Governance, trade and statehood in Africa
‘The main reason why Africa’s people are poor is because their leaders have made this choice.’ This is the opening sentence in a recent book about poverty in Africa and what to do about it. The author argues, in a nutshell, that only political and institutional reforms will unlock Africa’s potential in human and natural resources to bring about development, opportunities and hope.
This is not a new message. International institutions and commentators have been arguing for years that African nations have to reform their government institutions and policy procedures in order to be able to tackle poverty and under-development. Better trade governance is, for example, key to reaping the developmental benefits of trade liberalisation.
Many African voices have echoed the same message about better governance, mostly with the more urgent plea for democratic rule at home and respect for human rights. Why then is it not happening – or at least not on a sufficient scale?
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