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Business, politics and the state in Africa: challenging the orthodoxies - David Booth

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David Booth, Director, Africa Power and Politics Program (APPP), gives this talk titled 'Business, politics and the state in Africa: challenging the orthodoxies' at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy on 24 May 2013.Having achieved historically unprecedented economic growth over recent years, African countries now face the challenge of structurally transforming their economies. However, the politics of how to do this remains controversial. The standard international advice on good governance and the adoption of a 'golden thread' of sound institutions is not supported by historical and comparative evidence.The key thing is not getting the right institutions but having a political settlement that allows economic rents to be harnessed to development purposes rather than used to cement a pragmatic bargain among ethically or otherwise divided elites. In view of the likely predominance in Africa of competitively clientelistic trajectories, attention should be focused on creative ways of mitigating their negative implications for economic transformation.These are among the headline findings of Africa Power and Politics Program (APPP) a five-year research program led by ODI with research teams in Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and partners in the US and France.David Booth was Director of APPP during 2007-12 and now coordinates a follow-on project on Initiating and Sustaining Developmental Regimes in Africa. Before joining ODI in 1998, he was Professor of Development Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea. He was also a managing editor of the Journal of Development Studies and Development Policy Review.This lecture is presented by the Development Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.

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