Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Francis Adams

Committee Member

Simon Serfaty

Committee Member

Michael Clemons


Contemporary economic theories, modernization and dependency, have overlooked the fact that the development process depends on the interaction of social factors. Specifically, the theories have ignored the role of leadership in analyzing economic development. This dissertation seeks to incorporate the importance of leadership into the analysis of development. It argues that sub-Saharan African countries have not developed economically because leaders in the region have been less than successful in establishing a culture conducive to industrialization. African leaders have failed to establish the high moral and scientific cultures necessary to promote economic progress. In place of those cultural attributes, the leaders have fostered corrupt and authoritarian political cultures that undermine the general economic development of their societies.

This dissertation offers a detailed paired comparison of the colonial and postcolonial experience of Ghana and Botswana. The two countries constitute an effective comparison because they were once colonies of Great Britain and have similar resource endowments. Since independence. Botswana has achieved greater social and economic progress because its leaders have established a high moral culture. Ghana, on the other hand, has experienced stagnation, and in some respects actual decline, in its standards of living due to its leaders' inability to establish a high moral culture. Despite differences in standards of living, neither country has achieved diversified industrialization due to a lack of a scientific culture.

The inability to establish high moral and scientific cultures is partially due to the colonial experience and the political philosophy of Senghorianism. Direct colonial rule in Ghana replaced the traditional leadership of the country that had shown a greater political commitment to the general public. In contrast, the colonial protectorate in Botswana recognized traditional leaders as autonomous authorities without undermining their legitimacy. Botswana's leadership continuity preserved the government's moral obligation to the general public.

The lack of socio-scientific culture in both countries is due, to a considerable extent, to the influence of Senghorian philosophy on post-colonial leaders. Senghorianism argues that analytical scientific thinking reflects the dichotomous European culture and contrasts with the holistic African intuitive mode of knowing. The adherence to this philosophy by sub-Saharan African leaders has inhibited the emergence of a scientific culture that would promote industrialization and economic development.