Harvard Professor Advises South Sudan To Ignore Donor Ideas

Harvard Prof. Lant Pritchett during a lecture in Juba. [Misuk Moses Mule]

Lant made the remarks at a lecture organised by International Gross Centre (IGC) that was attended by government officials including ministers at Home and Away Hotel in Juba.

“The world’s ideas are shared in widely propagated by the development community how to build the state capabilities are just wrong,” he said.

“South Sudan should look at its own degree on a try an error basis,” he said.

He said that South Sudanese situation is unique having gotten independence last year and that it is better for the new country to start analyzing its situation and create solutions that best suits the people other than importing ideas which may not work.

The professor advised that the level of transplantation of ideas should be low and warned that South Sudanese case will no longer be unique in five years if it does not act now.

“Ignore the large part of what the donors are telling you because they are really telling you too much too fast,” he said.

The expert said that many countries in the world have been politically independent for about 50 years but have failed to build capable states something he attributed to transplanting of ideas.

Lant said that state capabilities is going to come from people who care about performance and advised citizens not to wait for change but work for it if state capability is to be built in South Sudan.

He said South Sudan would love to have a more capable state that delivers services including roads, security, health and roads among others.

The professor said that other countries have not been successful in developing state capabilities because they have not used the right approach.

He advised that being over ambitious may not help the new nation country and that there is need for local solutions for local problems.

According to him, it is easy for South Sudan to pass the best laws in the world but that creating the implementation strategy will not be easy for the country.

He added that this will create a massive implementation gap between the law and the reality on the ground.

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