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Came across this read which provides a good background to understanding history of patronage in African politics published by Foreign Affairs Magazine.

In the post-independence era of the 1960s, “[Foreign] diplomats looked for rapid ways to reduce poverty and stimulate sustainable economic growth, while African leaders concentrated on safeguarding their fragile sovereignty from international predators, maintaining internal stability in an environment of tribal and ethnic jealousies, and ensuring that their own political families were taken care of…The first generation of postcolonial African leaders made economic and political decisions that could not have been more damaging…In the economic sector, African leaders took advice from advisers from the U.K. Labour Party and the French Socialist Party. This led to the nationalization of many African private sector enterprises in order to jumpstart development…in Uganda, for example, the national airline had three aircraft that served the East African region quite reliably. After nationalization, the payroll increased from 300 to 5,000, with no increase in business…with the exception of Mauritius, no African country has achieved sustainable economic development to this very day. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to live with the burdens of its founding fathers’ early destructive decisions. Several trillion dollars of Western overseas development assistance have failed to solve the problem…With the exceptions of Cote d’Ivoire’s President Felix Houphouet-Boigny and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, all of Africa’s first- and second-generation leaders were fixated on cementing their political power and tribal loyalties… A more enlightened generation of African leaders is slowly moving to the fore country by country, providing hope that the continent will continue to progress steadily and gain footing alongside other emerging nations around the world…The outlook for Africa’s future depends on overcoming the consequences of early mistakes made by their founding leaders. A number of African nations are on track to emerge as significant players in the world economy, both as producers and consumers.”

Author: Herman J. Cohen

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