In Pursuit of Development

Breaking Bad: Understanding Backlash Against Democracy in Africa — Lise Rakner

Episode Summary

Dan Banik and Lise Rakner discuss whether countries on the African continent are facing a democratic backlash, and how incumbent political elites are increasingly containing democratizing pressures through two interacting processes: legal institutions and international relationships.

Episode Notes

There is a great deal of attention these days on the backlash against democracy around the world. In a forthcoming book, Democratic Backsliding in Africa? Autocratization, Resilience, and Contention, my guest Lise Rakner and her two co-authors (Leonardo R. Arriola and Nicolas van de Walle) conclude that the African continent’s democratic experience over the past two decades largely reflects status quo politics. Thus, there is neither substantial progress nor regression in the advancement of civil and political freedoms since the initial transitions to democracy in the early 1990s.

Lise Rakner is a professor of political science at the University of Bergen. She studies democratization and autocratization, focusing particularly on human rights, electoral politics, and political parties. Twitter: @li63ra 


Professor Dan Banik, University of Oslo, Twitter: @danbanik  @GlobalDevPod

Episode Transcription


Banik                             Lisa, it's so good to see you. Welcome to the show!

Rakner                          Thank you, Dan. I've been waiting and looking forward to this.

Banik                             You have this forthcoming new book, and it has this title Democratic backsliding in Africa? which I thought is a nice start for our conversation. Because there have been these international reports, but also academic papers saying there is actually a democratic recession around the world, and there is backsliding. But as I understand it, because I haven't read the book, it's coming out and so you've given me a peek into the first chapter. But you're actually arguing that is not necessarily the case in Africa. So, tell us a bit about what you found in that book.

Rakner                           Ok, so it's actually a little bit funny because we started off backsliding. It globally became an issue. Freedom House has reported like 17 years in a row of democratic decline. We have countries like Poland, Hungary, Brazil, India. There is a definite democratic backsliding. It's on a global scale. Interestingly, when we said we are going to start out and have what does it look like in Sub Saharan Africa. And then it's a little bit interesting. V-Dem, Freedom House. There is no distinct decline in democratic rights on the African continent. So, that triggered our discussions in our research group which became the point of departure for this book. It takes me a little bit back to what democratic backsliding really is all about. And the way we see it, it's not really a sort of backsliding and sort of an attack on democracy as a system of elections, or as a system of competing groups competing for power. The backsliding against democracy and the attack on democracy is linked to the liberal aspects of democracy. It is linked to all the rights, human rights, but also rights of accountability. All kinds of rights that are intended to check executive power and to ensure a kind of power balance. But also, to ensure minority rights and that there is a kind of a check on power. These are the kind of rights that are really under attack, and this happens a lot through the law. The sort of picture of democratic backsliding is Bolsonaro. He comes to power on a wave of popular protests and not necessarily protests but support. And being democratically elected, you dismantle democracy from within by chipping away aspects of democracy linked to media rights, linked to corruption control, linked to parliament, linked to civil society, and so forth. And here is a clue coming to Africa. What we've discovered is that the problem of Africa's democracy and Africa's democratic trajectories is that the liberal aspects of democracy have never really materialized. Africa's democratic transitions in the 1990s are basically where democracy stays today. A number of countries opened for multiparty elections and multiparty elections at regular intervals are a key aspect of the political systems. However, these liberal aspects of democracy, the restraints, and executive powers that will be ingrained in constitutions have never really materialized. So, when the world is experiencing democratic backsliding and we don't really see this in Africa, it is because those aspects have not really materialized in Africa yet.

Banik                             Let me understand this correctly. So, in the US, in many other parts of the world, there's been this attention on democracies may be dying. There is increased polarisation and debates. And there's also been considerable attention the last few years on the quality of democracy. I mean, some countries are perhaps experiencing lower quality however you understand that term. So, are you then arguing in the book that democratic institutions as they took off the third wave are by large in place on the continent? But what is happening is that African citizens support democracy there. It's not like they're thinking about a different alternative, but the quality of democracy, what democracy is delivering is not up to the mark. So maybe in that sense, it's not backsliding, but it is the system not delivering on its promises. Have I understood you correctly?

