Original Research

Over 50 years of African statehood: Locating a new narrative for African development challenges

Paul-Sewa Thovoethin, Jobson O. Ewalefoh
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 7, No 1 | a253 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v7i1.253 | © 2019 Paul-Sewa Thovoethin, Jobson O. Ewalefoh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 November 2018 | Published: 29 July 2019

About the author(s)

Paul-Sewa Thovoethin, Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Ojo Campus, Lagos, Nigeria
Jobson O. Ewalefoh, Department of Development Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Africa remains one of the least developed continents in the world. What remains debatable is how countries on the continent find themselves in this situation after more than 50 years of independence for most of them.

Aim: This article attempts to join the debate on the crisis of development in Africa by first taking a clear departure from the common narrative of linking Africa’s development challenges largely to exogenous factors. It critically examines how to build African states’ capacity for development by first addressing prevailing politics of ‘clientelism’, ‘prebendalism’ and ‘neo-patrimonialism’ in Africa.

Setting: The article holds strongly that impacts of exogenous factors have been over-romanticised and therefore there is a need to take a deeper look at how most African countries at the moment find themselves in their precarious situation.

Methods: The study is qualitative in nature and relies on secondary sources of data.

Results: The article locates the crisis of development in Africa within the context of the failure of African states to intervene in the process of development, which incidentally is a product of the lack of commitment to development by African political elites as well as an absence of the capacity for development by techno-bureaucratic institutions.

Conclusion: The main ingredient in enhancing development of Africa is competent, meritocratic and ‘result-oriented’ techno-bureaucratic governance. Thus, for effective techno-bureaucratic governance that would generate development, commitment of state actors and capacity of the state itself are important.


Leadership; corruption; statehood; development; technocrats.


Total abstract views: 2583
Total article views: 4063

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.