International NGOs in Africa: the politics of democracy without votes

The growing presence of international NGOs (INGOs) in Africa is both a manifestation of, and a major reinforcement for, a political process which is neither democratic in the traditional sense nor authoritarian. Voting takes place, but most governments use the advantages of incumbency to ensure their regular re-election. Opposition parties with little prospect of victory have limited scope for demanding changes in governmental behaviour or policy. NGOs, in contrast, are less easily ignored.