Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Obiora C. Okafor


This dissertation investigates how development justice can be realized through an international accountability praxis that is grounded on the core principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, one that recognizes the imperative of direct and distinct accountability of the World Bank and the IMF for their development practices. Empirically, amid the intensification of human rights deprivations and mounting development injustices in the Global South, the dominant development praxis has been typified by the marked absence of direct and distinct accountability of international financial institutions. The normative frameworks of international accountability in the realm of development are institutionally weak and assume a statist outlook, delegitimizing any attempt to locate the causes of inegalitarian development outcomes in the character of the global development policy system. And yet, the global policy system has a significantly determinative, manipulating and subordinating character on the national development outcomes. This dissertation discerns that through legal doctrines and traditions that it constructs and reconstructs, international law tends to sanction, rationalize and legitimize accountability avoidance, disconnection, and obstruction, particularly when international financial institutions are the objects of censure in development policymaking and practice. It is this quality and architecture that render the functionalities of extant accountability regimes unsuitable and ill-adapted to aid the securement of the kind of development justice foreseen by the right to development norm. Simply, contemporary regimes cannot assure the protection of people in the Global South against harms causally linked to the interventions of the World Bank and IMF. Responding to this feature, this dissertation proposes that development accountability thought and practice must be contextually-aware and sensitive to the rights in question. Thus, it resorts to the core element of the right to development to participate in, and contribute to, development to propose what I call participatory accountability from below in international law. Participatory accountability offers the most pragmatic approach, premises the imperative of direct and distinct accountability of international financial institutions, recognizes Third World agency, autonomy and resistance in development practices, and adds into the repertoire of international law tools with which the Third World can confront development injustices.


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