ABSTRACT

The experience of peoples from the non-Western world should not be lost but used to enrich our current approaches. This is why we are not arguing for an “either/or” solution but rather a “both/ and” solution with more space for locally rooted and driven development practice. This special volume of Development in Practice will explore in greater detail the multiple meanings of endogenous development and what endogenous development means in practice. In doing so, it seeks to give voice and access to audience to a variety of African perspectives. Hearing these voices, most from Africa, will not always be easy. Some of the voices in this volume challenge assumptions or values that are central to current development thinking. Think for a moment of the individualism versus the community debate. Development theory and practice today focus on the individual. Human rights approaches are about individual rights, not community rights. Human development and capabilities approaches focus on the individual. Neo-liberal economists insist that economic growth depends on market institutions and on individuals ready to take risks. For example, Acemoglu and Robinson (2012, 262) point to the reciprocating influences of the modernisation of agriculture and a weakening of “rigid tribal institutions” (in the late nineteenth century). African farmers’ demands for privately owned land weakened tribal chief authority, and individual farmers were ready to adopt technical innovations and increase in the individual income (2012, 261-264).