the foreign policy of “support for liberation.” This was measured on a ten point scale (from 0 to 9) based on the following various diplomatic acts supporting liberation groups. The variables which were significantly and positively associated with supporting liberation movements were ideology, size, wealth, and power measured as size of territory, population, GNP, armed forces, size of armed forces, military expenditures, weighted military expenditures, the number of African embassies, missions in communist/socialist states, and boundaries with target areas. Many of these variables were collinear along lines of wealth, size, power, and military capacity. The one variable negatively and significantly associated with supporting liberation movements was imports from ex-colonial powers. The strongest correlates were missions with communist/socialist countries, and embassies in African states, but both were highly correlated.

McGowan and Johnson (1979) outlined the goals of comparative foreign policy in Africa and described the African Foreign Relations and International Conflict Analysis (AFRICA) database. This collection of event data includes 32 African countries and their foreign policy actions or utterances from 1964 to 1966. The data are dyadic, and include 14,669 foreign policy actions (see also DeLancey 1979).

In a large-N study of culture, McGowan and Purkitt (1979) used factor analysis to develop several dependent variables indices that are common to Black African foreign policy (i.e., participation, conflict, political independence, economic dependence, state building, formal diplomacy, and centralized decision making) and tested them against several independent variables indices (i.e., size, modernization, cultural pluralism, ethnic pluralism, religion, and language pluralism). They found that their variable of capacity as well as cultural variables explain foreign policy outcomes for these 32 African countries.

Dolan et al. (1980) conducted a large-N study of the bilateral relations of African countries with other countries with which there are great asymmetries of economic power using the AFRICA database. They examined the level of economic interchange and the relative domestic power of each African country to make predictions about foreign policy alignment vis-à-vis the superordinate power (the more powerful of the dyad and any country with more than 20 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) (1980:428). They find that as economic power of the weaker countries increases, they had policies that are more restrictive towards the superordinate country – unless their trade concentration ties were above average, in which case they became more expansive.

In 1985, Bienen examined military regimes to see if they had unique foreign policies within the African context. Instead of a large-N study, he overviewed previous literature as well as engaging in African foreign policy analysis and found that military regimes were not distinctive in foreign policy formation or goals.

Focusing primarily on West Africa, Anda (2000) compared foreign policy behaviors with national attributes, focusing on three paradigms (systems, power, and decision making) as well as two levels of analysis (national and systemic). He found that francophone countries were more integrated into regional organizations than were anglophone countries, that elite perception and state attributes such as size, development, contiguity, and capabilities affected foreign policy outcomes.

Not only were voting patterns and international alignments studied, but a few scholars also conducted large-N conflict studies in Africa. Boyd (1979) looked at the causes of boundary conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, viewed as a reflection of foreign policy. Using AFRICA data, he tested the effects of ethnic overhang, ethnic heterogeneity, salience of ethnic politics, non-boundary conflicts, size/influence disparity, elite instability, and domestic instability on boundary conflicts in Africa. He found three variables that were most explanatory: elite instability, size/influence disparity, and salience of ethnicity in domestic politics. He also found that the effects of colonialism on conflicts are indirect at best.

In 2002, Kornprobst compared the management of border disputes in the Horn of Africa and in West Africa. His primary predictive variable was the strength of norms in the two regions regarding borders and their inviolability. He asserted, and illustrated, that these norms were stronger in West Africa than in the Horn. He also discounted several other rival explanations for the differences. He concluded that the differences in primary and secondary norms could explain the peaceful resolution of conflicts in West Africa and the wars in the Horn.

A Chronology of Major Works Directly on African (Comparative) Foreign Policy

This section includes a chronology of often-cited, or traditional, works directly on foreign policy or African international relations from an African perspective; however, we only include works that are comparative or collections of cases. We do not include single case studies. The large-N, statistical studies were discussed directly above. Thiam (1965) wrote one of the earliest works on African foreign policy outlining how emergent nationalism and socialism in the region impacted policies. He also examined relations among the African states as well as between African states and foreign powers. He concluded by speculating on the future of African unity and African relations with major foreign powers.

