Prof Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University spoke about the difficulties of governance in much of the developing world and emphasized the importance of politics in getting development right at a CDE event in 2013.
Neopatrimonialism is now commonly understood to be at the core of sub-Saharan Africa’s development problem and has arisen because a powerful private sector is absent.
This is because the pressures for clientelistic distribution are the strongest in countries with very sharp class stratification, and where a large number of very poor people are left out of economic growth.
The problem with populism is not that it fails to take care of poor people, but that it does so in a clientelistic and unsustainable way. Clientelism is also the easiest way for politicians to mobilise voters—offering them individual benefits, such as a job in government.
Fighting against those forces is extremely difficult and the challenges never really go away. The only solution is actually to implement more sensible kinds of distributive policies.