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Coups d’état occurred in four Sub-Saharan countries in 2021. The return of a series of military takeovers in Africa undermines the use of multiparty elections as the only legitimate way to gain political office. This appears to be part of a broader process of ‘autocratisation’ that, in recent years, has been observed in several countries and regions across the globe.

Army interventions in Sudan, Mali, Guinea and Chad reveal that Africa is not being spared by such negative trends, highlight the fragility of democratisation processes in the Sub-Saharan region, and ultimately call for the West to monitor as well as discourage this kind of political developments.

This dossier aims to investigate the circumstances, the meaning, and the implications of the four coups that took place in sub-Saharan Africa during 2021. What do they signal for the long-term trajectory of African politics? What is the likely political evolution, more specifically, in the countries where military officers grabbed power? To what extent should we interpret the recent coups as part of a worldwide trend towards a return of autocracies? And where does the international community stand in this scenario?


The New Military Wave in Africa: Could It Turn Into a Tide?

Giovanni Carbone

ISPI and University of Milan


Just another coup in Sudan?

Sara de Simone
University of Trento

A Crucial Moment in Chad’s Transition

Daniel Eizenga

Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Anna Schmauder and Johannes Claes

Clingendael Institute


The Longitudinal Trend of Coups in Sub-Saharan Africa

Alessandro Pellegata

University of Milan


Africa’s Coups and the Role of External Actors

Joseph Siegle

Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Edited by

Giovanni Carbone, Head, ISPI Africa Programme
Lucia Ragazzi, Research Fellow, ISPI Africa Programme

ISPI - Italian Institute for International Political Studies


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