Other early works directly on general African foreign policy included McKay's edited volume on diplomacy (1966). The volume examined foreign policy formation based upon various themes: international conflict patterns, national interest and ideologies, economic determinants, military influences, cultural and psychological factors, political determinants, external political determinants, and future research needs. The analysis from the various authors explored regional commonalities for each theme, though it was clearly an early work.

Zartman published a 1966 book on the international relations of Africa that draws cases from mostly North and Western African states. It also highlights the challenges for new nations in the formation of foreign policy and how such policies are tied to nation building. Zartman also shows how inter-African relations are more interactions of leaders of parties than they are of heads of states (1966:144): African foreign policy is therefore based upon institutional weakness. This results in ideology playing a key role in foreign policy formation. In an article from the year before, Zartman (1965) suggests that countries that are internally weak (in Africa) are less likely to be involved in border wars.

Wallensteen (1971) analyzed the foreign policies of five southern African states and their relations with South Africa. His cases included Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, and Zambia. He suggests that the sample space for interactions with South Africa and its opposition are these: “1. Relations with government but not opposition, 2. Relations with government and with opposition, 3. No relations with government, but relations with opposition, [and] 4. No relations with government, no relations with opposition” (1971:86). He found these countries preferred: “Malawi no 1, Sesotho leaning towards no 1, Swaziland leaning towards no 4, Botswana largely no 4 and Zambia no 3” (1971:87). The article examines the reasons for these policy outcomes in the Southern African military, diplomatic, and economic regional contexts.

One book which surveys the field of comparative foreign policies, but which was not limited to Africa was by McGowan and Shapiro (1973). In their overview of more than 200 studies, they find that there is no overarching or “systematic foreign policy theory” (1973:214), though they did identify over 100 tested propositions concerning foreign policy formation (e.g. elite, establishment, political, economic, governmental, societal, systemic). They argued that “[s]elected aspects of foreign policy behavior may be open to analysis via deductive theories” (1973:215), but they would tend to be narrow level, or micro theories. The book includes an extensive bibliography. A few years earlier, McGowan (1970) compiled a guide to African research, including references to foreign policy. It is arranged as a bibliography.

In 1973, the proceedings of a symposium at the University of Bristol were published as The Foreign Relations of African States (Ingham 1973). The papers outlined diverse aspects of African foreign policies: diplomacy in Western Sudan, Fante diplomacy in the eighteenth century, Iramba foreign policy, East African external relations, anti-slave issues of East Africa in the nineteenth century, the role of boundaries in Africa, the partitioning of Africa, foreign relations of Western Uganda, foreign policies of Uganda, those of Tanzania, contradictory ideologies of nationalism in Africa (in French), the international relations of Guinea (in French), the description of foreign service cadres in Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya, and, finally, major policy shifts of the OAU, 1963–73. Each paper has a commentary section summarizing discussions of the symposium after the delivery of each paper.

Akindele (1976) examined the role of the OAU to understand African diplomacy and collective foreign relations as a supplement to traditional bilateral examinations. Examining its resolutions, he finds most were concerned with apartheid, anti-colonialism, and racism. Other issues included African relations with the UN, the Middle East, Afro-Asian solidarity and non-alignment, and a few other miscellaneous questions (1976:560). The rest of the article develops these ideas.

Aluko's (1977) edited book fits the more recent prototype of deep analysis of African cases one at a time, though it does have an opening chapter summarizing similarities. The introductory chapter outlines the common problems and constraints on the relatively young African states. Aluko argued that foreign policy is driven by the nature of domestic constraints and considerations as well as international constraints and considerations. Then in the case studies of Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zaire, these issues and others are explored in detail.

Although it is not specifically on comparative foreign policy, Mazrui (1977) writes of African countries’ position historically, geographically, economically, militarily and politically and how this has regional and worldwide consequences. He also writes on the role of ideas and ideology driving African policy decisions. General themes are illustrative with wide African and world examples.

