The Pros And Cons Of Liberalization In Africa

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Jeffrery Herbst and Greg Mills put forth in Africa's Third Liberation that political liberalization and a commodity boom is propelling African development. It was the fastest growing region this past decade marked by better human development figures, less intra­state conflict, and widespread democratization. These improvements are a welcome change to a region long plagued by political violence and economic stagnation.[1] However, now is not the time to pat any backs and instead we must focus on how development can be sustained, reach more people, and extend into the harder to reach areas. Conventional scholarship emphasizes that the missing feature in African progress has been the development of stronger states with better governance and more effective institutions. The…show more content…
Originating out of Middle East studies, the resource curse theory emerged as an explanation as to why so many resource abundant states have generally been more unstable, undemocratic, and unable to achieve strong economic growth. Established with oil rich states in mind, the theory has broadened to other types of rents that shared similar properties and effects including minerals and even aid. But why would something so seemingly advantageous such as oil/mineral wealth or aid cause so many problems? Essentially, because such resources can generate massive quantities of wealth, typically controlled by the state, with little labor required; inequality and corruption increase, institutional capacity erodes, democratic pressures are sublimated, and rent seeking activities arise. Aid to Africa post­independence accordingly had little benefit and was often counter­productive. Academics have long argued the missing ingredient in Africa is a strong, effective

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