Problems in Africa
Best 4 Paradigms for African Economic Development. Africa, and more specific south of Sahara, has known many problems in the past, and right now it is undergoing through a very hard moment. The worst form, of most of the world’s problems, is found in the continent. Many of the problems were inherited in the wake of independence, and were fueled to their most awful form during the famous development crisis of the 1980’s. The crisis left the continent in a very bad shape economically.
The continent is home to 34 of the World’s 48 poorest countries and 24 of the 32 countries ranked lowest in human development index (World Bank, 2005). Being so poor, the African countries are not well equipped to engage on equal levels with the rest of the world. Africa is hit so hard by globalization mainly negatively than any other regions of the world. All form of movements have advantages and disadvantages, and so Africa gains as well from the current world movement of Globalization, only that the benefits are very much limited compared to other parts of the world.
In the actual global economic, social and cultural movements, we need a pattern to explain and show how globalization actually works. Since we do not have a particular model to illuminate globalization then we refer to this period as a paradigmatic crisis one. To save the day, I propose the interdependency theory as the pattern to follow in the age of globalization so as to save the continent.
The many problems in the continent are sources of fear, despair discouragement and all that is negative, but that is just one side of the coin. What does the second side have to offer? It gives hope and the rise of mother Africa. Here, we have the possible solutions to the many problems, in other words we say that despite the many tears on the chicks of the Africans, there are also reasons to be happy.
Interdependence, which invites different countries of the globe to work together, will indeed be an answer to the struggle of the continent. The continent has always been working with other continents of the world, but the type of their relation has in many instances been that of dependence, the African countries depended heavily on the developed countries. The call now, is that the spirit of working together continues but in an interdependence manner.
Sufferings in Africa
Africa knows all sorts of problems. It has experienced slavery, colonialism, civil wars, dictatorships, famine, poverty, diseases and more especially now the HIV/AIDS epidemic. (Mukama Wa Ngugi 2006). These and many other problems hinder the growth of the continent in all spheres of development; political, economic, social and cultural. In all cases, economic and social transformation in the continent faced immense internal and external obstacles in the period after independence. The economies of the newly independent countries were weak and fragmented, reflecting centuries of colonial subjugation and exploitation.
Few foundations had been laid for accelerated development. Africa inherited a very poor economy from their colonial masters; there were places in the continent where there was literally no power, transport, communications. Africa had suffered from a colonial policy that deliberately inhibited industrial development and promoted heavy reliance on the export of primary products (The challenge to the South 1990). The infrastructure for developing the resources of the people through education and training was also grossly inadequate. The colonial regime did not bother to educate people so that they could develop their intellectual capacities; instead they educated people so as to meet or satisfy their needs and requirements.
Traditional or new approach
The poor inherited economy failed to combat the self-declared war on three enemies as Nyerere of Tanzania put it: ignorance, poverty and diseases. There was that intention and willingness to fight the war, but good intentions alone are not enough, one needs a good economy. The economy of the African countries was a bit stable towards the end of 1970, and this would have provided a base for improved living standard and human development. For this potential improvement to be turned into a permanent and self-sustaining reality some corrective measures would have been necessary. The corrective measures are found in the programme that came to be known as Structural Adjustment Programme (SAPs)- (The Challenge to the South, 1990)
However, it should be known and emphasized that the crisis that struck Africa in the 1980s had many causes: the drought resulted in one of the worst famines Africa has known in this century. The fall in the prices of Africa’s major commodities made foreign exchange become very scarce and very expensive. A black market for foreign exchange became wide spread. Countries could not import enough goods and could also not produce enough essential goods domestically. So, there were queues everywhere and domestic prices rose, almost every day. Life was expensive and national currencies were nearly valueless. Being in such a hard situation African countries sought for financial assistance from the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
External Economic bodies
The WB and the IMF became primary donors to most of the African countries and quite naturally they made such assistance available on their own terms. To qualify for loans, borrowing countries would have to adopt (SAPs). These SAPs were mainly concerned with policies that would ensure that African Countries would first of all, reduce the deficits on external accounts and, secondly, achieve a balanced government budget (Adebayo, 1991).
The question now that we need to ask ourselves is after following all those approaches have African countries made a substantial step toward true economic development in their countries or the continent is reversing? We need your input on the matter, please do share with us your input on what proper paradigm for Africa to attain true economic development.