Why democracy is better for development than authoritarianism in Africa

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Nic Cheeseman
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DiA’s own Nic Cheeseman has spent some of the last couple of months going through the Bertlesmann Transformation Index to understand the implications of its data on politics and economics for democracy and development in Africa … 

On the basis of this analysis, he has written a series of analysis, the most recent of which argues that it is democracy, and not authoritarianism, that is better for democracy.

His latest piece for South Africa’s Mail&Guardian argues that contrary to what many people hare argued over the last few years, the last thing that Africa needs is more strongmen …

“In the past 10 years it has become fashionable to argue that democracy is not good for development in Africa. It is said that elections lead to political instability and conflict and undermine the unity needed for economic growth. Authoritarian leaders such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda, by contrast, have been lauded for driving economic development and reducing corruption.

Economic problems have created the impression that slowing economic growth and rising debt have been driven by destabilising multiparty competition.

But this is wrong.

Instead, nine times out of 10 authoritarianism is bad for development and the quality of governance. According to a new report, Africa: A Divided Continent, based on data collected by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI), democracies consistently outperform their authoritarian counterparts.

The implication is clear: if we want to promote the kind of economic change that is sustainable and lifts citizens out of poverty then we should also be promoting democracy …”

Click here to read the whole article.

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