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Central Challenges Confronting the African State: Rethinking Its Role in Development

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This paper focuses on the central challenges confronting the African state in the context of the neo-liberal offensive to render the continent more vulnerable. Historically the African state was a creation of the colonisers to serve their interests. In the post-colonial condition it has principally served the interests of tiny, powerful circles and their foreign backers, rather than those of the generality of the African people. Prolonged authoritarianism on the continent has been maintained principally through the state. Only through popular democratic transformation of the state will the continent march towards development. Historically development in all spheres has never been attained anywhere independent of the central role of the state. In the post-Cold War period America is on course to drag African governments, political leaders and the continent’s economic resources into another phase of imperialist domination. The terms, terrain, politics and direction of the so-called war on terror are determined without consultations with the African people. This paper focuses on central issues of regional and continental integration, conflicts, citizenship, control and mobilisation resources, true democracy, managing pluralism, constitutionalism, participation, accountability and security. These require urgent tackling to ensure more forged unity and protection of the continent. The analysis delves into concrete realities and makes suggestions for ending the quagmire of the African state.


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