Dependency redux: why Africa is not rising

Whilst numerous accounts claim that the continent is on the rise, driven by high growth rates and supposed better governance and economic policies, Africa’s dependent position in the global economy is being reified. This article seeks to analyse the dynamics which are accompanying a notional ‘rise’ of Africa but which are actually contributing to the continent being pushed further and further into underdevelopment and dependency. It calls into question the superficial accounts of a continent on the move or that declare that the continent has somehow turned a definitive page in its history.

A ‘rise’ based on an intensification of resource extraction whilst dependency deepens, inequality increases and de-industrialisation continues apace, cannot be taken seriously. A model based on growth-for-growth’s sake has replaced development and the agenda of industrialisation and moving Africa up the global production chain has been discarded. Instead, Africa’s current ‘comparative advantage’ as a primary commodity exporter is celebrated and reinforced. History repeats itself.



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