Africa’s Elusive Quest for Development by M. Houngnikpo

By M. Houngnikpo

Matt Houngnikpo examines how household clash, fiscal stagnation, political instability, poverty and underdevelopment have plagued Africa for many years. He argues reversal of the political, financial and social plight of Africa lies in higher guidelines, reliable governance, and, extra importantly, a brand new form of African chief and citizen.

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However, 38 AFRICA’S ELUSIVE QUEST FOR DEVELOPMENT whether what is being promoted is a genuine democracy or national interest wrapped in democracy remains controversial. 10 Both donor and recipient countries appeal to democracy, hoping that democratization will reverse several decades of misfortune. ”11 By adopting the refrain of democracy as a prerequisite for their help or assistance to Third World countries, both donor nations and multilateral financial institutions seek better control over political and economic systems of the so-called developing nations.

Although there is room for cautious optimism, the realities of Africa’s political conundrum and economic plight, coupled with foreign powers’ interests on the continent, might undermine democratic efforts in Africa. After several decades of mismanagement, corruption, and a leadership lacking both vision and compass, Africa finally embarked on a democratic path in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thanks to civil society’s resilience, but most importantly to the military’s cooperation, one-party regimes had to relax their grip on power.

Africans have long taken to the streets to demand more freedom and flexibility in choosing their leaders. A few years after independence, Africans started challenging their leaders. After the heady days of anticolonial mobilization, demonstrations and demands, Africans expected uhuru14 to deliver democracy, prosperity, and self-rule. The expectation of a new virtuous African leader, committed to collective betterment failed to materialize. However, the resentment of postindependence autocratic and corrupt regimes took a milder form, with the hope that the tendency to seek consensus a prevalent feature in African societies, would help open a dialogue.

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