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This seminal book is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the policy-making process and evolution of economic development strategies in Africa. The book is an elegant demonstration of how ideas, interests and institutions have evolved over time in Africa, including during the structural adjustment period, shaping the actions of international, regional, and national players. Landry Signé, one of the most innovative thinkers of his generation, takes the readers on an edifying journey that will change their views of Africa.”

Albert G. Zeufack, Chief Economist, Africa Region, World Bank Group

Professor Signé offers a highly original take on Africa’s development trajectory since independence. In focusing our attention on innovations in development strategy, Signé illuminates how African governments have changed both the policies they choose and the institutional means by which they choose them. Drawing on a thoughtful analysis of nine cases in francophone Africa, Signé captures the transition from structural adjustment to new frameworks and approaches, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. His approach challenges scholars to think critically about mechanisms of policy innovation on the continent and to take seriously the ways in which national governments and regional organizations are reshaping the contours of development strategy.”

Jeremy Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University; former Deputy to the US Ambassador to the United Nations and former Director for Development and Democracy on the National Security Council staff at the White House

This book has two major strengths. It uses a framework in which interests, ideas, and institutions all matter. This is surely right, and opens avenues of enquiry that are otherwise missed. The other is that is it manageably comparative: by focusing on nine countries of Francophone Africa it has an arena in which divergence can meaningfully be explored. We need more books like this.”

Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Oxford University

Landry Signé has succeeded in applying rigorous, original thinking to one of the most important development issues of our time: the rapid economic and political changes occurring in much of Africa. Signé’s framework simultaneously captures the diversity of experiences across the continent while providing a consistent framework for understanding the forces behind these changes. This important work by a rising academic star is a must-read for anyone interested in comparative politics, development policy, and international relations, especially in Africa.”

Steven Radelet, Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Development, Georgetown University and former Chief Economist of USAID

Dr. Signé has viewed the development community from within. He views his experiences in the policy world from the vantage point of a trained professional, and teaches us what he has learned in lucid and balanced prose. This book places us in his debt.”

Robert H. Bates, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Harvard University

In his very important book, Landry Signé studies the process of innovation in
economic development strategies in Africa. The author argues that the evolution of development strategies reflects an adaptive learning process by state actors and has been shaped by the institutional heritage, actors’ interests, economic paradigms, and the increasing role of international development agencies in policy-making in Africa. The book is a must-read for development practitioners and academics working on Africa.”

Leonard Wantchekon, Professor of Politics, Princeton University; Founder and President, African School of Economics

This book is challenging and thought provoking, and makes a number of argu-
ments that those who research and practice development would do well to engage with. Steering clear of both Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism, Signé advances an important but often overlooked point: contrary to popular perceptions, political and developmental strategies in Africa do not stand still. Instead, they are subject to innovation, reversal, and revision. By demonstrating this eloquently, and challenging received wisdom, this book makes a significant contribution to the debate on development in Africa.”

Nic Cheeseman, Professor of Democracy, University of Birmingham

Landry Signé’s book will change how we understand the political economy of
development in francophone Africa. This book does more than introduce his readers to the complexity of policymaking in a set of countries little understood by anglophone scholars. It details the processes by which Africans have pursued their own ideologies and interests while negotiating with the international actors often credited – or blamed – for shaping development trajectories across the continent. Those who want to understand how policymaking is evolving in Africa should read this book.”

Leonardo Ariolla, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for African Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Landry Signé draws on leading traditions in economics and political science to
develop a multilayered analysis of how national development strategies change over time. As applied to nine francophone countries, the framework sheds light on the timing and direction of reforms in sub-Saharan Africa since 1980. An intriguing read as countries face new pressures both internally and in global markets.”

Stephen A. O’Connell, Gil and Frank Mustin Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College, and Research Associate, Center for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford

Africa’s dismal development stories of the 1980s and 1990s have given way to
today’s ‘Africa Rising’ mantra. Yet, the process leading to this transformation has not been well understood. Innovating Development Strategies in Africa does a masterful job in helping us understand that process. The earlier development strategies have markedly improved, through a Bayesian-type process involving international, national, and regional actors, and so have the development outcomes. Thus the book fills an important void and is a must-read for all interested in the process of African development.”

Augustin K. Fosu, Professor, University of Ghana; Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria; and CSAE Research Associate, University of Oxford

Grand development strategies have often disappointed Africans. In this clever and accessible analysis, Landry suggests that how we approach institutional learning may be even more important than debates over the content of policy. This book offers a compelling new portrait of African political economy where national actors are far from being victims – even accounting for power asymmetries with international financial institutions. Landry’s framework demonstrates how the convergence of interests and ideas, and the contexts of opportunity over time, account for innovation in development strategies across a complex set of cases. We are left with an insightful and hopefully enduring theory grounded in rich research.”

A. Carl LeVan, Associate Professor, American University

Using innovative concepts of political science, this fascinating and original
book enlightens the successive models of the relationships between international, regional and national actors, which have resulted in successive changes of development strategy. Professor Signé provides a refreshing and stimulating view of the changes in development strategies that have occurred in nine Francophone countries since 1960.”

Patrick Guillaumont, Professor Emeritus, University of Clermont Auvergne, and President of Ferdi, Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international

This book presents a historical account of five decades of development policy in Africa, charting the ebb and flow of strategies over time in a dance involving national states and international actors. The author heralds a new generation of African scholars ready to overcome ideological divides of yore with a simple but powerful message: let’s get down to the pragmatic business of development.”

Marcel Fafchamps, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University

Africa is often portrayed as a (reluctant) consumer of externally imposed development strategies. Dr. Signe’s book challenges this view. Using nine country case studies, he seeks to demonstrate that African countries were not passive recipients of internationally driven development programs such as the Structural Adjustment Programs prevalent in the 1980s. He argues that the heavy contestation about the appropriate role of State led to a push-and-pull between international and African ideas, interests, and processes related to development. This resulted in the emergence of new African development approaches and strategies such as the Lagos Plan of Action and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, as well as the domestication of some aspects of international development approaches. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the evolution and trajectories of development approaches in post-independence Africa.”

Monde Muyangwa, Africa Program Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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