Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai Wins Gerti Hesseling Prize, 2017

Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai Wins Gerti Hesseling Prize, 2017
Aug 31, 2017

Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai has been awarded the prestigious Gerti Hesseling Prize for 2017. He won the award based on his article titled ‘The politics of development under competitive clientelism: insights from Ghana’s education sector’ published in African Affairs Journal. Published by Oxford University Press, the African Affairs Journal is the highest-ranked Area Studies journal in the world, as measured by Impact Factor.

The Gerti Hesseling Prize is an award for the best journal article by an African scholar published in the leading African Studies journals in Europe. The award entails a sum of € 500, plus a contribution of €1,000 towards the winner’s travel and upkeep costs at the Annual European Conference on African Studies where the prize is awarded.  The Gerti Hesseling Prize is awarded after an intense competition where nominations are first sought from several leading European-based research centres and African studies journals, after which a jury is constituted to select the best article from the nominations.

Below is the abstract of the article that won Dr. Abdulai the award.
Debates over whether democracy or political clientelism would drive the politics of development in Africa have increasingly given way to more nuanced readings that seek to capture the dynamic interplay of these forms of politics. However, most current analyses struggle to identify the specific causal mechanisms through which politics shapes the actual distribution of resources. A political settlements approach, which emphasises the distribution of ‘holding power’ – the ability to engage and survive in political struggles – within ruling coalitions, and how this shapes institutional functioning, can bring greater clarity to these debates. Our analysis shows that patterns of resource allocation within Ghana's education sector during 1993–2008 were closely shaped by the incentives generated by Ghana's competitive clientelistic political settlement, which overrode rhetorical concerns with national unity and inclusive development. This had particularly negative implications for the poorest northern regions, which have lacked holding power within successive ruling coalitions.
In celebration of this award, African Affairs has made the article freely downloadable to all via this link https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adv071.
Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Administration & Health Services Management at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK. He is the coordinator of the UGBS Seminar, Working Papers and Policy Briefs Series.
The UGBS congratulates Dr. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai for winning such a prestigious award.

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