Governance and Growth Challenges for Africa

Mushtaq H. Khan

in Good Growth and Governance in Africa

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199698561
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738142 | DOI:

Series: Initiative for Policy Dialogue

Governance and Growth Challenges for Africa

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Liberal economists have argued that since the state has done much damage in Africa, the best strategy is to focus on a limited number of market-supporting governance capabilities consistent with good governance and to construct limited states that avoid “syndromes.” However, limiting the state to these tasks also means that critical capabilities to address significant market failures are not developed. Moreover, there is no evidence that substantial developmental transformations were achieved in any country simply by avoiding syndromes. Given the initial political and institutional conditions in many African countries, a Hirschmanian strategy of building very specific and limited growth-enhancing governance capabilities through experimentation and problem-solving is a more plausible way forward. African countries face different developmental challenges, but there are common market failures in acquiring technological capabilities, investing in skills, and in land markets. Developing specific governance capabilities for addressing a small number of critical market failures can potentially accelerate development.

Keywords: Africa; syndromes; market failures; Hirschmanian strategies; growth-enhancing governance capabilities

Chapter.  11720 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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