Development Strategies in Africa: Current Economic, Socio-Political, and Institutional Trends and Issues

By Aguibou Y. Yansane | Go to book overview

1

The Development of Development
Thinking in Africa: The Theory
Revisited

AGUIBOU Y. YANSANÉ

The purpose of this chapter is to review the evolution of development thinking in Africa. It started with colonial capitalism directed by mercantile and colonial commercial companies. Then it moved into neoclassical economic theory based on the behavior of individual producers and consumers. Later it was based on theories explaining the cyclical instability of capitalism. Elsewhere, it was based on socialism after independence. The purpose is also to show the inadequacy of development economics invented in the 1940s and 1950s in response to the decolonization of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Problems involved in restructuring some of the economies are pointed out. Also noted is how development economics separated from orthodox economics in 1950, when scholars realized that orthodox economics would not suffice in analyzing the problems of Third World countries. At least three periods can be delineated. In the first period, the economic growth era of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s was defined in terms of average per capita output. The second era can be called the "growth with equity" period starting in the mid-1970s through 1980, called forth by the New International Economic Order (NIEO). The third era, dating from the Lagos Plan of Action in 1981 to the early 1990s is concerned with the production of guidelines and measures based on the collective self-reliance and for the establishment of a new economic order encouraging continental, regional, and supranational groupings. The continued shift in the evolution of development thinking shows the impact of Third World countries in their process of international enfranchisement, especially African countries. Some of Africa's centered strategies as well as those strategies derived from Africanist scholars and in international institutions are highlighted.

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