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Disillusionment and Dilemma

  • Jong-Dae ParkEmail author
Open Access
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, the author sets out on a journey to unlock the mystery behind Africa’s development by putting this complex issue in perspective. He traverses history and zooms in on the great ‘African paradox’, the persistent discrepancy between Africa’s perceived goals and the non-conformant reality: nation-building vs. a weak sense of nation; development vs. dependency; globalization vs. lack of industrial development. Using an illustration that conceptualizes Africa’s paradoxical development path, the chapter elaborates on the nature and consequences of the dilemmas as well as the international dynamics involved.

My Encounters with Africa

There is a famous saying in Korea that with the passage of a decade, even rivers and mountains change. Over time, things are expected to change, and for the better. Sub-Saharan Africa is so blessed with abundant natural resources, fertile soils and beautiful weather, and it attracts so many foreign visitors who come and marvel at the unexpected. You can see a lot of dynamism in the capitals, but the vast majority of the ordinary people remain poor, to the bewilderment and disappointment of many. With globalization and business opportunities, international development assistance, advances in technology, etc., one would think that the ‘great convergence’ would also apply in Africa.

My early encounter with Africa was a story of fascination and disillusion, and to this day Sub-Saharan Africa largely remains a land of mystification and paradox. I still remember how surprised we were when we first came to Africa. As a teenager, when I placed my first step on African soil in 1973, I was charmed by the unexpected. My father, who was a diplomat at that time, was posted to Uganda and our family stopped over Nairobi, Kenya, for a couple of days before heading to Uganda. We were struck by the orderliness, cleanliness and level of development of Nairobi compared to Seoul.

This was not what we had imagined Africa to be. Kampala, which was rather modest compared to Nairobi, was nonetheless very attractive. It was a beautiful city full of gardens and greenery, sitting on the rolling hills under the fabulous blue sky, and it had a number of good hotels like the International Hotel (now called the Sheraton Kampala Hotel), which is famous for its swimming pool, which was frequented by then President Idi Amin. A scene in the Hollywood film The Last King of Scotland (2006), which tells a tale of a Scottish doctor who arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to serve as Idi Amin’s personal physician, was also filmed at this swimming pool.

Just before we departed Korea, I and my older brothers were scared of going to Africa and watched, of our own accord, the film Mondo Cane in a downtown Seoul cinema. This was to mentally ‘prepare’ ourselves for the worst in Africa. The movie is a documentary of all the horrible things like cannibalism that happen in Africa and elsewhere in the world, but to our relief, we did not come across anything like that. At the time, there was not much difference in the per capital income of South Korea, Uganda and Kenya ($278, $133 and $142 respectively in 1970). 1 Economic indicators aside, the actual quality of life and even some facilities and infrastructure in these African capitals looked better than that of Korea. Politically, however, in Uganda, needless to say it was trying times under the infamous Idi Amin.

The advantage of being a teenager is that you can be carefree in respect of many things, including politics, which can be left to adults to worry about. The best thing about Uganda was its beautiful weather all year round. The weather then was clearly better than now, being more moderate and predictable, without the climate change effect that we are currently seeing. I enjoyed the natural environment and the kindness of the natives, and the merry moments with my family and friends, like when we even went on a safari tour to Murchison Falls National Park and fishing on the Victoria Lake.

What was also unexpected was the level of education in Uganda. When I entered Aga Khan Middle School, I could see the marked difference between this school and the school I went to back in Korea. We were taught with Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press textbooks, and the science classes—physics, chemistry and biology—were all conducted in laboratory rooms. My English teacher was native Irish and the French teacher was native French. Just a few hundred metres away from my school towered the Makerere University, at that time one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.

That was my early life in Africa. A couple of years later, we departed for Turkey, but the time I spent in Uganda left a profound and lasting imprint on me. Much later, I entered the Korean Foreign Service and the first time that I engaged in work on Africa was when I was stationed at Washington, DC as a political section officer. Besides the Korean Peninsula and East Asia, I covered the Middle East and Africa.

