David Henley is professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies at Leiden University. He obtained his doctorate from the Australian National University and has worked as lecturer at Griffith University, as researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), and as research fellow at the National University of Singapore. His fields of interest are the politics, history and geography of South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia. From 2006 to 2012 he was a coordinator of Tracking Development, an international research project designed to compare Asian and African development trajectories with a view to identifying practical policy lessons for development and development cooperation in Africa.
'This book addresses one of the top global issues of our time. It does so eloquently, with impeccable logic and drawing on a rich body of comparative evidence spanning sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. It deserves to be carefully read and widely discussed, especially by those shaping policies for the coming decades in Africa.' David Booth, Overseas Development Institute, co-author of Governance for Development in Africa 'David Henley has written a brilliant synthesis of why countries in South-East Asia have become much more prosperous over the last half century, whereas countries in sub-Saharan Africa have not. Henley's analysis of the rich material offers a new, intriguing interpretation of one of the most pressing issues in the world of development. From the first page to the last, Asia-Africa Development Divergence provides fascinating reading.' Roel van der Veen, University of Amsterdam, and author of What Went Wrong With Africa. 'This book brings readers back to where the development debate started in the 1950s: what developmental role can a state play, with adequate policies and dedicated implementation practices, and what will be needed to make state elites play that role? Would this be possible in current-day "emerging Africa"? Although the answers given may not convince everyone, they do bring the debate a step further.' Ton Dietz, Professor of African Development and Director of the African Studies Centre, Leiden 'The comparative paths of development in South-East Asia and Africa raise important questions about the necessary conditions for economic transformation. David Henley offers a thoughtful and balanced explanation for the divergence between these two regions, focusing on strategic choices by leaders and pragmatic politics in implementation. This book will have wide resonance for those interested in the fortunes of these regions and the broad theoretical understanding of development.' Peter Lewis, Director of the African Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University `Henley makes an undeniably compelling case with his congruent and rational argument for the primacy of rural and pro-poor development, its precedence over industrialization, and ultimately, its instrumentalism in sustaining economic growth in Southeast Asia ... an accessible read for a wide audience ranging from students of development studies to industry practitioners.' Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 'This is an insightful book comparing the development trajectories of Indonesia and Nigeria, Malaysia and Kenya, and Vietnam and Tanzania ... a solid, pragmatic, readable piece of work.' Population and Development Review