Africa Development Books

I’ve attended two books launches in the last few weeks both concerning development in Africa or sadly the serious lack of development. The reasons are simple; an abuse of position and power within the state leading to conflict or bad governance; and poor development policies and/or the selfish influence of Western power through corporations or the state leading to bribery, the sales of arms and resources exploitation.

The answers are of course far from easy and so in that sense, the two books explained and debated at the launches point out the easy part. That said, its a start and they both do highlight the intricacies and complicities of the ‘simple’ difficulties. There is now constant debate and conjecture within development circles by economists, critical theorists and development practitioners over the best model for development and ultimately they fails on their implementation as they lack the will.

I have yet to see an international development policy that has succeeded since the days of massive state investment policies, protectionist export development and a dominant state model lifted East Asia out of poverty. Without massive resources, a paternal state and protectionism, I can’t name a single example of a state moving from third to second world, let alone to first world. Yet under neo-colonial history, neo-liberal economics and the overriding and often ill-placed human rights framework, states at the bottom will remain there.

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