A Democratic Developmental State in Africa?

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Research Report 105
May 2005

CENTRE FOR POLICY STUDIES

Committed to independent policy research

A Democratic Developmental State in Africa?
A concept paper
By

Omano Edigheji

Research report

A Democratic Developmental State in Africa?
A concept paper

Omano Edigheji

Centre for Policy Studies
Johannesburg
May 2005

This paper forms part of the CPS ‘State Series’

The Centre for Policy Studies is an independent research institution, incorporated as an association not for gain under Section 21 of the

Companies Act.

The Ford Foundation generously provided the funding for this research work. However, the views expressed in this report are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ford Foundation.

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This Concept Paper forms part of a larger project on ‘The role of the State in Africa’. This project is funded by the Ford Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa, whose generous support and foresight we gratefully acknowledge.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.

INTRODUCTION

1

2.

THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: TOWARDS THE DEMOCRATIC

2

DEVELOPMENTAL STATE IN AFRICA
3.

THE POLITICAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL TRAJECTORIES OF AFRICA SINCE 1960

13

4.

CONCLUSION

18

1.

INTRODUCTION

The history of the post-independent African state is that of monumental democratic and developmental failures. The few exceptions to this have been Botswana and Mauritius, and to a degree, democratic South Africa. After almost four and a half decades of independence, most countries on the continent are characterised by underdevelopment. The evidence for this state of underdevelopment can be found in any social and economic indicators one cares to examine.

At the economic level, Africa has been marked by:


the dominance of the primary sector – agriculture, oil and minerals - partly as a result of the inability of the African state to foster an environment for high valueadded economic activities



low domestic capital formation and declining direct foreign investment



foreign aid dependence



heavy indebtedness



high unemployment and the informalisation of the economies where the majority of its people live in poverty.

Consequently, at the beginning of the 21st century, Africa is unable to compete in the global economy. In fact, its marginalisation has been reinforced, particularly since the 1980s. In the same vein, the majority of African countries lack basic social and physical infrastructure. As a result, most people on the continent have no access to basic services such as potable water, electricity, good sanitation, roads and healthcare. All of this is coupled with a high illiteracy rate, especially among women. The lack of access to basic medical care occurs against a backdrop of ravaging diseases; a situation which has become exacerbated with the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The continent accounts for about 70 % of all HIV-infected persons and AIDS-related deaths in the world. All of this is against the backdrop of the absence of a social safety net to cushion the effects of the harsh socioeconomic realities experienced by most Africans. The state of underdevelopment has been reinforced by authoritarianism, political instability, ethnic and religious conflicts and civil wars. Since attaining their independence, most African countries have been plagued by some form of political conflict. This has included the civil wars in Nigeria in the 1960s, Liberia in the 1990s, the Ivory Coast in the 2000s, Angola for most of its post-independence period, the crisis in the horn of Africa (including the current civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the...
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