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The quest for good government and development in Africa: is NEPAD the answer?

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The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) states that democracy and good governance are preconditions for development. Given the fact that Black Africa is currently suffering widespread economic crisis and political disorder, how probable is it that electoral politics as it has been instituted over the last decade will lead to good government—which all, inside and outside Africa, now claim is the basis for sustainable economic growth?

On the face of it, the argument is simple: democracy should reduce the scope for conflict and make good government more likely. In turn, good government should bring about the political stability, the institutional consolidation and the operation of the rule of law that are universally seen as the necessary framework for investment. Greater investment should facilitate economic growth. Growth provides the foundations for development.

This article investigates the extent to which the political changes that have occurred in the last decade have made the possibility of good government and development more likely in Africa. It offers an analysis of why it is that the nature of politics in Africa today makes good government difficult and reconsiders the changes that have taken place in the exercise of power over the recent past.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of London and King’s College London.

Publication date: 2002-07-01

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