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Going with the Grain in African Development?

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  • Tim Kelsall

Abstract

In view of the disappointing performance of the Good Governance agenda in Africa, policy-makers are asking whether better results could be obtained with approaches that attempt to 'work with the grain' of African societies. This article explores what this might mean. It identifies a core set of beliefs and values - concerning power, accountability and social morality - that have proved extremely durable and remain powerful drivers of behaviour across sub-Saharan Africa. It finds that, in general, Western institutions sit ill with these traditions. The question is, therefore, how to redirect development efforts so that they stop working against, and start to build upon, the extant notions of moral obligation and interpersonal accountability in the region. Copyright (c) The Author 2008. Journal compilation (c) 2008 Overseas Development Institute..

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Kelsall, 2008. "Going with the Grain in African Development?," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 26(6), pages 627-655, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devpol:v:26:y:2008:i:6:p:627-655
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyamusugulwa, Patrick M. & Hilhorst, Dorothea, 2015. "Power Holders and Social Dynamics of Participatory Development and Reconstruction: Cases from the Democratic Republic of Congo," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 249-259.
    2. Roseth, Benjamin & Srivastava, Vivek, 2013. "Engaging for results in civil service reforms : early lessons from a problem-driven engagement in Sierra Leone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6458, The World Bank.

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