In a bold attempt to develop an invative theory of political change arising from dual ecomic and political transformations, Iheduru maintains that ecomic structural adjustment policies have unintended political consequences, leading to democratic liberalization in post-colonial African states. Using classical, dependency, and neoliberal approaches as a backdrop, he demonstrates that structural adjustment policies shaped by conditionality measures foster the operation of free-enterprise market forces. As a social consequence of the reform effort, winners and losers organize to protect their interests, first in the ecomy and later in the political arena. Thus the structural reorientation of African ecomies leads t only to the ascendancy of the market and ecomic growth but also to the political opening of the African state, thereby facilitating the participation of excluded groups. In conclusion, Iheduru predicts that structural adjustment is the best policy alternative for initiating and sustaining meaningful ecomic changes in Africa. Moreover, he claims, it may be a deciding factor in the possible democratizing of the African continent, which would provide an auspicious atmosphere for a properly functioning market ecomy.
OBIOMA M. IHEDURU is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fort Valley State University./e His research interests include economic and development policy, comparative political economy, public management, and privatization and democratization with a regional focus on Nigeria and Africa.