In 1979, Clapham edited a volume on foreign policy in developing countries. Instead of using a large-N study, he suggests that all the studies in the book (and any on foreign policy) must start “from the assumption that it will be useful to say something about foreign policy making under each of a handful of headings: the historical and geographical settings of states concerned; the nature of the external environment in which they operate, and the constraints which it places on policy makers; the form of the domestic society and political structure, and the pressure which this too creates for external policy, together with the linkages which inevitably arise between internal and external factors; the decision making apparatus, with the composition, perception and the goals of the groups or individuals who control it” (1979:165). His chapter on Africa offers such a deep description and overview of these for Africa, as well as including a “critical” bibliography.

DeLancey edited an annotated bibliography on African international relations in 1981. The sections include: African international relations: General works; African states’ foreign policies; Inter-African conflicts; Borders and refugees; Sub-continental regionalism; The OAU, Pan-Africanism, and African unity; The UN and international law; Southern Africa; The USSR, the PRC, the UK, and France: relations with Africa; The USA: relations with Africa; Other states: relations with Africa; and Economic factors in African international relations.

Shaw and Aluko edited a volume with an eye to illustrating African foreign policy from a strict dependency perspective (1984). The authors were to address “historical incorporation and inheritance; contemporary dependence and underdevelopment; national political economy in the world system; nature of response through development strategy; relationship between political economy and foreign policy; overview of regional, continental, global and transnational interactions; and future of foreign policy” (1984:17).

Woodward (1984) discusses the limits of a dependency-only approach to foreign relations in the Horn of Africa, and illustrates that the issues of boundaries can be the source of conflict. Economic cooperation, shared political instability, and refugees can also shape South–South interactions and cooperation. Southern coordination or conflict can also be complicated by great power involvement in the region.

In 1985, Doctors Ojo, Orwa, and Utete co-wrote a book also on African international relations. They addressed theories of international relations, the international actors, foreign policy and the developing state, Africa and the global economy, the search for African unity, African states and the superpowers, Africa and the former colonial powers, Africa and the UN, causes of conflict in the relations of the African states, and regional cooperation and integration. Each chapter includes a brief bibliography. The book has a nice mix of international relations theory, paradigms, and empirical application to Africa. The third chapter is directly written on foreign policy in developing African nations.

In 1986, Korany edited a volume on the comparative analysis of third world foreign policy decisions. He argues that African foreign policies can be attributed to the African president or leader. Therefore, the “big man” source of foreign policy had much to do with the comparative weakness of alternative sources of power in the region. Examining bureaucracies or legislatures, he held, would not shed much light on African foreign policies.

In The Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, Bender (1987) edited a special issue on the international affairs in Africa. It included an introductory chapter, as well as in-depth case studies on Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa. There were also comparative chapters: Kenya and Tanzania, the Eastern Triangle (Libya, Egypt, and Sudan), and the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya). There is also a chapter looking at common economic foreign relations of sub-Saharan African countries vis-à-vis the international financial institutions.

In 1990, a volume on Southern African foreign policies emerged (Chan 1990), which examined the foreign policies in Southern Africa from 1978 to 1988. The sections of the book covered the following areas: foreign policies in Southern Africa, the regional policy of South Africa, and then the Western Alliance, superpowers, and Southern Africa. Section 1 is written by Chan; the other sections have several chapters each, with authors associated with each chapter. Although the title indicates a regional foreign policy book, most of the chapters are squarely on South Africa as a case.

First in 1991, then with later editions in 1995, 2000, and 2009, Harbeson and Rothchild edited volumes on issues regarding African international relations. Although these edited volumes do not have specific chapters on foreign relations, per se, they do go into great detail concerning the limits of domestic power, the personalization of the leadership, the regional concerns or foreign policies of leaders, the influence of international financial institutions (IFIs) on leaders, regional conflict resolution, as well as how other major international actors influence domestic decision making, such as the EU and UN. These often-cited books create a context in which to study foreign policy, and several editions were used as textbooks in courses on African international relations.

