Periscope :Africa Needs Developmental States (1-3)
Africa growth and development stagnation have been multiplied by the previous and present international economic and financial crises. The result was an increase in poverty that leads in some cases to armed conflicts.
In addition the climate change and environmental degradation had major negative impacts on Africa fragile economies. When this was compounded with poor and corrupt governance, the result was catastrophic.
The 2011 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Report- UN/ECA (Governing development in Africa) - the role of the State in economic transformation have called for the need for a developmental state to address the present serious challenges facing Africa. We will examine this important Report in three parts.
The first will focus on the concept.
In its contemporary usage, the concept of the developmental state came from Chalmers Johnson (1982) who used it to describe the phenomenal growth of the Japanese economy and its rapid industrialization after the Second World War.
He argues that central to Japan’s “economic miracle” was a planned rational state”-a developmental state that was able to stimulate, as well as proactively support and promote, economic development. This interventionist state, through a planned process;
establishes clear economic and social objectives and influenced the direction and pace of economic development in the country.
The Japanese state also invested in technology and innovation as tools of economic progress. Others were to follow in Japan’s foots in the 1960s.
A developmental state may be perceived as one that “authoritatively, credibly, legitimately and in a binding manner is able to formulate and implement its policies and programme. This entails possessing developmentalist ideology that privileges industrialization, economic growth and expansion of human capabilities. Such a state also has to be able to construct and deploy the institutional architecture within the state and mobilize society towards the realization of its developmenalist project.
A developmental state is therefore defined in political, ideological and institutional terms.
Developmental states have differed in their evolution context, trajectory and manifestations. There are therefore cultural and conjectural peculiarities in the emergence and nature of developmental states around the world and so “one size fit all” cannot apply to the engineering and modeling of developmental states in Africa, as elsewhere in the world.
A developmental state has largely been identified by two major features; a developmentalist ideology; and a structure that pertains; the requisite institutions, norms and standards that can support development processes. This includes the building of political, administrative and technical capacity to support development projects. Some have characterized these two features are the ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ of development states.
By Alula Berhe Kidani,firstname.lastname@example.org, 23/07/2012