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Development, Democracy & Cohesion

Development, Democracy & Cohesion

About the Book


Development is not just an economic issue or improvements in GDP and household incomes; it is also about social protection and how power and social differences are organised and managed for the benefit of all. With insights on Sierra Leone and wider Africa contexts, the 45 essays in this volume throw light on the challenges of building developmental, democratic and cohesive states and societies. Written in accessible prose, it targets the general reader and draws on a rich body of development research and policy analysis spanning more than 40 years. Issues as diverse as poverty, inequality, employment, natural resource governance, social policy, financing development, state reform, gendered development, Ebola, female circumcision, electoral politics, the Arab Spring, ethnicity, civil war and security are treated with fresh and engaging insights.


Available from August 7, 2015 from: 

African Books Collective: www.africanbookscollective.com




About the Author


Yusuf Bangura teaches international political economy at the Department of Political Science, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He previously coordinated research at the UN Research Institute for Social Development (1990-2012), and was the lead author of the Institute?s flagship report Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics (2010).  He is the Series Editor of Development Pathways to Poverty Reduction (Palgrave and UNRISD).




Introduction :


The Challenge of Building Developmental, Democratic and Cohesive States and Societies



Part I: The Development Challenge



Who Defines, Who Pushes, and Who Funds Research Agendas in the South?



When do Democracies Deliver Economic Growth and Redistribution?



Politics of Poverty Eradication Strategies



Understanding Poverty from a Perspective of Policy Regimes



Jobs and Equity Key to Africa?s Poverty Fight



Inequality and the Politics of Redistribution



State Capacity for Economic Development and Well-being



Revenue Bargains Key to Financing Africa?s Development



Policy Dialogue and Gendered Development



Why Nigeria?s Democracy Does not Work for the Poor



Sierra Leone at 50: Confronting Old Problems and Preparing for New Challenges



Resource Wealth and Development



Street Traders and State Power



Spectre of Ebola Protectionism



Sierra Leone?s Traditional Bondo Female Society Under Siege: A Case for Reform



Reforming the Traditional Bondo Female Society: A Reply to Critics



Part II: Democratic Politics



Economic Policy Making and Democratic Accountability



Reflections on Recent Patterns of Political Development in Africa



Elections and the Transfer of Power: Lessons from Ghana



The International Monitoring of Elections in Africa



The 1996 Elections and Peace in Sierra Leone



Dark Clouds on the Horizon? Reflections on the SLPP Convention of 2011



Further Comments on the SLPP Convention of 2011



Thoughts on Sierra Leone?s 2012 Presidential Elections



Lopsided Bipolarity: Lessons from Sierra Leone?s 2012 Elections



Unelected Party Leaders and the Supremacy of Parliament



The Electoral College and Representation: Right Direction, Wrong Track



The Will of the People Transcends the Will of Parties in Presidential Democracies



People Power Shames Qaddafi?s Appeasers



The Arab Spring, Democracy and Well-Being



Part III: Cohesion and Security



Managing Ethnic Diversity and Inequality in a Development Context



Racism, Citizenship and Social Justice



Ten Theses on Ethnicity and National Unity in Sierra Leone



Building a United and Cohesive Society



Ethno-Regional Divide and National Cohesion: Five Proposals for Constitutional Reform



Why a Government of National Unity will not be good for Zimbabwe



Rebuilding Cote d?Ivoire: Lessons from Sierra Leone



The Case for a Nigerian-led ECOMOG Force in Sierra Leone



The Tragedy of the Lomé Accord and the Way Forward




An Outline of a Policy Framework for Military Security in Sierra Leone



The Liberia Dilemma: A Comparative Perspective



The Pitfalls of Recolonisation



The Case for a Pan-African Intervention Force in the Great Lakes Region of Africa



Comments on Regional Security and the War in Congo



Security Sector Reform Needs Inclusive Politics and Jobs for the Poor





?With its wide range of engaging topics and depth of wisdom, this book is an indispensable gem for scholars, policy makers, and all those who want to get their fingers on the pulse of the continent and contribute to its positive transformation?.

Ismail Rashid, Professor of History, Vasaar College, USA.


?Bangura has put down a marker for all those involved in Sierra Leone?s and by implication Africa?s development. This is compulsory reading for academics, administrators and those who seek political offices in Africa?.

Alfred Zack-Williams, Emeritus Professor, University of Central Lancashire.


?Amid his engagement with complexity, Bangura?s writing has a remarkable clarity and insight which makes this a book that can be read by anyone, but should be read by policy makers?.

Kate Meagher, Associate Professor, London School of Economics.


?The major strength of this book lies in its ability to combine deeply insightful socio-political analysis with innovative policy alternatives and presenting these in a highly accessible manner?.

Zenebework Tadesse,  Former President of CODESRIA


?This book is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand the political, social and economic forces at play in Sierra Leone, and the reasons for the consistent failure to break out of the low income trap?.

Herbert M?cleod, Country Director, International Growth Centre, Sierra Leone.


?You are unlikely to find a more thorough, comprehensive and open-minded account of Africa?s development challenge?.

Franklyn Lisk, Professorial Research Fellow, University of Warwick.


?Yusuf Bangura has given us a rare insight into his thoughts on a wide range of issues touching on the very existence of the post-colonial African and has done so in a coherent manner and a level of critical analysis that will make this book a must read not only for development experts but also for the general reader who is interested in issues of development, democracy, and social cohesion in contemporary Africa?.