Rakner                           I think you're right and I really concur with what you're saying. Also, I think as the Afrobarometer really supports this. Because if you look at African citizens' attitudes towards democracy, that is not in decline. However, in terms of what they see as being supplied, the kind of democracy that's being supplied. There is a growing dissatisfaction. And so, from our perspective in this book, we see this as a kind of a political elite problem. It's the political elites that are not delivering on democracy. And what is it that they are not delivering on? They are not delivering on sharing. And sharing power is sharing insights, providing transparency, providing civil society, media, and so forth with insights. In a sense, even in one of the most democratic star democratisers as Ghana. In our book, we argue that you see a clear elite collusion in terms of maintaining a status quo, which is sort of a relatively limited liberal democracy. Meaning that you have elections every 4th year and parties alternate. But it took 25 years to get a Right to Information Act in place. And every time the constitutional debates come up trying to enlarge rights of civil society, enlarge rights in transparency and insights, whoever is in power is against it. So, while you're in opposition, you're all in favour. Once you get in power, you're all against it. So, the end system is like the political elites guarantee a form of status quo that is a very limited democracy in terms of liberal rights. And so, it's not a backsliding, it's a status quo.

Banik                             I was speaking with Daron Acemoglu the other day on Acemoglu and Robinson's latest book The Narrow Corridor. In that, of course, they argue that the problem in many of these countries, not just in Africa but also elsewhere, is that you don't either have a despotic state or an absence state, and you don't have a shackle state as they call it, but it's more the kind of Paper Leviathan. That you have all the trappings of a state, but the elites in these Paper Leviathan states basically, as you were just saying, don't want to share. They don't want to delegate. They don't want civil society to be more powerful. Because the idea in The Narrow Corridor is that the state and civil society should be running at the same time, running fast, checking each other. And what is happening in many African countries, at least in some of these democracies that are democracies on paper is that you have a state that is unwilling to strengthen civil society. Unwilling to delegate as I was mentioning. And Ghana perhaps is a good example, because you know in that book, they used the example of Nkrumah in Ghana who pursued several policies that were not necessarily in the best interests of economic development. It was more about getting the votes of certain people, generating employment, sharing of resources with particular groups. There may be differing opinions on that, but I think the larger argument you make is really relevant to our discussion today. And that is that you have states and elites who simply want to cling on to power. And this is not just a problem in Africa, but also in many other countries.

Rakner                           First of all, you are just referring to one of my favourite books. We could have another discussion on that one. It's a really interesting argument. There are so many takes on this. So first of all, you have this idea of these states that are overpowering civil society, but they are not overpowering civil society from a point of strength. It's basically from a point of weakness. This is one of the key arguments of The Narrow Corridor as well. It's almost like that bully in the schoolyard, he's not strong, he's not smart. He's not particularly attractive, and he's very insecure. But he's using power to keep everyone down. And in the sense that is how weak African states have emerged since colonialism. Because they are not very strong shells. Being in control of the state is what matters. Winning power is about state power and there is very limited interest in challenging that and really having a strong civil society and strong private sector. Societies where there is a balance between the political state and civil society. And when I talk about civil society, I talk about everything from universities to trade unions to business and private sector. And it's that discrepancy between the state and civil society or this imbalance, that, I think is a key impediment to democratic development.

Banik                             I'm sure that my listeners are interested in understanding the fact that there are several countries on the continent that have been stable democracies for a long time. Ghana is one of them, Botswana, Cape Verde, Mauritius, South Africa, at least for a while now. There are countries where democracy has been firmly entrenched and is working, and these countries are highlighted as successful case studies of democratic consolidation. What is it like for citizens in these countries? We'll come back to maybe some of the other countries. But in these countries that have been long enough democracies. What is your understanding of citizen satisfaction? What are the debates in these countries? Is it about the state being better able to provide services?

Rakner                           To me, it's a huge question. And you could answer it from so many different angles. There's a huge debate about being able to run your own life, being able to run a business, being able to see stability in the future, to actually being able to invest.

Banik                             So, predictability.

Rakner                           Yes, predictability is a really good word. And it's not really anti-state, but it's more by having space within and outside the rooms of the state. And I think a lot of it plays out in party politics and some of the party politics in the more stable democracies have a little bit for the more politically science-oriented background. You see a central periphery growing up. Where one party has been in power for a long time, you see intrust from the countryside or from alternative economic powers for trying to get a seat at the table. And also, a lot of this and a lot of what we talk about predictability is also about a quest for insights for transparency and for mechanisms to control corruption. Because corruption is a killer of just about everything. It's a killer of economic development, but it's also a killer of hope. It breeds cynicism. And it breeds bad leaders because it's all about getting a seat at the table and the old proverb “my time to eat”. And I think so many young people are fed up with corruption, fed up with a lack of transparency and lack of insights into the power corridors.