It was in 2001 that I returned to Africa, this time to Côte d’Ivoire. For the first time in its history since independence, a military coup was launched in the country in 1999 by General Robert Guéï and political unrest ensued. Laurent Gbagbo defeated General Guéï in the presidential election held in October 2000 and it looked as if peace would be restored. As I approached Abidjan, the capital, and saw its skyline unfold before my eyes, I could see why it was called the ‘Paris of Africa’ or ‘little Manhattan’. But in September 2002, a mutiny by disgruntled soldiers sparked a civil war, engulfing the country in chaos and uncertainty. I witnessed how a country that was long regarded as a beacon of stability and prosperity in Africa with comparatively good institutions, infrastructures and sound economy could crumble so easily. All this was a good learning experience for me to understand the fragility of African states and the dynamics of external influence in the region.

In 2006, I was working on the President’s African tour to Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria in the office of the President. It was during this tour, when we were in Nigeria, that ‘Korea’s Initiative for Africa’s Development’ was announced, the first of its kind for Korea. The visit to Algeria in particular was extraordinary and unforgettable, and it inspired me to seriously contemplate Korea’s soft power.

Then in 2010, when I was in Rome, I applied for the position of the head of our mission to be re-established in Uganda. My government decided to reopen the embassy in Kampala that had been closed down in 1994 and I took a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to become the head of the diplomatic mission to the country that you have always reminisced about, but never thought you would return to. When I first heard that the position was open, I still needed some time to think about it and to consult with my family. Obviously, physically setting up an embassy is a really challenging task, especially in places like Uganda, a landlocked country of Sub-Saharan Africa. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it would be a wise choice. I made the decision to return to Uganda and there was no turning back.

On 18 May 2011, I returned to Uganda for the first time in 36 years. As the British Airways plane was hovering over Lake Victoria, approaching Entebbe Airport, my heart started to beat faster. I was anxiously staring out the window. It was a dream come true and I couldn’t wait to see what Uganda looked like after all those years. Coming out of the airport, moving to Kampala, I saw that there were so many more vehicles, but that the road has not been widened at all, and its condition had deteriorated significantly, with potholes and torn-off edges that I didn’t see back in the 1970s.

Then there was an unbelievable traffic bottleneck of about 10 kilometres into central Kampala. It was Monday morning, making matters worse. Boda-boda motorcycle taxis and Matatu public taxis, along with other passenger cars and trucks, flooded and converged on roundabouts and crossroads as we were approaching the city. I don’t know how long we were stuck in the traffic just a few kilometres away from downtown Kampala. I have not seen such chaos in my life. The total disorderliness on the outskirts of the city made me wonder whether this was the main gateway to the centre of the capital.

I sensed that something must have been going wrong for a long time for the situation to have come to this. When our car finally mounted the hills of Nakasero, things got a lot better, but still I couldn’t quite catch a glimpse of the clean and orderly downtown that I used to see 36 years ago. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we were so exhausted. Apparently, population growth and concentration, deterioration of the physical infrastructure, environmental degradation in urban areas, etc. are common phenomena in the developing world. But it was not what I had expected to see. Koreans are used to fast improvement and development, and we tend to take it for granted that with the passing of time, things gets better. What I felt this day was a sober reminder that in Sub-Saharan Africa, some kind of deep-seated problems persist and that they needed to be identified and addressed.

But other than the terrible traffic situation and poorly maintained roads, the nature of Uganda is most attractive and visitors soon get to understand why Winston Churchill named Uganda ‘the Pearl of Africa’. Outside the central urban district, the beautiful, lush greenery unfolds wherever you go. I couldn’t forget when I travelled for the first time to western Uganda. On the way through the Mbarara District, I saw so many wonderfully manicured plantations and rich livestock farms, and densely planted vegetables and fruits growing in red and black fertile soils. It made you wonder whether this is really Africa and not somewhere in Europe.

