A different take on African development
Launch of blog to debate the political economy of development
Five major research programmes met at an international conference at DIIS on 30 March to discuss politics, aid and development in Africa based on research in more than fifteen African countries. The participation and eagerness for discussion was overwhelming and many important questions were left undebated. The five research programmes therefore decided to launch a joint blog as a platform for continued debate.
You are hereby invited to follow the blog – and to contribute to the debate!
Good governance versus collective action
The first issue that we would like to discuss on this new blog is “Good governance versus collective action.” We also welcome your suggestions for blog debates on other important issues facing people and governments in Africa.
|Our main point is that African countries badly need to embark on processes of economic transformation, not just growth, and they are not helped to do so by insistence on prior achievement of Good Governance, meaning adoption of the institutional ‘best practices’ that have emerged in much richer countries.
In the African modal pattern, clientelism is competitive in ways that undermine possibilities for transformation. However, there are exceptions, both at the macro level and within particular productive and social sectors. These exceptions provide fuel for fresh thinking about how to use aid to better effect in generally difficult circumstances, especially by helping sector actors to overcome the collective-action problems that prevent them moving ahead.
The research provides pointers to what the alternative, ‘good fit’, approach to development cooperation should look like. This approach would imply a fundamental shift in aid philosophy in the OECD countries, away from aid as principally a financial transfer and towards a clearer recognition of the role of institutions and the relevance of institutional change.
Twelve members of the five research programmes are ready to join the debate. We look forward to interesting and fruitful blog conversations with you.