Unfair distribution of resources in Africa: What should be done about the ethnicity factor?

Human Studies 26 (1):21-40 (2003)
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The article examines the role of ethnic favoritism in maldistribution of national resources in Kenya and discusses two broad proposals for attacking such corruption. Evidence drawn from research in Kenya disproves the view of Chabal and Daloz, who argue that Africans prefer to distribute goods according to ethnic ties, and shows that frustration with the lack of alternatives to such a system, rather than enthusiasm for it, drives cooperation with corrupt maldistribution. One solution to the problem is to decentralize government so that resources are retained locally. A second solution is to attack the culture of appropriation and push for a fair evaluation of needs and the equitable distribution of national resources to where they are needed most. Drawing on the ideas of Hannah Arendt, the article proposes a modified federalism where government is small enough to enlist the help and support of locals but powerful enough to provide funds to impoverished sectors of the country.


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