The Failure of Governance in Africa

On January 18, 1908, Winston Churchill confessed to the National Liberal Club, London that he had never seen countries so fertile and beautiful outside of Europe as those of East Africa. “There are parts of the East African Protectorate which in their beauty, in the coolness of the air, in the richness of the soil, in their verdure, in the abundance of running water, in their fertility-parts which absolutely surpass any of the countries which I have mentioned, and challenge comparison with the fairest regions of England, France, or Italy. I have seen in Uganda a country which from end to end is a garden-inexhaustible, irrepressible, and exhuberant fertility upon every side, and I cannot doubt that the great system of lakes and waterways, which you cannot fail to observe if you look at a large map of Africa, must one day become the great centre of tropical production, and play a most important part in the economic development of the whole world.”

The system of comparative advantage has condemned the continent to the production of low value commodity exports. In the process, Sub-Saharan Africa has been excluded from industrialization which is essential in combating poverty and its negative offshoots. Development programmes since the 1950s have largely bypassed the poorest and the most needy Africans.

The new wave of democratization has yet to deliver on transparency, accountability, broad participation, empowerment especially of women and political stability and security. Meanwhile, corruption, greed, nepotism and inequality have gained momentum. What must be done?

The African leadership must rethink the development policies, strategies and programmes, in collaboration with the African people, who know their economic and social development needs best. These efforts should be supported, not initiated, by the international community. The leadership must also strive to create an enabling political environment essential for equitable, sustained and sustainable development. The removal of economic and politicsal obstacles should enable African countries to develop their vast potential and the African people to escape from poverty.

Publisher: Eric Kashambuzi; Pub. Date: 2003; Format: Paperback, 147pp
ISBN: 0974044504