Argues that it is not feasible to promote liberal democracy and civil rights in Africa without first addressing the material and intellectual poverty of the majority.
Development was achieved in the West by capitalism and industrialization before liberal democracy was introduced as a viable form of government. Africa is grappling with the problems of underdevelopment. Yet, the West insists on liberal democracy for Africa, a form of government which has no economic and social foundations in Africa. The West now faults the African people for not being able to establish and sustain democratic institutions. Ambrose, an African development practitioner who, recently returning from the continent after three intense years of fact-finding, research, and consultation, argues that the solution to Africa's problems does not lie in externally imposed liberal institutions shored up by top-down bureaucracy that most often is ignorant, unresponsive, or outright hostile to the needs of the impoverished majority. Her investigations lead her to believe that the solution for Africa lies in a collective approach based on empowerment of the masses and economic reforms.