Since the end of the Cold War, support for democratization has become a central focus of U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, something bordering on a presumption of democracy’s and capitalism’s inevitable global reach swept up senior Clinton administration policymakers and stimulated a major rebirth of interest in democracy and democratization within the academy. In this context, fundamentally important questions about the interface between external support and domestic demand for democratization have continued to go largely unaddressed: (1) who should set the agenda; and (2) what role should external assistance play in African democratization processes. A key dimension of the thesis of this article is that failure of policymakers and academics alike to pay more attention to these questions has impeded the formation of viable processes of democratic transition and consolidation in Africa, and will continue to do so as long as they remain underaddressed. In fact, one of the crucial roles and responsibilities of those who would provide external assistance for democratization, in Africa and elsewhere, should be to encourage countries to consider seriously these agenda-setting issues in their democratization processes.