Human Rights and Human Development Nexus in Africa: A Polycentric Planning and Poverty Reduction Perspective

Akinola, S. R. (2010). "Human Rights and Human Development Nexus in Africa: A Polycentric Planning and Poverty Reduction Perspective" Paper presented at the 7th annual conference of the HDCA, 21-23 September 2010, Amman, Jordan.

This paper uses the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to analyse the relationship between human rights and human development in Africa from polycentric planning and poverty reduction perspective. The paper found that the human development challenges confronting Africa have assumed dramatic proportions simply because the governance structure is centralized and excludes the citizenry from exercising their fundamental human rights in socio-economic, cultural and techno-political matters that concern them. This paper argues that African leaders have the responsibility of protecting the rights of their citizens, and at the same time, investing African resources in providing enabling environment for their citizens, especially in the areas of knowledge and decent standard of living in terms of access to safe and clean water, quality health and education services, electricity, road, gainful employment, political participation, rule of law, etc. The paper further argues that society that pays attention to human (resources) development will produce enlightened citizens that pursue development agenda by drawing on their productive potentials and capabilities to achieve freedom and development. The point of departure of this paper, therefore, is in problem solving and solution seeking. This paper provides case studies to demonstrate principles and practices needed to make polycentric planning and poverty reduction strategy resolve socio-economic, cultural and techno-political crises in the continent. A polycentric approach to human development emphasizes people-centred and community-oriented development in ways that emphasize inclusiveness, nondiscrimination, accountability, transparency and popular participation. The paper also establishes how pragmatic models can enable economic, social and cultural rights to become affirmative channels of human development in Africa.
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