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Between 1989 and 1994, almost all of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa underwent significant political reform, including in many cases the first competitive elections in a generation. How can this wave of political liberalization be explained? Why did some countries complete a democratic transition, while others could not sustain more than limited political reform and others still suffered authoritarian reversals? What are the long term prospects for democracy in Africa? This study constitutes the first comprehensive analysis of democratic transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa.