African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, by Nicolas Van de Walle

By Nicolas Van de Walle

This booklet explains why African international locations have remained mired in a disastrous monetary difficulty because the overdue Seventies. It indicates that dynamics inner to African kingdom constructions principally clarify this failure to beat financial problems instead of exterior pressures on those similar buildings as is frequently argued. faraway from being avoided from project reforms by way of societal curiosity and strain teams, clientelism in the nation elite, ideological elements and coffee nation skill have led to a few restricted reform, yet a lot prevarication and manipulation of the reform method, by means of governments that don't particularly think that reform could be powerful.

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Governments could also resort to obfuscation, indirection, and ambiguity to confuse and detract opposition. A good example of obfuscation often mentioned in the literature comes from countries such as Sudan and Egypt where the government chose to reduce the standard size of a loaf of subsidized bread rather than raise its price. A number of interesting African case studies chronicled efforts by states to politically manage the reform process and achieve at least partial reform. 46 45. This political dimension of the SDA remains mostly unacknowledged by the World Bank, which justifies these measures strictly for their welfare impact on populations affected by adjustment policies.

Third, state weakness and a growing antistate bias in the West has progressively awakened civil society in Africa and created the conditions for greater participation in public life. The democratization wave that hit Africa after 1989 was bound to have some impact on the logic of the system, and this is reviewed in Chapter 6. By comparing the performance of African economies before and after regime changes in the early 1990S, I show that democratization has had little impact on economic decision making, because the new democratic regimes remain governed by neopatrimonial logic.

The economic reforms demanded of governments after the oil crisis would surely prove destabilizing. ,,5 Much anecdotal evidence was adduced to confirm that in fact, economic reform amounted to political suicide for governments. In countries as varied as Morocco and Tunisia in 1984, Egypt in 1979, Zambia in 1986, and Venezuela in 1990, observers noted, government attempts to eliminate subsidies on consumption goods such as bread or gasoline had been met with massive urban unrest. 6 In Sudan, in 1984, it even led to the overthrow of the Niemiri regime.

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