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Traditional chiefs as institutional entrepreneurs in policymaking and implementation in Africa

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Version 2 2023-09-13, 08:10
Version 1 2023-09-13, 07:02
revised on 2023-09-13, 08:09 and posted on 2023-09-13, 08:10 authored by Salomey K.G. Afrifa, Frank L.K. Ohemeng

In recent years, the idea of policy or institutional entrepreneurs (IEs) in the policymaking process continues to gain traction in policy studies. These entrepreneurs play an essential role in the policy process by bringing resources and strategies to transform policy ideas into policy innovations and promote policy change or resistance to change (Petridou and Mintrom 2020). In the policymaking process, the capacity of entrepreneurs to use their attributes, skills, and available resources to efect change is essential (Mintrom 2019). Unfortunately, the literature on policy/IEs has been Euro-American centric. Thus, current research calls for more nuance in identifying policy or IEs not only from the European-American perspective but from other environments (Bakir and Gunduz 2020). Accordingly, this chapter looks at the role of policy entrepreneurship in Africa, looking particularly at traditional authorities (traditional chiefs – TCs) and policymaking. The TCs play meaningful governing roles and are key policy actors in policymaking and implementation. While studies show that both state and non-state actors can become institutional or policy entrepreneurs, not all non-state policy actors have equal treatment in the extant literature (Delville and Ayimpam 2018). We treat TCs as one particular set of non-state actors in Africa’s policymaking and implementation processes. This is because, as Buur and Kyed (2007, p. 2) contend, in African countries, [t]here has been expressive of a gradual resurgence and enlargement of the role of traditional authority in local governance, development, and national politics. Traditional leaders are increasingly being drawn into mainstream processes of state-building and democratization in various ways. In some cases, they now ofcially form part of bottom-up governance of some sort.

Other Information

Published in: Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa
See chapter on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This chapter is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Public Policy - HBKU

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