Governance and development in Africa: a review essay

Given the increasing importance of governance in economic development and the yearning for Africa to catch up, the present paper provides a concise review of the literature relevant to the region. First, it presents stylized facts showing that Africa as a region, since about the late 1990s, substantially improved its growth and economic outcomes in the form of per capita income, human development, and poverty. Second, it shows that both economic governance and political governance have improved considerably since about the late 1980s to early 1990s. Economic governance is measured by economic freedom and political governance by the index of electoral competitiveness, executive constraint and polity, and by indicators of political stability. Finally, the paper flags the challenge of the likely disequilibrium between the economic and political equilibria under multiparty democracy, with adverse implications for fiscal allocation.