The human factor: foundation for development and democracy
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Since gaining their independence, many African countries (ACs) have tried almost everything possible to achieve democracy and human-centred development. Numerous plans, policies, programmes and projects have been pursued with zeal and zest in the past. Today, after all is accounted for, it seems as if ACs have lost their bid to sail with the democratic winds that drive the ships of democratization and development. The processes of democratization and development on the continent seem either to be stalled completely or to be creeping at a snail’s pace (Ellis, 1993: 133-143). It is clear that the region is at the crossroads where it must pause to review critically all it has done in the past in its pursuit of constitutional democracy and development. From the colonial era to today, Africans have tried many plans, policies, programmes and projects aimed at economic growth and development. In many cases, resources channelled into education are used to focus on human capital development. Educational policies and programmes have, therefore, focused on acquisition of knowledge and skills, to the total neglect of critical human qualities. ACs have produced intellectual elites who possess knowledge and skills which they are unable to rise to deal with Africa’s social, economic, political and cultural problems. The reason for this failure is that current mechanisms ignore the central significance of the Human Factor (HF).