Each way you look at it, you sense that for whatever reason, huge opportunities have been lost, but still there is great potential for growth and prosperity. Someone said that living in perennial poverty amid such an abundance and riches of natural gifts, when you have just about everything you need, is tantamount to a sin.

Afterwards, to add a little more to our adventure, we drove deep into the southwestern end of Uganda bordering Rwanda and, from there, ventured into Rwanda in order to arrive at Kigali. How the city infrastructure was managed was so impressive, and what I saw there was really an eye opener and renewed my hope for Africa. On the contrary, my visits to South Sudan after the infighting broke out there has reminded me that still in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, even the most basic political, social and economic conditions required to run a state are seriously deficient.

Fast forward to 2018, as if almost seven years of my assignment in Uganda was not enough, I am still working in Africa, of course with great pleasure, having moved to South Africa in February to begin another tour of duty in the continent. I have arrived at a very interesting time when South Africa’s new President Ramaphosa is trying to navigate through tough political and economic challenges in the wake of Zuma’s downfall. While the fight against the legacy of apartheid and the campaign to redress historical ‘injustices’ continues to be waged explicitly in South Africa, from a developmental point of view, South Africa nonetheless poses another dilemma. In a sense, South Africa offers an epitome of Africa’s great irony.

A Glimpse Back at Colonization and Its Legacies

Colonial history and legacies, whether one likes it or not, has relevance to the nations that have experienced colonialism and is an unavoidable subject of conversation on the development processes of the nations concerned. Almost all developing countries of the world today have gone through colonialism in one form or another, and the impact it has had on Africa is considered to be especially far-reaching. But how the colonial experience is perceived by the peoples and how this has shaped their relationship with their former colonizers will depend on the nature of the colonial rule and how it was pursued, along with many other factors. Regardless, for any developing nation, understanding its historical path and status in the nation-building process is an obvious necessity.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s urban centres are rapidly becoming globalized, but the tendency to view things in terms of their historical connectivity to a colonial past evidently persists in the region. And many African leaders are not shy to speak out on colonial legacies, neo-imperialism, the ‘arrogance of the West’, the ‘conspiracy of the West’, the ‘political agenda of the West’ and so on, whenever they feel challenged by the Western world. It could be political gesturing, rationalization or a way of expressing African solidarity. Normally, the rhetoric is not literally antagonistic, but rather political or conventional.

A typical case is when African leaders express their displeasure over ‘political pressures’ from Western countries on such issues as violations of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Generally, people in the region are very receptive to Westerners and other foreigners, are pragmatic and non-ideological, and espouse ‘global civilization’, which is predominantly Western in its composition. Based on historical ties and geographical proximity, European nations maintain special ties with Africa, and they continue to play ‘principal’ roles in the region as major partners.

The influence of the major Western powers was truly far-reaching. By 1921, the British Empire, at its peak, was covering about one-quarter of both the world’s population and territory: about 4.6 billion people and 37 million km2 respectively. 2 France, another former colossal power, boasts over 56 member states in La Francophonie on a par with the Commonwealth of Nations membership of 53. Interestingly enough, those who have lived both in the Commonwealth and the Francophonie world would be able to tell there are some differences between them, reflecting respective colonial legacies. Most Latin American countries were formerly Spanish colonies, and many other colonial powers existed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The vast majority of developing countries have experienced colonialism in some form or another. The influence of the West in terms of political, economic and social institutions, as well as popular cultures and the ‘modern’ way of life, has been dominant in the rest of the world, and this continues under globalization, although now there are more players in the region. Africa was the object of an all-out exploitation by the Western powers in the nineteenth century. Continuous population growth and concentration in Europe from around the early fifteenth century required an increasing supply of farmland, foods and energy, but there were also widespread epidemic diseases, wars and exploitation by rulers and landlords. Power struggles, frequent wars among Europeans powers and the difficulty in extracting resources from their own boundaries led European states to seek wealth overseas. 3

