Voters wait in line in Rwanda Simon Maina/Getty Images

Liberal Democracy in Africa Can Wait

Since the election of President Donald Trump, the United States, which remains one of Africa’s top donors, has focused more on the principles China favors – like political stability, trade, and counterterrorism – than on democracy and human rights. Is the Beijing Model better for Africa in the short and medium term?

YAOUNDÉ – Africa’s policymakers understand that strong economic and political leadership is essential to growth and stability. For years, African economies have fared better than expected, owing to a commitment to improving governance. The question now is how to sustain the momentum.

Current strategies do not provide an adequate answer. Although leaders at a recent African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, committed to keeping governance reforms at the top of Africa’s agenda, they offered no blueprint. From my perspective, this void presents an opportunity to consider new governance paradigms, including those that borrow from two commonly discussed models: the “Washington Consensus” and the “Beijing Model.”

Development practitioners have long debated which model offers the best framework for reform. Put simply, “governance” refers to a dynamic framework of rules, structures, and processes that help a government manage its economic, political, and administrative affairs.

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