Africa may have some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but
investment and incomes still lag far behind other regions. Conventional
development wisdom lays the blame on a governance syndrome known as
neo-patrimonialism, a system of personal rule held together by the
distribution of economic rents to clients or cronies. But recent
research by the Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) into seven
historical and six contemporary African cases shows that
neo-patrimonialism is not always as economically damaging as the
development community believes. Findings include:
- In some circumstances neo-patrimonialism does not harm, and may even
help, the climate for business and investment
- Neo-patrimonialism can be compatible with rapid, pro-poor, economic
- Donors and policy-makers need to recognise developmental
neo-patrimonialism where it exists, and understand their impact on it.
Africa Power and Politics, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK, 4 pp.
APPP Policy Brief 02. Developmental patrimonialism? Rethinking business and politics in Africa