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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The national project as a public administration concept: the problematic of State building in the search for new development paradigms in Africa
Author:Lumumba-Kasongo, TukumbiISNI
Year:2011
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume:36
Issue:2
Pages:63-96
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:nationalism
public administration
nation building
Abstract:In the debate regarding the values and importance of decolonization, development thought, and postcolonial State-building in Africa, the question of the national project is central. In theory, a national project, as either an imaginary concept of the political elite, a tool of political domination, or a real complex embodiment of the mobilization of ideas and thoughts, is about governance. It implies the existence of some dimensions of political, economic and cultural nationalism, both in its policy framework and political basis. At the time of political independence, most African political regimes adopted or created some form of national project as the foundation of their social and economic platforms. However, it is generally known that African States have produced a relatively weak, fragmented, individualized and personalized public administration, based on ambiguous and confused national projects. In Africa, even reactionary regimes have claimed to be nationalistic. Why has this consistently been the case? There are various interpretations of African national projects, which became the policy blueprints through which the African political elites and the people were, in principle, supposed to be connected with one another in exploring new developmental models. The article examines the historicity of the concept of national project as defined and projected through various types of African political regimes and social movements, identifies their similarities, if any, and compares their ultimate political ends. Secondly, using historical structural and comparative perspectives, the author analyses how the notion of public administration was developed within the national project. He argues that no contemporary State is able to effectively render services that, in the long run, can be translated into solid infrastructures, without building a public administration that is relevant and appropriate as part of the State's national project. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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