African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403


Building from below and deepening democracy as alternative strategies for poverty alleviation and sustainable development in Africa: Challenges and opportunities

  John W. Forje
Department of Political Science University of Yaoundé 11-SOA, B.P. 13429 Yaoundé Cameroon. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 November 2010
  •  Published: 31 July 2011



The march towards democratic progress remains one of the defining developments of the late 20th century. For Africa, it has been (a) the dismantling of colonial governance, (b) the embracement of the monolithic party structure for its development, (c) the return to political pluralism without significant improvements in the improving the quality of life of the vast majority of the people, (d) failure to improve the living standards of the population. These developments provide challenges and opportunities for African states to rethink the kind of developmental strategies so far adopted. It equally begs a simple question – whether political independence was properly initiated and whether the colonial powers were pleased to grant independence to their colonies? Against the backdrop of the shared dissatisfaction with the current pace of poverty alleviation, curbing the vices of corruption and poor development, how can progress be best accelerated in the 21st century in building the necessary capacity for knowledge society in a fast growing knowledge based global economy? Which instruments must be put in place to ensure “Futures Intelligence Capacity” as proactive strategic approaches in overcoming the predicament of a continent rich in natural resources but poor in terms of development and quality of livelihood? The paper goes further to look at serious deficiencies of governance highlighting public cynicism that diminishes public esteem for democracy. It articulates a triple heritage strategic approach of (i) building from below, (ii) deepening the political process, and (iii) focusing on people first as the means of achieving sustainable, equitable growth and development. It argues within this premises that to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to enhance the continent’s role within the global community, emphasis should focus on State-Civil Society-Private Sector interface, operating under the umbrella of partnership, participation and benefit sharing. The failure to govern effectively takes a toll on the legitimacy and stability of democracy and development process. Proactive strategic policy measures are advanced as a way forward and in linking futures study and the various challenges that humankind face.


Key words: Governance, inclusion, participation, partnership, democracy, exclusion, state, civil society, private sector interface, capacity building, future intelligence capacity.