In 1992, DeLancey edited the Handbook of Political Science Research on Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends from the 1960s to the 1990s. Specifically on research in international relations, a nice review article by William Cyrus Reed overviews directions in African international relations and concludes with a bibliography. The book also includes African regional surveys (i.e., lusophone Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, Horn of Africa, Cameroon and Equatorial Africa) as well as country studies (i.e., South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria). The book has two appendices relevant to this essay: one on Social science research centers of sub-Saharan Africa; and a Selected bibliography on African politics.

Also in 1992, Wright wrote a nice review on African foreign policies. In this review he suggested that most African foreign policies shared certain objectives: equality in the international system (due to legacies of colonialism, opposition to racism, Cold War tensions, and issues of foreign troops), opposition to South Africa and apartheid, a dominant strain for pro-Arab and anti-Israel positions, and concerns for modernization and economic development (Wright 1992:338). The arenas for foreign policy were these: regional (e.g. OAU, ECOWAS), Continental (i.e., OAU), Eurafrica (i.e., former colonial powers, great powers, the EC), and superpowers (i.e., USA, USSR). Each venue was discussed and prospects for the future centered on possible democratization and economic development.

In 1994, Shaw and Okolo edited a volume on the political economy of foreign policy in ECOWAS states. In this work, an author was to “employ political economy variables to explain (i) the structural nature of African country relations with other countries and the world economy, (ii) major African foreign policies and state behaviour, and (iii) the options and constraints in foreign policy” (1994:257).

In 1995, Zartman edited a book that suggests the unique problems for comparative politics and international relations posed by collapsing African states. The book opens with an introductory chapter arguing the merits of the study and overviews theories. Then it contains chapters on collapsed and reconstituted states (i.e., Chad, Uganda, Ghana), current collapse and future restoration (i.e., Somalia, Liberia, Mozambique, Ethiopia), states in danger (Angola, Zaire, Algeria, South Africa), potential agents of reconstruction (i.e., United Nations, foreign intervention, democratization, and strongmen), and a concluding chapter.

Keller and Rothchild (1996) edited a book which contributed to African international relations and overviewed evolving regional foreign policy perspectives and practices. After introductions by Keller and Obasanjo, placing African international and regional interactions in a post–Cold War context, the book has three parts: Perspectives on regional and global security issues, Regional security and the end of the Cold War, and Extracontinental actors and regional security. The introduction, first section, and conclusion have the most information concerning regional comparative foreign policy, though the other chapters have a lot of information about specific country interests. The chapter on ECOMOG is especially informative.

Schraeder, in 1996, wrote a book chapter on African international relations that explains the primary trends of foreign policy formation and concerns. He discusses a dependency/post-colonial divide in research on African foreign relations, and he suggests some key areas of study or consensus. First, African foreign policy was highly personalized within the office of the president. Second, countries had strong cultural, political, and economic ties that oriented their foreign policies towards the former colonizing country. So foreign policy was aligned with (or sometimes opposed to) the wishes of the metropole or to new external patrons. With the end of the Cold War, some of this has changed. The foreign policies of these countries are experiencing more democratization. Finally, religion is playing more of a role. He also discusses the role of Pan-Africanism, regional integration, relations with great powers, and the relations of African states with multilateral institutions such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank.

Also in 1996, a very well regarded, and often-cited, book on African international relations was written by Clapham. This book is often used in classes on African international relations. Although it does not have a specific chapter on foreign relations, discussions of foreign policy are explored within the larger international relations context. He discusses how weak African states are maintained by international norms, but not in a way that allows them to flourish. The “negative sovereignty” of these “monopoly states” allows them to proceed without strong threat of invasion of international overthrow, but they do not prosper economically nor do they have much domestic capacity.

In 1997, a bibliography on African international relations was released (DeLancey et al.). This work divided the topics as follows: an introduction; general works on African international relations; African foreign policies; Inter-African conflicts, borders, and refugees; sub-continental regionalism; the OAU, Pan-Africanism, and African unity; the UN and international law; RSA and Southern Africa; major powers (Russia, the PRC, the UK, and France) and their relations with Africa; the US and African relations; other states and their relations with Africa; and economic factors in African international relations.

