Africa's development prospects depend heavily on how well the region manages its natural resource wealth. The challenge is not simply to achieve economic growth, but to achieve development that can be sustained beyond the current global boom in mineral and oil prices. Africa's resource economies must "sustain the unsustainable," using the depletion of non-renewable resources to initiate development that can be sustained -- economically, socially, and environmentally -- after those resources have been exhausted. This research will investigate how political institutions in Africa's resource-rich economies affect development and its sustainability. Do democracies perform better or worse than non-democracies? Do competitive party systems perform better or worse than dominant-party systems? The dissertation will employ "nested analysis," combining cross-national quantitative analysis with four qualitative country studies: Zambia, Ghana, Mozambique and Namibia. The cross-country patterns offer an opportunity for the study to be more generalizable across countries and less susceptible to biases based on the idiosyncrasies of individual countries, while the chapter-length country studies provide an opportunity to analyse within-case trends and causal processes. The focus of the case studies is mainly on differences in sustainable development among competitive and dominant democracies. That is, what is it about democracies that leads to different sustainable development outcomes? The major differences among democracies and non-democracies will be examined in the statistical analysis. Most of the research will be conducted at the University of the Witwatersrand, with short field visits (approximately four weeks) to each case to study documents that are not easily accessible as well as to conduct expert and official interviews.