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Capacity development in fragile environments in Africa has often proven to be a complex undertaking. This has largely been because of existing knowledge gaps on what…
Capacity development in fragile environments in Africa has often proven to be a complex undertaking. This has largely been because of existing knowledge gaps on what exactly causes fragility of states, the economy and society. The liberal peace development model that generally informs post‐conflict reconstruction and capacity development has a limited conception of fragility by narrowly focusing on the national dimensions of the problem, promoting donor‐driven solutions, emphasizing minimal participation of beneficiary actors in the identification and prioritization of capacity development needs, and by subcontracting the design and management of projects and programs. The resulting capacity development impact has generally been disappointing. In the absence of homegrown strategic plans, stakeholder participation and ownership, international development partners have all too often addressed capacity gaps by financing training, supply of equipment and professional exchanges of parliamentarians and parliamentary staffers. These efforts usually achieved their presumed number targets but tended to ignore addressing the larger issues of political economy within which capacity development take place. However, the recent re‐conceptualization of parliamentary capacity development as a development of nationally owned, coordinated, harmonized, and aligned development activities seems to be gaining growing attention in Africa. As the experience of Rwanda eloquently demonstrates, capacity development is essentially about politics, economics and power, institutions and incentives, habits and attitudes – factors that are only partly susceptible to technical fixes and quantitative specifications. These structural factors have to be negotiated carefully and tactfully.
There is now real optimism of the prospects of Africa reclaiming the 21st century given its recent sterling growth performance and the number of successful reforms…
There is now real optimism of the prospects of Africa reclaiming the 21st century given its recent sterling growth performance and the number of successful reforms undertaken. There have been considerable and noticeable efforts to invest in innovation, infrastructure, integration, institutions and a revamp of incentive systems to develop new values that allow for transparency, accountability and greater social inclusion. New forms of leaderships have emerged at various social levels and institutions to drive a development agenda based on peer‐learning and knowledge‐sharing. Africa, in so doing, is unearthing deep skills and the reaping low‐hanging fruits needed to speed its ambitions to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development. This broad development agenda has required Africa to adopt strategic and practical solutions to the development challenges it faces. This volume interrogates a number of issues that are crucial for the attainment of sustainable development in Africa: a responsive governance framework, the demographic transition and youth bulge, conflict and related dynamics – such as disarmament and demobilisation, capacity building in post‐conflict and fragile states, the role of donors in enhancing (or otherwise) local development efforts, the need to understand the “softer‐side” of capacity development; and above all the role of savvy and strategic leadership. Understanding these issues and beyond, by organizations like the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), will determine whether Africa will achieve its development ambitions in the very near future.
The legacy of the last 50 years of development economics is not very inspiring. In the 1960s and 1970s, instead of looking at the real causes and viable solutions to…
The legacy of the last 50 years of development economics is not very inspiring. In the 1960s and 1970s, instead of looking at the real causes and viable solutions to poverty and underdevelopment, development economics was preoccupied with the politically‐charged debate over the superiority of either state‐controlled or market systems. In the 1980s and 1990s, economists expected that globalization would come to be a panacea for all developing countries. They advocated the abandonment of traditional industries and occupations and their replacement by modern sectors modelled after or imported from the developed countries. Such policies have generally failed with few exceptions–those being countries which chose to implement their own specific policies of development. These countries skillfully combined government interventionism with market system incentives. Despite its past problems, development economics has recently evolved to better reflect the realities of developing countries. For the first time, development economics is on the verge of becoming a real social science in which analysis of traditional institutions, community life, and religious and ethnic factors is not only important but decisive in developing new social and economic growth objectives and economic policies.