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Africa's Stalled Development: International Causes and Cures

David K. Leonard and Scott Straus
Africa's Stalled Development: International Causes and Cures
ISBN: 978-1-58826-140-3
ISBN: 978-1-58826-116-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-472-0
2003/159 pages/LC: 2002031839

"This excellent work ... presents a highly readable, provocative, and insightful analysis of the causes and cures for the continent's pressing dilemmas."—Andrew F. Clark, Africa Today

"A convincing account as to why the post-colonial state in Africa has largely failed in promoting development and why the international system is complicit.... thought-provoking and a valuable teaching resource."—Ian Taylor, International Affairs

"This text is the most serious attempt since the impasse debate got a hold on development studies, to explain Afirca's stalled development."—Alfred Zack-Williams, Journal of Modern African Studies

"In their excellent book Leonard and Straus summarise and develop the latest ideas on African development issues.... Accessible to readers from all disciplines."—Anke Hoeffler, Journal of African Economies

"A fine book."—Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

"This very readable and well-written book presents a provocative yet coherent and persuasive argument.... Africa's Stalled Development is to be read for its innovative and serious analysis of Africa's economic woes, and for its recommendations."—Edward R. McMahon, Perspectives on Politics

"An accessible and valuable contribution to the literature on Africa's troubled political economy."—Loren Landau, African Studies Review

"Highly recommended."—Choice

"Leonard and Straus ... synthesize much recent writing on African political economy into an intriguing big picture that both analyzes the past and prescribes for the future."—Foreign Affairs

"A provocative statement on the impediments to development in Africa and the challenges of reform. The authors offer a distinctive argument, weaving domestic and international factors into a coherent vision of change."—Peter Lewis, American University

"This carefully crafted and very readable book provides a set of refreshing perspectives on Africa's 'failed development,' leading to a range of important recommendations that neither scholars nor practitioners can ignore."—Goran Hyden,


This thoughtful discussion probes the international roots of Africa's civil conflicts and lackluster economies. Analyzing an unwitting system that creates a set of incentives inimical to development, the authors offer a new way of thinking about Africa's development dilemmas and the policy options for addressing them.

Weak states, aid dependence, crushing debt, and enclave economies, argue the authors, create disincentives for long-term economic growth and even peace. The nature of Africa's interaction with the international system often supports these negative features; thus, the remedy must come from a radical restructuring of that relationship. Africa's Stalled Development heeds that call by presenting specific and innovative prescriptions for change that are sure to stimulate a much-needed debate.


David K. Leonard is emeritus dean of international and area studies and professor emeritus of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been working in and on Africa since 1963. Scott Straus, is professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.


  • The Contemporary African State: The Politics of Distorted Incentives.
  • Debt and Aid: Righting the Incentives.
  • Technical Assistance: The Corrosion of Unwitting Institutional Racism.
  • The Causes of Civil Conflict in Africa.
  • Civil Conflict and International Humanitarian Intervention.
  • Conclusion.
  • Appendix A: A Proposal to Set Salaries for African Civil Servants in Response to Competitive External Offers.
  • Appendix B: An "International Grand Corps" of African Public Service Professionals.