Mwangi Samson Kimenyi (IDEAS) studies the African economy and the institutional factors that seem to thwart development on a continent renowned for its rich natural resources.

On July 2, he delivered the keynote address to a meeting of economists in the African Division of the World Bank in Washington, D.C., focusing on how to improve service delivery in fragile states that are characterized by low accountability.

Low accountability hinders economic development in many African countries, he believes.

Kimenyi, associate professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, coordinates a long-term study on institutions and service delivery in Africa on behalf of the Nairobi-based African Economic Research Consortium.

He also has served on the Public Universities Commission in his native Kenya, and is founding executive director of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis.

Many sub-Saharan African countries do not have the financial resources to pay their teachers and doctors or to build the infrastructure that would provide education, health, and sanitary services needed for an efficient economy, he notes.

They also lack qualified personnel to lead the effort, and their governments do not have the institutional capacity to deliver public services.

Some are also ethnically fragmented, which affects both their politics and their public service delivery, he says.

Read more in the UConn Advance

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