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Date of Award


Author's School

School of Law

Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Degree Type



There has been a lot of rhetoric about the need for Africa to develop. In the instances where there have been any development strategies proposed, these have been limited mainly to economic development. Development however is a complex issue that involves the interplay of both economic and non economic factors. This paper looks at the constant inability of Africa to effectively establish development strategies that have evolved over the years. I establish in this paper that the inability is not so much the fact that the development strategies are bad, though some have been in the past but rather that the nature of the state in Africa is flawed. This has led to a system of governance, where though democratic, most of the states are run like personal fiefdoms of those in power. This paper establishes that for there to be any effective development, there needs to be a restructruring of most ot the institutions of governance and the law ought to be allowed to play a more vibrant role as a tool of change . This proposition is argued in the context of the latest development strategy to have been adopted by African leaders in 2001. The Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) hopes through a series of programs and initiatives to address the most pressing and dire needs of the continent and lead it onto development. The Peer Review Mechanism is also an integral part of this plan whereby African leaders allow their countries and policies to be reviewed by the their peers. I argue in this paper that until the real problems of the continent are addressed, this new development plan, though laudable will join the ranks of the many other development strategies that have evolved on the continent over the years. I state that the problem is more with the institutions and systems of governance and also with the class of elitist rulers that have been politically active since independence. I conclude that it is only when there is a transformation of the institutions of governance and where is there in an active and vibrant civil society and middle class that there will be any effective human development. This work is done using Ghana as the case study.

Chair and Committee

Professor Peter Mutharika, Chairperson; Professor John Haley, Examining Professor; Professor John Drobak, Examining Professor.


Permanent URL: Print copy available through Washington University Libraries, Call #: HC79.E5 D45 2006

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