Third Worlds: The Politics of the Middle East and Africa

Third Worlds: The Politics of the Middle East and Africa

Third Worlds: The Politics of the Middle East and Africa

Third Worlds: The Politics of the Middle East and Africa

Synopsis

Third Worlds focuses attention on the relationship between the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, examining the alternative Islamic development agenda for Africa which, in part, mirrors that of the the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The grouping of the Middle East and Africa within the umbrella term 'Third World', has masked not only the contrasts and contradictions of the two areas but also their cultural and historic similarities. This study exlores: * the contrast between Western and Islamic notions of democracy * the contrast between Western International aid agencies and the Islamic Development Bank * Islamic economics and the potential for reviving the more impoverished African states Once removed from the 'Third World', the Middle East and Africa display changing power relationships and different pictures emerge: ones of dominance and subservience, of aid and development strategies, of religious aggrandisement and revivalism, of tension and conflict and cultural and religious affinities. By adopting a different approach, Third Worlds changes our thinking about the Third World in general and the Middle East and Africa in particular.

Excerpt

The Third World has always been a category of contrasts. Yet academics and practitioners have sought to establish a common set of determinants, e.g. historic, economic, imperialist, which would provide an understanding of, and partly explain the area’s apparent endemic political instability. Within this interpretation the relationship between the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa has been placed in the post-colonial setting of newly independent nations, artificially created by past colonial rivalry and sharing similar political features: military rule, one-party control, authoritarian government and so on. However, tensions arose within that relationship in the 1970s and critics suggested that poor Third World states had become client states of the richer Third World countries. the oil-rich Middle Eastern states distanced themselves from the detritus of economic malfunction and political instability of the poorer African nations, and were capable of creating a new Economic Order funded by petro-dollars.

The international system has changed radically since that debate and in the evolving globalism of the new political environment it is necessary to re-examine the relationship between these two regions. the focus of this study’s attention is the alternative Islamic development agenda for Africa which, in part, mirrors that of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. in a sense, the grouping of the two regions within the umbrella term, the Third World, has masked not only the contrasts and contradictions of the two areas but also their historic and cultural similarities. Islamic influences in sub-Saharan Africa, then, are defined as political, religious, economic, regional and cultural.

This work is divided into main sections: historical, cultural/ political, economic/international and conflict, principally to enable . . .

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