In 1998, Reno wrote a “new classic” book about “weak” states and argued that one needs to look beneath state-level activities to understand the international relations of failed or weak states. Within the African state, competing poles of power often internationally weaken state structures to deny would-be competitors access to state power, while competing for international recognition, aid, and foreign direct investment. The book contains two theoretical and historical chapters outlining the argument, the cases of Liberia, Sierra Leone, the DRC, and Nigeria, as well as a concluding chapter on warlords in the global system of states.

In 1999, Wright edited an often-cited volume on African foreign policies designed for classroom use as well as to promote a research agenda. In his introductory chapter, he argues that the traditional concerns of African foreign policies must include the following: the impact of colonialism, the role of resources, coordination within IGOs, non-alignment, security and sovereignty, unity against apartheid South Africa, economic development, and decision making in foreign policy (1999:3–6). The book also discusses the end of the Cold War, one comparative case, and country-specific foreign policy studies (i.e., Angola, Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe). It also has a chapter on regionalism and a concluding chapter speculating on the future of foreign policies in the region.

In 1999, Nel and McGowan produced an African international relations textbook that discusses the basic paradigms of international relations in the African context, with emphasis on South Africa and its region. Also included are chapters on the study of international relations, the evolution of the global political economy, theories of international relations, states and the interstate system, analyzing and evaluating foreign policy, international institutions, nonstate actors in international relations, Africa in the global system, 1600 to decolonization, Africa in the contemporary world, Africa's international relations, the postcolonial African state and its problems, making foreign policy in South Africa, Southern Africa in South–South relations, the regional subsystem of Southern Africa, dimensions of sustainable development in Southern Africa.

In 2001, Pinkney wrote on the comparative foreign policy of East Africa. He compared the pre– and post–Cold War politics of the three countries of East Africa, pitting rival theories against each other for the best explanation. Pinkney examines changes in international ideas, norms, and power and how they have influenced East Africa and its interactions within the region, with IFIs, and with the larger world.

In 2001, a work directly on African foreign policies was edited by Khadiagala and Lyons (2001b) and will probably be popular in courses on African foreign policies. Here, aside from introductory and concluding chapters, the book discusses foreign policy within regions: anglophone West Africa, francophone West Africa, Central Africa, the Great Lakes, the Horn, Southern Africa, as well as the external relations of weak states and stateless regions. The exception to the regional orientation is a chapter on South Africa, though in a Southern African context. This sets this volume apart – instead of an edited volume consisting of single case studies, each chapter represents regions, save for South Africa.

Also in 2001, Serapião and colleagues edited a book on African foreign policies that examines foreign policies primarily from a Southern Africa perspective. The first two theoretical chapters have overviews on African foreign policies and African unity, and challenges and solutions in the struggle for independent African foreign policies. The next several chapters are cases: foreign policy towards Africa: the case of India, South Africa's foreign policy toward the rest of Africa, South Africa's regional foreign policy (1944–99), and the future of South Africa in Africa. It is between a book and a pamphlet, with augments and overviews of selective literature.

A collection on regional foreign policies was edited by Adar and Ajulu (2002), which had a mix of case studies (i.e., Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (2 chapters), Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) as well as regional and global case studies (i.e., regional policies of SADC, British policies toward the region, and the US policy toward the region).

In a book chapter, Adogame (2003) argued that one could fuse a dependency approach with a decision making approach to understand African foreign policy formation. He used the creation of the AU as his case. His argument is a nuanced dependency approach, giving more credence to domestic volition and influences.

A volume focusing on African foreign policy in the context of East Africa, globalization, and the end of the Cold War was edited by Adar and Schraeder (2007). It contains a mixture of single case studies (i.e., Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) as well as regional and global case studies (e.g. East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), British relations in the region, Russian relations in the region, and American relations in the region). It also includes introductory and concluding chapters. They find that although rising IMF and World Bank programs may constrain African foreign policy formation, the creation of policy remains primarily in the hands of particular leaders.

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