‘Strong NGOs and Weak States’ – prioritize democracy over development?


By now it’s no secret: Democracy is under attack worldwide, notes Jeffrey Smith, the founding director of Vanguard Africa and the Vanguard Africa Foundation, which support pro-democracy initiatives and free and fair elections across Africa.

Yet there is one region of the world that is following a different trend, he writes for the Post’s Monkey Cage:

Data shows that an overwhelming majority of Africans believe that democracy remains the best form of government and that free, fair and multiparty elections remain the ideal way to choose their leaders. While voter turnout is declining globally, it has been relatively stable in Africa over the past few decades. To paraphrase a notable scholar: While people are questioning the value of democracy, especially in many Western states, African populations who have experienced one-party or military rule are prepared to fight the resurgence of authoritarianism.

National leaders, however, often disagree. Africa’s three most recent elections illustrate the resulting divide….RTWT

Milli Lake’s book (above) is a must-read that challenges the conventional wisdom about states with weak institutions and how the international community might go about “fixing” places like the Congo, Somalia and Afghanistan, The Washington Post’s Laura Seay writes.

By identifying this paradox of state strength as it relates to human rights concerns — that justice may be easier to obtain in weak states than strong ones — Lake raises profound questions about the notion that stronger, democratic countries are fundamentally “good” while fragile ones are always “bad.” RTWT

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