African agency: A paradox at the heart of governance
Discussion of ‘African agency’ must distinguish between the continent and specific groups of Africans, and can manifest as resistance to totalitarian power.
Assessing the extent to which Africa can act autonomously to shape its place in the world demands first determining which Africa is being talked about. Tracing the rise and fall of the governance agenda in development offers a useful perspective.
The pursuit of good governance, as defined internationally, has been central to development theory and practice since the end of the Cold War.
It values robust institutions, participatory democracy, accountability, the rule of law, and human rights – universal ‘good things’ in the eyes of many of Africa’s external partners, and foundational for state-building, stability, and pro-growth.
But the challenge is this view has not proved to be universally shared among Africans, and particularly not so by political elites because, in some places, good governance directly threatens the systems which sustain elites in power, often fuelled by patronage.
Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.
Original article link: https://www.chathamhouse.org/2022/10/african-agency-paradox-heart-governance
Latest News from
The interconnected impacts of the Iraq war28/03/2023 12:20:00
Relying on weak intelligence for invading Iraq has had a negative impact on US and UK credibility with several consequences that persist to this day.
What the IPCC report means for global action on 1.5°C23/03/2023 13:10:00
Urgent action is needed to evolve efforts to address climate change and the degradation of nature.
What two decades of Iraqi struggles can teach us about modern conflict21/03/2023 13:20:00
The shadow of this doomed invasion can be seen in the incoherent approach to other conflicts, from Libya to Syria.
The ICC response to Russia’s war gives hope for justice21/03/2023 09:20:00
The ICC’s arrest warrants against Putin and Lvova-Belova show the commission of international crimes is not without consequences.
The UK must not sleepwalk into leaving the ECHR20/03/2023 15:20:00
Talk of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) keeps rearing its head with little thought for the real impact.
SVB collapse shows interest rate financial stability threat16/03/2023 13:20:00
Governments must resist pressure to relax post-financial crisis regulation, while central banks should moderate their attack on inflation if financial stability is at risk.
UK is too tight on the money and too vague on China15/03/2023 10:10:10
The new UK Integrated Review fills gaps left by the last one but is dominated by defence. It needs more clarity on Europe, trade, and development – and more money.
How Russia’s war on Ukraine is threatening climate security06/03/2023 14:25:00
The international community needs to redouble its efforts to avert new security risks as a result of climate change.