Article from ROAPE Volume 28 Number 88
No Democracy, No Development: Reflections on Democ/Dev in Africa
This article is a contribution to the debate on the state, democracy and economic development in Africa. It examines the process of the decline of political pluralism in Africa not long after independence, to be replaced by the omnipotent one-party state, and the rationale for this transition. It examines recent moves towards democratisation in Africa pointing to the implications for development and argues that democracy, defined as the ability of a people to control decision-making, is a sine qua non for development. Given the divide between owners of the major means of production (the ruling class who shape the destiny of the social formation) and the governing class (who are only in formal control of the state apparatus), it is argued that contrary to the neo-liberal dictate of destatization, the role of the state in economic transformation is crucial. Far from rolling back the state, state capacity needs to be strengthened and this would have to be at the expense of the proliferation of unaccountable non-governmental organisations.