By on April 3, 2010

John W. Forje


The paper addresses issues underscoring gender dimensions in the construction of the democratic developmental state in Africa. It argues that a prerequisite for empowerment is access to formal education [human capacity building} currently being denied women due to cultural taboos and other chauvinistic constraints. Gender in the construction of a developmental state in Africa must be revisited through the auspices of empowerment, creating a level playing field – in short, “power to people {women} and equal opportunities for all” in the process of socio-economic transformation of the nation. Unfortunately, post-colonial state in Africa failed taking into consideration the untiring, patriotic and great sacrifices made by women in the struggle for self-determination. It argues that the concept of development, itself be redefined. The type of development that African countries need is one that ensures democratic governance, enough food sufficiency for the country and absorbing the labour force. In this pattern of development agriculture should be the leading link, not industry. Being the leading link equally imply empowering females whose access to political power is still far away.

Hence, the concept of development must be revisited and redefined within the perspectives of a new holistic multidisciplinary strategic approach incorporated and taking into consideration the following inter-related issues: {a} access to education at all levels and in the decision-making machinery of the society: {b} rethinking existing traditional taboos impeding development: access to credit facilities; land-tenure and inheritance issues {c} friendly technologies aimed at lightening their congested roles among others.

Construction of a developmental state must not evolve on a restricted empowerment of the female gender, but addressed within the context of a comprehensive and integrated national development strategy. Empowerment and equality becomes necessities for development and survival – the dreams of women are the dreams of their nations on which the construction of the democratic developmental state in Africa must build on. Gender in the construction of the democratic developmental state in Africa must remove women from the minus to the plus side of the development continuum. Proactive strategic policy-measures are advanced.

Keywords: Empowerment, equality, participatory democracy, science and technology, human capacity building, economic development, credit faculties, cultural taboos, land tenure, inheritance,

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