Leadership and Statebuilding in Post-Colonial Africa:
The Case of Cameroon
Keywords:leadership, state-building, cameroon
Changing perceptions of security threats post the 9/11 attacks in the United States of America saw the advancement of the idea that international security depended upon fixing fragile states. Based on this premise, statebuilding was constructed as a viable approach to building peace. The normative frameworks associated with peacebuilding have however, gradually given way to a narrow focus on institution building as statebuilding. In pursuing this approach, it is the case that the leadership of these processes is often underemphasised. This article interrogates the impact of this dominant narrative on states that are perceived to be peaceful. By bridging scholarship on the concepts of leadership and statebuilding generally, as well as scholarship on Cameroon’s statebuilding process specifically, this article demonstrates that even for states that are not in conflict, periodic statebuilding is a useful requirement. This article departs from narrowly conceived ideas of leadership and statebuilding and brings into focus the role of leadership as a process in statebuilding practises in Africa. Based on the theoretical discussions and the empirical findings, this article demonstrates that leadership and statebuilding are mutually constitutive processes and leadership is the strongest single driver of an effective statebuilding process.