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Drawing on in-depth empirical research spanning a number of countries in Africa, Booth and Cammack's path-breaking book offers both an accessible overview of issues surrounding governance for development on the continent, whilst also offering a bold new alternative. In doing so, 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. Governance for Development in Africa offers a comprehensive and critical examination of the institutional barriers to economic and social progress in Africa, and makes a compelling plea for fresh policy thinking and new ways of envisioning so-called good governance.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 218 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 138 mm
'This is a both provocative and unique book about the problems facing development policies. Based on very impressive field work, it successfully challenges the dominant theoretical models that have been guiding development policies for more than a decade. The result is a new model called "governance that works", which successfully combines realism with the most advanced theoretical approaches in this field of research. This book should be read by everyone interested in international aid and development policy.' Bo Rothstein, University of Gothenburg 'Booth and Cammack ask why so many development efforts in Africa have failed and give a thought-provoking and highly policy-relevant answer to this question. Demonstrating how development is a thoroughly political process, involving collective action, they turn contemporary policy thinking on its head and pave the way for a more well-informed discussion about how progress can be achieved.' Anna Persson, University of Gothenburg 'This book has a powerful message for policymakers struggling to improve public goods provision in low-income countries. Instead of trying to change demand and supply-side relationships, they should explore the way local institutions at all levels affect the ability of people to find solutions to collective action problems - and how external interventions can support or undermine them.' Sue Unsworth, Department for International Development, UK 'Provocative and detailed, Booth and Cammack's book provides a refreshing challenge to the mainstream good-governance agenda. With new and strong empirical evidence, they highlight the fundamental collective action nature of local developmental governance, in a way that is likely to fundamentally challenge scholars, donors and policy-makers, forcing us to re-evaluate our current approaches to actors and institutions in development.' Pierre Englebert, Pomona College 'Governance for Development in Africa is a brilliant, quietly radical work that transforms the way we think about development. This slim, elegant volume distils an enormous body of original research to analyse why some African political regimes actually manage on the ground to solve problems such as reducing maternal mortality or providing clean water. By examining African governance close up, Booth and Cammack demonstrate that dysfunctional African regimes can become developmental ones: not by following the usual policy nostrums to look and act more like modern, Western governance systems, but by adapting features of their own political systems to new tasks. It is deeply realistic in its view of African governance, and yet it is one of the most optimistic views of the possibilities of development that I have seen. It is indispensable for anyone who cares about African societies, but also for theorists of development anywhere.' Ann Swidler, University of California
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