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There are structural reasons for this. Many states were created by colonial powers, artificially uniting different ethnicities under one common roof, a problem returned to in the next paragraph. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast to many in Asia, lack the cultural heritage of a state overarching familial and clan structures (e.g. Wimmer 2018). Top-down state- and nation-building after the end of European colonisation was a moderate success: central governments not penetrating their peripheries, abuse of political power, and widespread corruption are keywords associated with the phenomenon of unsuccessful or even ‘failed states’. Failed states, however, may be the wrong term and just an episode. European countries needed centuries for their nation-building and were not exposed to the global stress of ever faster socio-economic modernisation. Seeking to improve the political structures of developing countries in the long run, decentralisation or and federalisation have become important concepts for developing agencies (Kälin 1999; Litvack et al. 1998; Linder 2002).

-Swiss Democracy by Wolf Linder

I have a question about the last sentence of this paragraph and particularly about the word "developing agencies".

  1. Which variant is true for the last sentence

    a) decentralisation have become important concept by seeking to improve ...

    b) seeking, decentralisation and federalisation have become ...


  1. What does the author refer to by saying "developing agencies"? To developing countries by other word? Or something else? Because I couldn't find any "political" definition for this term.
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  • It can't be a) because the subject (decentralisation) is in the singular while the verb (have become) is plural.It should be a) …decentralism has become an important concept..... I'm wondering if you copied the options correctly.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:24

2 Answers 2

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Wolf Lindser

More recently it is evident that traditional leaders have regained relevance, not only because development agencies are looking for possible partners at the local level, but also because many central governments are recognizing their important role in local governance.

Other forms of participatory preference aggregation or participatory planning, widely used by development agencies, can be adapted and introduced at the local level for both traditional structures and local governments.

Traditional Structure and Local Governance for Local Development

AND, for example:

Democratisation, Rule of Law and Development Wolf Linder, André Bächtiger, Georg Lutz *

  • donor agencies
  • aid agencies
  • development agencies

Co-operation in these fields is the traditional business of development agencies.

Challenging Common Assumptions on Corruption and Democratisation

"[...] decentralisation and federalisation have become important concepts for development agencies." It just means that those concepts are important for development agencies, i.e. international agencies that promote development.

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Seeking to improve the political structures of developing countries in the long run, decentralisation or and federalisation have become important concepts for developing agencies

In this context developing agencies are agencies whose role is to promote development

The writer thinks that decentralisation and or federalisation have become important for those agencies in seeking to improve the political structures of developing countries.

If it is of any comfort to you I think that is a very difficult sentence to deconstruct and the writer could have put it more simply.

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  • Sorry, this is wrong. No doubt about it.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 16:43

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