Neo-Elites and the Developmental State

Dr Lloyd Amoah makes some compelling arguments in his paper titled “Lee Kuan Yew, Deng Xiaoping and Actualizing the Visions of African Independence” on how the neo-elite class can catalyse Africa’s long sought post-independence development agenda to dispel Malcolm X’s postulate that the African dream of rapid socio-economic transformation and progress had morphed into an African nightmare. Do you know that the development prognosis for new emergent African countries like Ghana seemed brighter than China, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia at independence and in the late 1950s and early 60s?

The Scale of the Challenge: Once this freedom [political freedom] is gained, a greater task comes into view. All dependent territories are backward in education, in agriculture and in industry. The economic independence that should follow and maintain political independence demands every effort from the people, a total mobilization of brain and manpower resources. What other countries have taken three hundred years or more to achieve, a once dependent territory must try to accomplish in a generation if it is to survive. ——- Dr Kwame Nkrumah

What is the construct of the neo-elites? Amoah argues:

….neo-elites were crucial for the kind and quality of policy choices that China and Singapore pursued in the last fifty years. The neo-elite class refers to the select group of people who provided the strategic ideational, managerial, organizational, inspirational and leadership inputs for the task of national transformation in China and Singapore….The Asian neo-elites debunked the location based and initial condition theories which argues that geography, a colonial past and culture were pivotal in shaping the development of nation-states….In the construct here, the neo-elites are deeply anguished by the underdevelopment of their nations and its inferior status vis-à-vis the developed countries of North America and Europe [and Asian Contemporaries]. The first and crucial step towards the emergence of the neo-elite class is POLITICAL ORGANIZATION; the formation of a political party or group- conditioned and constrained ab initio by the overall national political context. Through a complicated network spanning academia, business and the military but pivoted around political power the neo-elites use the state as the primary vehicle to radically transform their societies. This political party or group attracts LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS who share a certain vision of the nation they want to build; a leadership emerges pivoted around a charismatic, visionary individual.

Key question: Given the rise of various pressure groups such as OccupyGhana et al, is it possible for these groups to coalesce into a political party or group- conditioned and constrained ab initio by the overall national political context while leveraging on their networks to drive the policy and developmental agenda given the dogged two-sided nature of Ghana’s political terrain?

Full paper available at: