Date & Time: Tuesday, 15 October. 6-9PM
Place: Brunei Suite, SOAS, WC1H 0XG
Speakers: Dr David Booth, Director, African Power & Politics Programme (APPP) / Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Chair: Dr Jonathan Di John, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy
‘Bad governance’, and its economic and political manifestations are often blamed for a number of Africa’s problems ranging from embezzlement of aid & corruption to slow economic growth. However, recently research centres are rethinking approaches to governance in Africa. Moving away from the premise that ‘good governance’, as conceived in wealthy post-industrial western states is a prerequisite for development, to a more nuanced understanding, taking into account local African as well as the aid donors’ perspectives.
Drawing on in-depth empirical research spanning a number of countries in Africa, Booth and Cammack offer an overview of issues surrounding governance for development on the continent. They controversially argue that externally imposed 'good governance' approaches make unrealistic assumptions about the choices leaders and officials are, in practice, able to make. As a result, reform initiatives and assistance programmes supported by donors regularly fail, while ignoring the potential for addressing the causes rather than the symptoms of this situation. In reality, the authors show, anti-developmental behaviours stem from unresolved - yet in principle soluble - 'collective-action problems'.