House-Soremekun, Bessie and Toyin Falola, (Eds.). Globalization and Sustainable Development in Africa

By Capshaw, Norman Clark | Journal of Third World Studies, Fall 2013 | Go to article overview

House-Soremekun, Bessie and Toyin Falola, (Eds.). Globalization and Sustainable Development in Africa


Capshaw, Norman Clark, Journal of Third World Studies


House-Soremekun, Bessie and Toyin Falola, (eds.). Globalization and Sustainable Development in Africa. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011.

This book is a series of essays by various authors on the general theme of globalization and sustainable development in Africa. The book is divided into four parts: (I) Globalization and Development; (2) Localities, Nations, and Globalization; (3) Industrial and Financial Networking; and (4) Insecurity and Conflicts, with each section containing four or five essays.

According to the editors, "[the] collection enhances the state of knowledge on globalization with regard to sub-Saharan African countries in several important ways. First, the individual chapters interrogate both the theoretical and the empirical aspects of African economic and sustainable development initiatives in the era of globalization ... Second ... this volume focuses on three levels: international, national, and local. Third, [it uses] insightful case studies of African countries that demonstrate creative and indigenous-based models of entrepreneurship." (pp. 4-5)

However, the focus of the essays seems a bit diffused. Outside of globalization, it is difficult to find a common theme running through all of the essays.

For example, in Chapter 4, Stephen D. Kpinpuo focuses on education, good governance, and self-help as essential to Africa's globalization and development challenges. Rubin Patterson, in Chapter 5, focuses on renewable energy, engaging the African diaspora community, and sustainable entrepreneurship. Karen Bravo, Chapter 6, focuses on the issue of the liberalization of trans-border labor. Gracia Clark, Chapter 7, focuses on female entrepreneurs in Ghana's Asante society, and Mary J. Osirim looks at female entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe in Chapter 8. In Chapter 10, Christopher Warburton argues that dollarization (or the use of convertible foreign currencies) offers greater potential for African states' economic future.

Though diffuse, the essays do contain some points of consensus, and some wise lessons for both African states and developed nations to take note of. For example, almost all authors mention the IMF's Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) and most conclude that they have had negative effects for the poorest in African countries.

Second, most of the authors view globalization in a positive light, even viewing it as inevitable. As John Ojo notes (Chapter 15), quoting Harold James, "the big ideological debate about globalization is largely over ... The authentic voice of anti-globalization is now that of a very different global vision, that of Islamic fundamentalism." (p. 346) Some of the other authors also take this view, regarding Islamism as a reactionary force to the inevitability of cultural changes that come along with globalization. …

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