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By Claude Ake

Regardless of 3 many years of preoccupations with improvement in Africa, the economies of such a lot African countries are still-stagnating or regressing.

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Extra resources for Democracy and Development in Africa

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4 In that passage one finds the awareness that gives urgency to the democracy movement in Africa: the notion that Africa's economic problems are rooted in its politics and that a democratic revolution is needed to beat the crisis of underdevelopment. Africans are seeking democracy as a matter of survival; they believe that there are no alternatives to this quest, that they have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain. This awareness has grown in recent years as it has become more and more obvious that neither the indigenous political elites nor the multilateral development agencies are capable of dealing with the African crisis.

By all indications, despite the brave talk about forging ahead through a sea of problems, most African leaders are demoralized. But development is a historical enterprise that requires high seriousness and enormous self-confidence, qualities extremely difficult to attain in Africa's present circumstances. This confidence will not be created by posturing against former colonial masters or by verbal exhortations. It will require something more tangible, especially increasing capabilities and concrete achievement.

The development paradigm and African development strategies have assumed that the so-called modern sectorthe state and its apparatusis not much different from what it is in the West. The differences are purely subjective factors such as the inefficiency, corruption, and parochialism of officials and the authoritarianism of leaders, differences that could be reconciled eventually by the logic of capitalism. The similarities are more apparent than real, however. The state in Africa has been a maze of antinomies of form and content: the person who holds office may not exercise its powers, the person who exercises the powers of a given office may not be its holder, informal relations often override formal relations, the formal hierarchies of bureaucratic structure and political power are not always the clue to decisionmaking power.

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