Globalization and Africa’s Economic Development: A Historical and Economic Analysis of Africa’s Position in the Global Market

Authors : Egoh Modi Aziz

Volume/Issue : Volume 4 - 2019, Issue 8 - August

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The position of Africa in the global economy is lop-sided. Two Competing sets of arguments provide an explanation of the present position of Africa’s economic status in the global market. The one, the conventional Bretton Woods’ wisdom has it that Africa’s stagnation and decline was caused primarily by poor policies and the excessive role of the state. The other, associated with the work of Geoffrey Kay argues that the creation of the world market was also a process of destruction and unequal development. The debate on the causes of Africa’s marginalization and slow growth has offered different explanations apart from the two already mentioned. One such argument is that Africa’s marginalization in the global market is as a result of the “curse of the tropics,” and that most African countries are distant from the coast and landlocked. Another set of commentators are of the view that “it is capitalism, both world and national, which produced underdevelopment in Africa in the past, and which still generates underdevelopment in the present. This paper attempts to investigate the reasons for Africa’s marginalization in the global market. Anchored within the paradigm of the African political economy, the paper proposes to tease out the interesting conundrum between two opposing sets of arguments as to why Africa is persistently found at the marginal pole of the global market. Apart from the two perspectives already mentioned, this paper establishes a third stream of arguments, and this is basically that, Africa’s stagnation and decline have been caused by what Collier and Gunning have usefully grouped as policy and exogenous destiny on the one hand, and the endogenous and external factors on the other. The aim of this paper is to discuss with a view to assessing the relative strengths of both arguments and to assert the importance of the third in the debate. In analyzing the present stagnation and decline of Africa’s position in the world market, it is important to take into consideration the historical context of the process. The researcher has used secondary sources and a qualitative approach in analyzing relevant information pertaining to the paper.

Keywords : Africa, Economy, Development, Economic Marginalization, Global Market.


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