Poverty and Governance—A Critical Appraisal of a Philosophy and Practice of Development in Africa


The European postcolonial literature and global discourse about development concerns in Africa have witnessed a dominance of a development theory which has failed to capture the true aspirations, values and authentic problems of development confronting the people of Africa. This pro- western European theoretical framework bars African culture and values from being factored as motives, dynamics and outcomes that drive development on the continent. This absence has led to the flaunting of theories of development which favors and recommends the Breton Wood-inspired World Bank solutions/approaches to fast tracking development plans and goals in the continent. At the heart of the failure of these externally imposed prescriptions is the irreconcilability of the prospect of its resultant economic growth indicators and the production of measurable development outcomes in the lives of the people. Gross domestic product rate results in growth patterns which post impressive economic statistics; but the reality on the ground shows that there is wor- sening destitution and deepening poverty in household incomes, purchasing power parity and deliverables. Economic policies, engineered by good governance, lead to better management of state resources, production of pro-poor and pro-people outcomes which results in a better standard of living for the people. Bad governance has been a consistent leading contributor to increasing poverty and underdevelopment in the African continent. To reverse this scenario, there is a need to re-evaluate the conceptual framework and philosophy of development theory in post colonial Africa so as to achieve poverty reduction and good governance in the context of our cultural milieu. This re-evaluation would enable governance and the leadership to experience a shift in development paradigm that will empower development policy in Africa. My paper will therefore explore the content of this new framework and draw out its dialectical relationships and implications leading to recommendations for a new African perspective on development that will benefit Africans. These are emerging critical challenges that will definitely change the tenor and content of academic discourse as conceived in the philosophy of development and political economy. Development scholars, political scientists and philosophers will be compelled to re-examine the way African leaders and the so-called western consultants to Africa conceive development and underdevelopment concerns in the continent. Development is about people, so any theory or model of development should be a dialectical mirror of the way of life of a people, in an aspirational, sociological, political and technological terms and for the achievement of measureable results.

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Casimir, A. , Omeh, E. and Ike, C. (2014) Poverty and Governance—A Critical Appraisal of a Philosophy and Practice of Development in Africa. Open Journal of Political Science, 4, 164-179. doi: 10.4236/ojps.2014.43018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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