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

By Aguibou Y. Yansane | Go to book overview

Part VI

CONCLUSION

In the international arena, Africa might actually have been better off during the Cold War bipolar world, because of the two camps heightened consciousness of its position and plight in relation to each of their respective socioeconomic goals. Although most of the new African nations chose the path of nonalignment, they were unable to avoid some form of substantive interaction because of the nature of the colonial legacy and their substantial dependence on industrialized countries and great powers. The result was the intense battle for control of Africa between the United States and the Soviet Union and a period of relative economic and sociopolitical stability. With the breakdown of the old Soviet Union came a relative continental disengagement of the great powers. Africa no longer held the role of importance it once held in the eyes of the West. Also, the Eastern European countries are now in competition with the struggling African states for the limited sources flowing from these very same places.

From the use of Western money to aid the development of Africa to the emulation of the Eastern bloc's uniparty "socialism" as a form of legitimate government, the African perspective was colored by the bipolarity of the world in which it existed. The question to ask is while Africans had their political existence partially directed by overwhelming outside forces, now that these forces appear to be retracting their talons, will Africa be able to lead itself? The paradox remains that Africa's colonial legacy as the target of outsider intervention has left it struggling in a world often defined by Western ideologies and perspectives, which it somehow understands, but which may not be compatible with its own orientation. This is what the Organization of African Unity's Lagos Plan for Action seems to have realized. Perhaps too well to state explicitly that Africa was approaching the problem of development the wrong way by furthering the colonial model. What the Lagos Plan of Action proposed

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