The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of DFID, the ABIA or the Programme as a whole.
Going with the Grain in African Development?
Article first published online: 3 OCT 2008
© The Author 2008. Journal compilation © 2008 Overseas Development Institute.
Development Policy Review
Volume 26, Issue 6, pages 627–655, November 2008
How to Cite
Kelsall, T. (2008), Going with the Grain in African Development?. Development Policy Review, 26: 627–655. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7679.2008.00427.x
- Issue published online: 3 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 3 OCT 2008
- first submitted June 2008final revision accepted July 2008
- social morality
In view of the disappointing performance of the Good Governance agenda in Africa, policy-makers are asking whether better results could be obtained with approaches that attempt to ‘work with the grain’ of African societies. This article explores what this might mean. It identifies a core set of beliefs and values – concerning power, accountability and social morality – that have proved extremely durable and remain powerful drivers of behaviour across sub-Saharan Africa. It finds that, in general, Western institutions sit ill with these traditions. The question is, therefore, how to redirect development efforts so that they stop working against, and start to build upon, the extant notions of moral obligation and interpersonal accountability in the region.