No Shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective

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No Shortcuts to Progress: African Development Management in Perspective

By Goran Hyden
University of California Press, 1983
223 pp. $35.00

The Ford Foundation representative in Nairobi takes a hard look at the obstructions to African economic development. Hyden emphasizes the difficulties of achieving economic growth in a still largely peasant society where family and clan ties still largely supersede the profit motive. In his view, Africa's economic development will only come with the growth of a genuine (i.e., profit-oriented) bourgeoisie, generated through the emergence of markets and the breakdown of the peasant "economy of affection." He advocates that aid be channeled through nongovernmental organizations and invested in infrastructure and the alleviation of poverty, not in governmental projects serving mainly to bolster the current system of narrowly focused government patronage. His prescription is not clearly enough laid out, however, to show how it would avoid what he sees as the main pitfall besetting development assistance-the further distortion of administrative systems increasingly irrelevant to the needs of most of their nominal subjects.

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