Revision with unchanged content. Against all odds and in defiance of most specialists’ gloomy forecast, the worldwide “Third wave” of democratizations reached the shores of Africa, particularly the “Francophone” West Africa region in the 1980’s. The research question that the present project intends to explore is to first determine the causes of the long survival of authoritarian rule in post-colonial Francophone West Africa. The answer to that question should enlighten us on the related causes of the democratic transitions under way in the region. The book brings new eyes in the application of democratic transitions theories to “Francophone“ Africa. It builds on the “neo-patrimonial” framework provided by the pioneering work of Michael Bratton and Nicholas Van De Walle (1997) to give a systematic account of the dynamic outcomes of regime transition in the region from the 1980’s through the early twenty-first century. In the process, it refines the hypothesis of the link between “democratic transition” and “neo-patrimonialism”, and takes stock of the literature on “democratic transition”. It is directed towards Comparative Politics researchers, students of democratic transitions, and specialists of Francophone Africa.