Banik                             In the book, you're highlighting two sets of issues that in many ways are of concern. One is how leaders, elites, incumbent leaders are using political or even legal institutions to maintain their dominance and preventing corruption scandals from being properly investigated. Any allegations levelled against them are somehow handled in the courts in a very sanitised way. Nothing happens. And this leads to frustration. So that's one set, frustration among citizens. Another issue, and we'll come back to this, is how they manipulate international aid, international financial institutions. So, let's begin with the legal mechanisms. I'm sure my listeners are aware that one of the debates that crop up quite regularly in relation to Africa is related to term limits. So, you always want to stay in power. Because the idea is that you could change the constitution, even though there were term limits in the constitution. Because you have a majority, you try to change it so you can stay on forever. So that's one thing and this leads to this frustration among citizens that we have a democracy and the democratic institutions majority vote in Parliament. All of these together with legal institutions have in many ways been captured. So, we have a paper democracy and leaders keep staying on in power. Are these some of the issues that you refer to when you say that legal mechanisms are hindering these democracies from performing better?

Rakner                           Just to give you an example. Zambia is one of the more relatively successful democracies. They've now had four turnovers in terms of political leaders since 1991. And so, multiparty elections are totally accepted by all parties. There's no question about that, and leaders come, and when leaders lose elections, they even leave. So that's all great. In 1991, when Zambia became a democracy, there were actually very minuscule changes in the Constitution from the Constitution established in the 70s by the one-party leader Kenneth Kaunda. You changed a couple of clauses that included term limits for the president, included multiparty elections, and so forth. But very much else stayed and not least enormous power in the executive office, which means this competition for power is so fierce and there has been like eleven constitutional commissions trying to change the constitution. And it has had very limited success and the changes are actually very small. And this is actually a key problem for young people because they don't see changes. Obviously, term limits are super important. If you don't have term limits, you get supremely old leaders. And Africa has the youngest population in the world and some of the oldest leaders in the world. And this is a conundrum that's a little bit hard to understand. But if you don't have term limits, you don't get rid of leaders there. So, these fights for term limits are one of the key markers of democratic debates. The countries that have maintained the term limits and the ones that have given them all.

Banik                             What you're basically saying is that there isn't the kind of separation of powers in some of these countries that you would like, or citizens would like. That you have constitutions in some of these countries giving too much power to the presidents. So, you have an imbalance between the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. And somehow the presidency is the key thing. And in Malawi, we both study Malawi, the thing that I notice is that when you become the president, you basically control the purse strings of parliament and of the human rights commission and of judges. That gives presidents and the executive enormous influence. So just by controlling the purse string you can get people and other branches of government to act in the way that you want. Is it that separation of powers or the lack of it that is the problem?

Rakner                           The easy answer to that is yes. But back to this this group of scholars that has been working on this project together. Our starting point is the lack of changes, and this enormous power of the executive office. And this lack of change to the position of the executive. Despite 30 years of democracy, despite urbanisation, despite growing education and demands for democracy from a population. And so, we tried to understand it from two angles. The one is the legal angle. Why has it been so difficult to get constitutional changes that ensure separation of power and rights of insights, anti-corruption, civil society rights, media rights, and so forth. Basically, the safeguards of democracy. Why has that been so difficult? And the second element is the political economy aspect of it. How African political elites have used their sovereignty argument towards the international community, donors, and so forth. So, we’re trying to approach this question of the continued executive Big Man politics, so to speak, from a legal constitutional angle and then from a political economy angle. I think the way these two perspectives, the legal angle or the legal mechanisms and the political economy aspects is how they play together is unique in Africa. And it has uniquely run in the same way to keep executive power intact and to make being in power and this competition for office so central.

Banik                             It seems that you're studying Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Very different cases where leaders have either been firmly entrenched in power for 30 years and in some other cases there's been this constant change of guard so to speak. But again, just before we talk about the international dimension, I'm still curious about the law and the courts. How are these institutions used by incumbent elites? Is it a matter of, as I was alluding to earlier, just controlling the money, the perks, the privileges of the people in these institutions that give incumbents some sort of leeway in terms of influencing them? Or are there other things that happen? How is it that law is used strategically by incumbents to cling on to office or to strengthen their position even further?