Peter A. Dumbuya, Professor of History, Fort Valley State University, USA.


?Yusuf Bangura?s book is a magnificent collection on the travails of the African state, but more importantly, an exposition on analytical perspectives leading to policy choices for state econstruction. The three challenges he examines, development, democracy and cohesion, are indeed the entry points for policies that can place Africa on the path to building a better society.?

Jibrin Ibrahim, Professor of Political Science, Babcock University, Ilishan, Nigeria; and former Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja, Nigeria.


?Yusuf Bangura sheds light on the challenges? that confront Sierra Leone and other African countries in building state-society configurations that are developmental, democratic and socially cohesive in a globalised world that reinforces underdevelopment and inequality.?

Shahra Razavi, Chief Research and Data Section, UN Women, New York.


?This is an excellent collection not only on Yusuf Bangura's thought but on radical UN thinking as manifested in the UNRISD research programme. It is also a highly valuable contribution to the Sierra Leone debate in a period of particular agony?.

Bjorn Beckman, Bjorn Beckman, Emeritus Professor, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University.





This rich collection brings together in one volume, 45 essays on politics, economy and society in Africa written during a period of immense and continuing change both on the continent and in the wider international system in which it is evolving. Produced between 1993 and 2015, they offer carefully considered insights on some of the key political, economic and social policies and processes that have combined to shape contemporary Africa as we know and experience it. On the continent itself, these policies and processes, as well as the political economy underpinning them have, most notably, included the ubiquitous one-size-fits-all International Monetary Fund and World Bank structural adjustment programmes that defined socio-economic policy making across Africa from the early 1980s through to the end of the 1990s and beyond, the popular pressures which built up for politico-governance reform that spread throughout the continent from the early 1990s, the end of official apartheid in South Africa, and the breakdown of central governmental authority in several countries that translated into devastating intra-state wars, some with genocidal dimensions. Globally, it was also the period when the old East-West Cold War came to an end along with the demise of the Soviet Union and Soviet communism, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc of countries allied to the Soviet Union in the defunct Warsaw Pact. Much policy attention was also beginning to be focused on the new phase of globalisation which a fast-paced revolution in information and communication technologies was helping to underwrite on the back of major drives towards rapid global trade, investment and financial liberalisation.


The range, dimensions and speed of the changes that were witnessed in virtually all spheres of life in Africa and globally during the 1990s into the new millennium, and the complex inter-connections linking them to one another, were daunting enough in their own right to be easily or fully digested by scholars and citizens interested in making sense of them. They were made even more difficult to grasp for many because they challenged most of our inherited frames of analyses and defied much of what the theories we had learnt to use taught us to expect. In Gramscian terms, we were witnesses to a period in which old certainties and paradigms were being rapidly eroded even as new ones were yet to be fully forged and tested. For many a commentator looking at the African world during the 1990s, it was easy either simply to adopt an "Afro-pessimist" frame of mind, slip into a conscience-soothing charity-making role, take refuge behind arguments for a recolonisation of the continent, or opt for easy, formulaic or omnibus academic explanations that sacrificed nuance and, therefore, became too simplistic to be of any use.


Yusuf Bangura was one of the leading scholars whose academic writings enabled at least two generations of Africans and Africanists to gain the kinds of robust analytic insights that were required for a proper understanding of the complex interplay of politics and economy on a continent and in a world that was undergoing rapid change. We were all to become the richer for it following his decision to carry his interventions beyond the confines of the academy into the broader public sphere through the kinds of short essays he subsequently took to producing and which now mostly comprise this volume. Deliberately written in an accessible, non-academic language and style, they were published in outlets that brought his perspectives on different topical subjects to a much broader audience with an intention to inform, educate and propel towards action.


The essays that make up this book represent some of the most authoritative commentaries produced on the political economy of Africa over a period spanning more than two decades. I had the privilege of reading most of them as they were published in the heat of discussions and debates about different events or concerns unfolding in and around Africa. Re-reading them as one collection, I am struck by their currency, the lucidity of the thinking underpinning them, and the coherence of the arguments advanced. The essays are nuanced without being riddled with and cancelled out by an excess of caveats and alibis. They are rigorously argued without being suffused with the kinds of jargons that all too often reduce the effectiveness of many an aspiring public intellectual coming from a rich scholarly background. In their magisterial breadth, we see the demolition of some popular myths about African politics and society and, simultaneously, a robust repudiation of some of the fetishes that have been projected as foundational to the African world. In their sheer depth of knowledge and experience, we are shown how to function within a clear world view without being hostage to a paradigm.


The reader is left in no doubt whatsoever about the deep and enduring pan-African commitments of the author but is spared the blind ideological sloganeering that is sometimes deployed as a substitute for proper argumentation. Yusuf Bangura also shows himself to be passionate about certain core values that he believes are indispensable to successful public service and leadership but he conveys his position without being hostage to narrow, doctrinaire views about Africa's problems and prospects, including the country of his birth, Sierra Leone. These strengths, together with the skilful blend of balanced interpretation and the clear vision of an Africa that is democratic, developmental, united, dignified and free which Bangura projects serve as powerful commendation of the essays both as a valuable educational resource and a tool for engaged political action towards the progressive transformation of the continent.


Adebayo Olukoshi,

Director, UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning,

Dakar, Senegal.

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