The World Bank and IMF attribute underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa to the practice of directing economic activity through centralized planning. They prescribe privatization and economic liberalization to restructure African economies, promote competition, reduce the scope for corruption, and promote good governance. However, inadequate checks on political power permit African elites to subvert these reforms. This article reviews the political economy of sub-Saharan countries as well as a case study of Sierra Leone to illustrate the problem. The analysis suggests the need for an international agency such as the UN to provide the capacity to investigate, expose and check corruption by employing UN inspectors who are immune to pressure from powerful African elites. This type of check on corruption is necessary to promote the rule of law in sub-Saharan Africa.
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