Rakner                           The fascinating thing about law and legal instruments is that if you want absolute power, like you want to run Oslo or Bergen, like running around the streets with tanks or hitting people on the head is not really working. Using the law, and if you're smart, you can get a lot of the same things done. But it has a kind of veneer of legality. So, controlling other people and sort of keeping other people out of power through the law is a much better way. So, obviously changing the constitution like that's the big game. If you're a leader and you don't feel like leaving office, then changing term limits is one way to go. But there are other more administrative lower-level ways of using courts. Just to give you an example, you have a country like Zambia which has pretty strict tax laws and on paper, every radio station, every newspaper, and so forth should pay taxes. Now, right before an election, you attack one of the most important opposition newspapers, and you use tax law. You don't close it down because you don't like what they say, because that's an infringement on democracy that gets you in trouble. But to say that they haven't paid their taxes and they owe taxes 15 years back. Then you can close them down. Never mind that the state government hasn't paid its taxes either. So, it's this “for my friend, everything for my enemy, the law”. And there are many layers of using the law. From putting in your favourite people on the court to using criminal law against your enemy or using tax law. It becomes an instrument that has a veneer of legality, which makes it more innocence palatable. And it avoids national criticism, it may help you keep the people from going into the streets, but it also keeps the international community off your back. It keeps the donors from putting in sanctions and the UN from putting in sanctions. So, this is why using the law is such a powerful instrument. And it's something we've become more attuned to. But I think, especially from a political science perspective, we focus so much on elections, street-level protest, civil society. That we've kind of had a blindside to what kind of a savvy leader can do with the law? And I think this is one of the things that is changing. The fact that political scientists are focusing much more on law is providing new instruments for understanding power and power relations.

Banik                             And our friend and colleague Siri Gloppen has been doing some great work in this respect. It seems to me you're onto something really fascinating here, because there are several layers as you were saying earlier. So, if one starts with constitutions that give too much power to the executive. The executive comes to power, the president or whoever is in power, whichever party feels that one has to exert dominance over all other actors. You need respect, obedience. You want to crush dissenting voices, so you end up becoming very powerful. Which means that you victimised, you are not very nice to your enemies, political opposition groups. And when you do depart, if you're thrown out, or if you voluntarily leave office, the danger is that you too will be victimised by the next person in power. So, it's this kind of a continuous, vicious cycle, right? You end up not wanting to leave power to protect yourself from being victimised. Because you know, once out of power, there's no guarantee that the next regime is going to look after you and give you all the due respect of being a former president. But here, there are some good stories. I think Ghana is a great example where you haven't seen that kind of victimisation of former presidents. There's been much more of a smooth transition in recent years.

Rakner                           I think one of the greatest scholars, and also the founder of Afrobarometer Gyimah-Obadi. He has really described this well. I think he says the great strength of Ghana is the stability. The stability since the end of the one-party regime to actually agree on power-sharing. And links us to law but not least to the electoral commission, which is structured by law. But he says the flipside of this, these elites being able to agree on a transition is also that you may end up in a situation of what he calls elite collusion. So, elites have an informal agreement on power-sharing. You have one term or maybe two terms and then it's our turn. But there is very little willingness to extend that power to civil society, to media, or to have real constitutional cheques on power. He argues that elite collaboration is wonderful for the stability that we've seen in Ghana, but it's also a limitation of deepening democracy.

Banik                             So, it is political settlements going wrong. It's not working.

Rakner                           In a sense. A political settlement going stale, yeah. I think that's a good term for that.

Banik                             Let's move on to the second aspect in your explanation and the role of international relationships. How some of these incumbent leaders are able to use sovereignty, lack of interference. “Don't preach to us, you guys from the global north. You have no idea. Help us, but don't tell us what to do”. Some of this is fuelled by the increased presence and role of China, which offers a different model of engagement. What are you trying to argue then? Are these incumbent leaders, these elites using the kind of China model or that option that they suddenly have? I mean, a lot of these countries did not have that option before China came in, so now they're basically playing the field. Saying that we don't have to depend on you, we have others. If you want to help us, that's fine. So, is that kind of strategic use of aid donors working then to keep these people in power?

Rakner                           Most definitely, and in many different ways. The study point that we had, instead of asking why democratic backsliding, we thought looking from a participatory aspect. The question should be why isn't there more democracy? Why hasn't Africa democratised more? And then we tuned in on this political elite and how the political elites are playing the game and keeping power to themselves? And the second mechanism that we turn to is how African political elites since postcolonialism have played their international relations? And they've been superbly powerful and forceful in terms of putting these groups up against each other. All the way back to colonialism, it boils down to this argument of the sovereign state and state sovereignty. And it's a superbly powerful argument. You could use it against economic reforms. As both you and I have taught our students for years, states cannot go bankrupt. And that is a really powerful tool, the fact that you cannot go bankrupt. That means you could play donors and financiers up against each other. You can promise a little bit of reform and then drag out on the other end. And this sovereigntist argument works for economic reforms, works for all sorts of democratic reforms as well. And one of the more fascinating things is how you can use maybe not necessarily very powerful groups, and maybe political debates that were not really salient on the national front. But then you create a debate to put donors up as your enemy. It's really fascinating how so many African states have played this LGBT card against Western donors.

