Management of ethnocultural diversity in Africa: challenges and socio-economic consequences

  • Dieu Ne Dort Talla Fokam Dschang School of Economics and Management, University of Dschang, Cameroon
Keywords: ethnic diversity, linguistic diversity, religious diversity, economic development


This paper analyzes the challenges and socio-economic consequences of managing ethnocultural diversity in Africa. Results show that the challenges of managing ethnocultural diversity in Africa are primarily historical and political. The economic implications of managing ethnocultural diversity are positive when government policies are participatory and inclusive. However, when the management of diversity leads to identitarian closure, the consequences are negative and range from popular uprisings to conflicts. As a recommendation, the governments of African countries should study the nature of their diversity and develop inclusive and equitable public policies that take into account the interests of all identity groups. Respect for the Constitution and democratic rules is also an asset for effective management of ethnocultural diversity.


[1] Ager, Philipp and Markus Brückner. 2013. “Cultural Diversity and Economic Growth: Evidence from the US during the Age of Mass Migration.” European Economic Review 64:76–97.
[2] Alesina, Alberto, Arnaud Devleeschauwer, William Easterly, Sergio Kurlat, and Romain Wacziarg. 2003. “Fractionalization.” Journal of Economic Growth 8(2):155–94.
[3] Alesina, Alberto and Eliana La Ferrara. 2005. “Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance.” Journal of Economic Literature 43(3):762–800.
[4] Anderson, Liam D. 2013. Federal Solutions to Ethnic Problems: Accommodating Diversity. New York: Routledge.
[5] Barron, Patrick, Kai Kaiser, and Menno Pradhan. 2009. “Understanding Variations in Local Conflict: Evidence and Implications from Indonesia.” World Development 37(3):698–713.
[6] Bayart, Jean-François. 2015. “Religion et Politique En Afrique.” In: Etudes Africaines Comparées. - No 1(2015), p. 1-23.
[7] Berghe, Pierre L. Van den. 1967. Race and Racism: A Comparative Perspective. Wiley.
[8] Besley, Timothy and Marta Reynal-Querol. 2014. “The Legacy of Historical Conflict: Evidence from Africa.” American Political Science Review 108(2):319–36.
[9] Bleaney, Michael and Arcangelo Dimico. 2017. “Ethnic Diversity and Conflict.” Journal of Institutional Economics 13(2):357–78.
[10] Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War." Oxford Economic Papers 50(4):563–73.
[11] Commercio, Michele E. 2011. Russian Minority Politics in Post-Soviet Latvia and Kyrgyzstan, The Transformative Power of Informal Networks. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
[12] Cornell, Svante E. 2002. “Autonomy as a Source of Conflict: Caucasian Conflicts in Theoretical Perspective.” World Politics 54(2):245–76.
[13] Dembinska, Magdalena, László Máracz, and Márton Tonk. 2014. “Introduction to the Special Section: Minority Politics and the Territoriality Principle in Europe.” Nationalities Papers 42(3):355–75.
[14] Deng, Francis. 2009. Identity, Diversity, and Constitutionalism in Africa. Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
[15] Easterly, William and Ross Levine. 1997. “Africa’s Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 112(4):1203–50.
[16] ECA. 2011. “Diversity Management in Africa: Findings from the African Peer Review Mechanism and a Framework for Analysis and Policy-Making”: Report. report. UN. ECA. Addis Ababa: ECA.
[17] ECA. 2013. African Governance Report III : Elections and the Management of Diversity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[18] Laitin, David D. 1994. “The Tower of Babel as a Coordination Game: Political Linguistics in Ghana.” The American Political Science Review 88(3):622–34.
[19] Lewis, M. Paul, ed. 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th Edition. 16th edition. Dallas, Tex: SIL International.
[20] Malloy, Tove H. 2005. National Minority Rights in Europe. Oxford University Press.
[21] Montalvo, José G. and Marta Reynal-Querol. 2005. “Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars.” American Economic Review 95(3):796–816.
[22] Olukoshi, Abedayo and Liisa Laakso, eds. 1996. Challenges to the Nation-State in Africa. Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute.
[23] Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., and Giovanni Peri. 2006. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities." Journal of Economic Geography 6(1):9–44.
[24] Smooha, Sammy. 2002. “The Model of Ethnic Democracy: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State.” Nations and Nationalism 8(4):475–503.
[25] Snyder, Jack L. 2000. From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
[26] United Nations Development Programme. 2004. Human Development Report 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World. New York: Oxford University Press.
[27] Wimmer, A., L. E. Cederman, and B. Min. 2009. “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis of a New Global Data Set.” American Sociological Review 74(2):316–37.
[28] Wimmer, Andreas. 1997. “Who Owns the State? Understanding Ethnic Conflict in Post-Colonial Societies.” Nations and Nationalism 3(4):631–66.
How to Cite
Fokam, D. N. D. T. (2019). Management of ethnocultural diversity in Africa: challenges and socio-economic consequences. Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, 17(1), 57-64. Retrieved from