The Dynamics of Public Sector Reform — Two Research Traditions
As we have seen in the previous chapter there are various explanations in the literature for why administrative reforms have failed in Africa, as well as several answers, debated among scholars, for the future paths of the continents’ development; in this chapter these explanations and suggested solutions will be explored in greater detail. The explanations mainly concern how the political and administrative cultures are argued to be different in Africa than in the West, or that too little attention has been paid to the low levels of capacity in Africa, which has led to failed reforms. The debated paths for development in Africa mainly subsist within two overall perspectives — the critical development perspective, which criticizes the concepts of ‘development’ and ‘modernization,’ since these concepts make development in Africa imply becoming blueprints of the West; and the more pragmatic development perspective by which development as understood and existing in the West is not regarded as problematic to attempt in Africa. However, also within this perspective there is general awareness that models which are used in the West need to be adjusted to suit prevailing local circumstances. Such circumstances are, in general, argued to be capacity levels, but also socioeconomic and cultural contexts are highlighted as important to be adapted to when building institutions.
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