Banik                             Uganda is a very good case in point, right?

Rakner                           Uganda and Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe was the first. In this respect, he was a real frontrunner all the way back in the early 1990s. And how you depict a group that has limited support nationally. To be very honest, the great majority of African people are not particularly LGBT-friendly. But it's not necessarily a huge issue unless you want it to become one. So why does suddenly Robert Mugabe say that Western donors want to make all our boys homosexuals? That is to depict that the external people are coming in and they are challenging our sovereignty, they're challenging our right to have our notion of Christianity, our notion of politics. And all through time, whether economic reform, gender reform. African political leaders have been extremely clever at playing their international partners up against each other. China is a prime example from the last 10 years. I think if there is one element of backsliding in terms of democracy in Africa it is western donors' backsliding. Because I think it's got to be blatantly clear that Western donors from the EU, the US, the World Bank, and so forth have backed down on democracy, the liberal aspects of democracy. And there is a big competitor China, who does not really put that many conditionalities on their support. Which has meant that Western donors have backed down from their human rights and democracy agenda, again, causing big problems for civil society across the continent.

Banik                             As you're aware, there's so much attention on how the Global North does not really give much attention to what the Global South wants. The problem of agency is that we often drown the voices of certain countries, certain peoples because we want to promote our values, our solutions. We want to impose them. And so, the role of African agency, be it in relation to China negotiating better deals or in relation to Western donors like Norway, is something that I find to be of much importance. We really should be listening. But what you just said is also highlighting the pitfalls of listening too much and this is a fine balance, right? So, if we go and consult with our colleagues or with anybody really if governments are talking among themselves. And some elected representatives saying this is what we want, this is what my people want. It's very difficult to go against that. Because if you do that then you're undermining agency, then you are actually attacking sovereignty. So, this is an extremely difficult balance to maintain.

Rakner                           You're pinpointing the biggest conundrum of democracy and democracy support or aid at all. I think the key question is whom are you listening to? If you listen to the executive president, or whoever is in power, and the political elites and they say our people do not want. Then, in one respect that's correct. States discuss with states, state leaders negotiate with state leaders. So, from that element that is all about what sovereignty of a nation means. On the other hand, what if the problem is that you have an elite that is holding out power and not really listening to its people? What if you have political elites that are deliberately starving parts of its population in order to maintain power. What if you have very solid survey proof, the Afrobarometer be such, where people are saying we want democracy. We want a strong parliament, or we want a say, we want checks and balances. Whom do you listen to? What is the legitimate voice to listen to? And who has agency?

Banik                             And this is where you've done quite a lot of really interesting work on the role of civil society in many parts of the world. I think you wrote a piece comparing civil society activism in Malawi and Zambia and these are actually two countries that are highlighted as success stories in recent years. In Malawi, the civil society protests actually got rid of a president, even though officially he had won the election. It was sustained. Civil society protests that led to a change. It's another matter that this current regime in Malawi isn't doing much better than the previous one, but the role of civil society there has been crucial. Zambia has had a successful election. There again, there's now growing dissatisfaction.  But the problem for donors, when they listen too much to civil society is then the governments, the executive will say they don't represent the people, you're creating trouble. So, being neutral and listening to some groups who are obviously in opposition to the government is I think getting to be very challenging for Western actors and more so, and I'd like to hear your views on this, I feel that some of our donor agencies don't have the knowledge or the competence to even actually assess the situation on the ground. So, you may end up picking sides without necessarily knowing whether you are picking the correct side in supporting a certain organisation. This is a problem for the Chinese too. They just don't have enough diplomats on the ground. And also, for many Western agencies. I'd like to hear your views on that role of civil society. Do you think in Malawi and Zambia they were able to garner more international attention? They did certain things that led to them being perceived, these civil society organisations, as being more legitimate and thereby challenging whomever they were challenging so that the donors could support them?

