Seminar Tutor: Dr JR Payne
Word Count: 1,999 words
Evaluate the Prospects for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2025.
Over the past decade, sub-Saharan Africa, a sub-continent often regarded as inferior in the global political field (Okumu, 2002: 23), has experienced a period of considerable economic growth and development (Aderinwale and Ajayi, 2010: 1; Manson, 2012), but there is still a long way to go (Brown, 2012: 1889-90; Schmidt, 2008: 23). If development continues in a similar trend, by 2025 poverty and inequality should have fallen, healthcare and education will be more accessible and Africa could be seen as a competing continent in world politics (IMF, 2012: 65), but there are many obstacles that could prevent this. The future of sub-Saharan Africa is highly dependent on the role of governments and institutions on a national, regional and global level, taking into account Africa’s past and present (Clarke, 2012: 5; Okumu, 2002: 21). Concentrating on the “mutually constituting and changing relationship” between structure and agency (Brown, 2012: 1890), this paper will first consider the national impact, focusing on problems within countries, their regimes and leadership styles and how these issues need to be tackled to sustain economic growth. Looking at inter-African affairs, the importance of unity between countries, and the emergence of nationalism, is highlighted, concentrating specifically on the role of the African Union (AU) over the last decade and into the future. Finally, this essay will consider African progress on an international scale, addressing the important role of China, both in aid and as a source of hope for Africa (Grimm and Wenping, 2102: 209) and the significance of international trade, aid donors and the influence of worldwide organisations in sub-Saharan Africa’s future. Appreciating that growth relies on both internal and external factors (World Bank, 2000: 23), this essay will argue as Okumu (2002: 205) did, that there is still “economic space and possibilities for recovery and renewal”, if existing problems are addressed in the right way.
To analyse sub-Saharan Africa as a whole starts first with addressing individual countries. With each country experiencing different levels of economic stability and all run under different governments, it is difficult to make a projection for sub-Saharan Africa’s future in its entirety (Lundsgaarde, 2012: 3). Considering two extremities, Botswana is a country that has experienced high levels of economic and political stability over the last few decades (Brown and Kaiser, 2007: 1133), whilst Zimbabwe, with a weak government, soaring rates of inflation and low levels of GDP per capita, has experienced the opposite (Thomson, 2010: 269). With this in mind, one of the major areas Africa needs to address is governance (Clarke, 2012: 204; Fosu, 1992: 838; Ikejiaku, 2008: 5), structure, and further to this, the weak relationship between government and civilian, if she is going to progress (Bratton and Chang, 2006: 1063; Herbst and Mills, 2006: 5; Thomson, 2010: 263). A major obstacle within countries is the reliance in the past on natural resources and trade to promote economic growth (Collier, 2002: 2), and as Alden (2007: 126-127) argues, to sustain this growth in the future, countries will need to focus on other development strategies. The role of NGOs in Africa also plays an integral part in the progress of political, economic, social and cultural advancement (Lekorwe and Mpabanga, 2007: 7), including healthcare issues, infrastructure development and gender hierarchies (Shivji, 2000: 20). Structures both governmental and non-governmental are integral in guiding sub-Saharan Africa to increased wealth and social well-being by 2025.
To first tackle the issue of governance, blame has been placed in both constitutions and individual leaders (Chabal, 2002: 454). Since independence, African countries have adopted different...