Analysis of the paralysis of government leadership in sub-Saharan Africa

Robert Dibie, Josephine Dibie


This article examines the nature of the paralysis of public governance, leadership, conflict and economic development in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that ineffective political leadership and conflict will serve as a lever to poor economic growth and social development. Servant leadership and democratic representation are the continuous process of development that could be accomplished through the participation of the citizens in their own development. The dynamics of development and participation at both national and grassroots levels must involve the exposure of government change agents to peace, participatory learning and action models. The article uses data derived from primary and secondary sources to analyse the problem of political conflict, peace, leadership and economic growth. The conceptual framework is based on the structural conflict theory, negative and positive peace theories, frustration-aggression theory, physiological theories, human needs theory and economic theories. The findings show that there is a negative correlation between authoritarian political leadership and economic growth in Africa. In addition, there is a positive relationship between authoritarian political leadership and conflict in several countries in Africa. The article recommends internal and external mediation and peace education mechanisms to prevent conflict from escalating or degenerating into avoidable crises. Thus, government, private sector and nongovernmental organisations should collaborate to restore justice and equality by liberating citizens from cultural, and ethnic elements that subjugate them. The nations in sub-Saharan Africa need to establish capacity-building initiatives that could help to nurture changes in behaviour, attitudes, peace and humanist paradigm, as well as offer not only the basis for self-reliance, participatory sustainable development, but also a means to peaceful shared governance and inclusive democracy.


Public Governance; Economic Development; Conflict; Leadership; Democratic Representation; Service Delivery

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Submitted: 28 April 2017
Published: 18 September 2017

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Africa’s Public Service Delivery and Performance Review    |    ISSN: 2310-2195 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2310-2152 (ONLINE)