Rakner                           I think there are legitimate reasons for supporting civil society from a multinational perspective. Or in donor aid. And I think it's a huge mistake if multilateral collaboration is depicted as just from state to state. I think it's incredibly important knowing that so many of the states that we're dealing with are far less than perfect democracies and are increasingly becoming even less so. Supporting civil society, supporting universities, supporting organisations, and giving them room to grow and to be sustainable is a key role for international aid. This brings me back to where I started saying that I think one part of democracy has come to stay and it has been accepted by most, including political elites. Which is this element of democracy that's linked to alternation of power and elections. What I think is really at stake in this debate about democratic backsliding is all the liberal aspects of democracy. And I think this is where civil society has a bigger role to play than any time before. Superbly not democratic states coming up, such as China, such as Russia. We do need an educated, informed, equipped civil society across the world to challenge this. Because whether it is a poor vaguely facade, democratic regime in Africa with the political elite clinging to power, or superbly equipped Communist Party in China. Or in Norway, a nervous political government that is super scared of covid and imposing new restrictions on its population. These are three examples where we need civil society. We need educated people. We need powerful groups to check power, to look in the books because this is the key element of democracy. Being able to challenge power. And so, if I got to rule the world for a day, I would argue that some wish to have much stronger global governance. And global governance would be about equipping civil society. So, there will be an actual agency forming global governance to civil society across the world. That's not necessarily going through the coffers of a state. Because I think there needs to be a dialogue and there need to be channels that are also not going through the government.

Banik                             I know that you're also interested in how governments can fill their coffers through taxation. So, one of the big problems in the fact that many of these governments we're talking about are not able to provide better services is because they just don't have the money. And there are major problems in taxation and countries like Norway and many others have often been supporting reforms within the tax regimes. Some of these countries have a big informal sector so that itself is a problem, but how one could increase revenue. Linked to what you just said about civil society I think that is also an interesting aspect to highlight for people interested in this topic, and that is that when governments are unable to provide these services, civil society organisations of various kinds actually step in. And this is something you've written a paper with Ellen Lust on this. You actually argue that we've often overlooked the role of churches, of different organisations, NGOs, kinship networks. In filling that gap, maybe you could say a bit about that role that civil society plays when governments don't have the money to provide the services.

Rakner                           This is a topic that I'm really interested in. I think it has a lot to do with how societies may develop. I want to start with an anecdote from back in early 2000. I was doing some commission work for DFID. It was in Tanzania, and it was about how people felt about paying money to the government. To what extent they demanded accountability. It was really sort of ethnographic, sort of shadowing people. Lots of interviews at the local level. It turned out that there was a kind of a hierarchy of concerns. Tax money going to the government in Dar es Salaam, they knew that a lot of that money didn't really come back and there wouldn't be any roads. What could you do? It's pretty much donor money anyway. Then it was money to the local government, like the money they paid to the school boards. They realised that there was corruption, and they were more concerned about that because where is the school, where is the roof, where are the books? But the real issue of accountability was the church fees. So, every Sunday they paid tithe in the church and every Sunday the sermon started with a tale of how the money collected last week had been spent. So last week we collected so and so many shillings and it has been spent so and so. What we noticed was that people were taking notes. People were actually really taking notes. Because that is my money. I paid that money, and this is in my church. I want to know exactly what the church did. So, this sort of gave me a little bit of an insight on how it's all about taxes that are earned. How important that is. And how countries have had a lot of development. Aid doesn't feel that close to heart. And I think the study that you referred to, which Alan I called the other side of taxation was really about arguing that when you're concerned with state-building and you're concerned with development and with financing of the state, you really need to look into all these other forms of financing that are going on. Because Africa is developing rapidly and it's urbanising rapidly. And this shallow state at the top is not keeping track of this. Dar es Salaam is not able to provide its citizens outside the core city centre with water and with electricity. So, all this is happening by non-state actors and civil society working with it. And so, back to your question. Development is not going to happen from the state and down. Development is going to happen from a lot more diverse forms and I do think we need to rewrite a lot of our textbooks in economics, especially the sort of history of taxation. Because almost everything we learn about taxation is that this is like the European state was founded on taxation, people being asked to pay to the kings demanding representation. We're seeing a whole different kind of development. We're seeing a digital world. We're seeing not necessarily so much bypassing the state as working alongside the state. And this is again back to my focus on civil society. And I also think from a financing point of view, we really need to have a much more diverse notion of who generates money for what.

Banik                             Lisa, this was great fun. Thank you so much for coming on my show today.

Rakner                           And thank you Dan and thanks for having me and thanks for this great conversation. I look forward to the rest of the podcast to come.