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.
Cite this paper
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.
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