- Democratisation--of governments, access to information and accountability
- Improved economic policy
- Debt reduction
- New technologies (esp the mobile phone)
- A new generation of leaders
In a very positive review, Miguel mildly chastises Radelet:"But in identifying democratization as the leading cause of Africa's recent economic turnaround, especially in the countries he labels as emerging, Radelet simply pushes the question of causality back another step. Left unanswered is why some African countries, such as Ghana, developed successful democracies in the 1990s, whereas others, such as Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana's neighbor, tried and failed."
Miguel's answer? He argues that it might be education. He notes that Africa's human capital stock has risen dramatically in the past 30 years. In addition to Radelet's arguments about how this means the technical level of policymaking has improved, Miguel draws on his own research to illustrate how education empowers students rather than making them acquiesce to authority that is not pro-development. Better educated students are more politically informed and are better able to see through propaganda and are less willing to identify ethnically with a particular policy stance.
I find these arguments plausible, even though Miguel's research is only drawn from Kenya. But Miguel's argument does not really address the question of why Ghana is open but the Cote d'Ivoire is not.
Personally, I think the most under researched area is Radelet's fifth factor: leadership.
What do we know about how pro-development leadership emerges and can it be supported better? What factors have shaped the emergence of pro-development leaders whether the more celebrated ones Radelet identifies such as John Githongo in Kenya and Patrick Awuah in Ghana or the unsung heroes at other levels? What role does oppression play in radicalising them and what role does democratisation play in supplying them with enough oxygen to operate? What can the educational establishment and public policy do to support future leaders?
Leadership is an important and under researched issue for development in general, not only for Africa.