The fragmentation of the European political systems actually started much earlier, with the fall of the Roman Empire in the late sixth century and the expansion of Islamic powers in the eighth century. The nobility built fortresses against potential invaders and looters, while exploiting the serfs and mobilizing troops to put down rebellions by the serfs, and to counter attacks from outside and within. The frequency of wars was on the rise and never-ending, and new armouries like cannons were developed, driving up the costs of waging war. Crusaders were also sent to recapture holy places occupied by Islamic forces. Their objectives, besides religious, were political and commercial in nature, and successful campaigns helped reopen the Mediterranean Sea for trade and travel. 4

The development of city states in Europe that became the major centres of trade, together with connections of various trade routes, formed a natural ‘world system’ of trade. But the fall of Constantinople in 1453 caused by the Ottoman Empire’s invasion dealt a heavy blow to Europe as the trade route to the East through the eastern Mediterranean Sea was blocked by the Ottomans, forcing the West to find alternate sea routes to access Asia’s riches through the Indian Ocean. 5

Europe’s limited farmland and natural resources, the increasing struggle and competition among factional powers, and greed for wealth and power drove Europeans to venture into aggressive campaigns outside their continent. During this period of excursions, America was discovered and Sub-Saharan Africa was further surveyed. A Portuguese expeditionary force in the early sixteenth century ended the era of peaceful navigation by introducing maritime trade using coercive means. While the West’s mission to Asia was mostly to find markets in order to trade commodities, their efforts in Africa were focused on mobilizing slaves for plantation farming in Africa and the New World. 6

In Latin America, the two powerful Aztec and Inca Empires were known to have flourished by the fifteenth century, but they were conquered by the Spanish expedition and subjected to harsh domination. Also in Africa, before it was colonized by the West, there existed many empires in Sub-Saharan Africa, besides those in Maghreb or the North Africa region. They were mostly concentrated in West Africa, but other empires or kingdoms were identified in central, eastern, western and southern Africa as well. 7 The most prominent ones were the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Benin Empire, the Mossi Kingdoms, the Aksum Empire and the Ethiopian Empire. 8

While the features of European incursions into Asia, Africa and America varied, they all had one thing in common, in that they were carried out coercively, by ‘gunboat trade’, conquest, imposition of terms, etc., based on the Europeans’ superior arms and fighting capability. As time passed, the exploitive nature of the West’s adventurism intensified and degenerated to the point of doing anything possible, like conducting forced opium sales and the gunboat diplomacy in Asia in the nineteenth century. 9

The continents that Europeans targeted to advance their wealth and power—Asia, Africa and Latin America, including the Caribbean—were themselves more or less inter-connected in the dynamics of growing international trading system. But the trade in the Indian Ocean, even before Portugal, the Netherlands, Britain and France embarked on the ‘armed trade’, was robustly carried out by regional players, including Islamic powers, India and China. Natural resources such as gold and silver were introduced to China and India, and from these countries fabrics and other commodities were exported to neighbouring regions. Some items like cotton fabrics were distributed beyond East Africa to reach West Africa. 10

In the process, the Western imperial powers erected what can be called a world trading system. An example of its sub-system is the one which was based on plantation systems in Africa and South America and Caribbean. The Atlantic world was connected to two triangular trade systems which emerged in the seventeenth century and were completed in the eighteenth century. The most widely known one is that linking the Britain, Africa and America: sugar cane, timber and fisheries from America were exported to Britain, and manufactured goods from Britain were sold to Africa in exchange for slaves, who were exported to America. The other system involved the export of rum to Africa from the North American British colony, the sale of African slaves exchanged for rum to the Caribbean, and the export of molasses from the Caribbean to New England. Through such trade systems, the colonial rulers amassed huge wealth. 11

How such a large-scale slave trade could have been brazenly and persistently carried out for many centuries is unimaginable today, but at that time human expropriation and exploitation were not uncommon. Muslims are said to have engaged in trans-Saharan slave trade well before this transatlantic slave trade took place, while various kingdoms and states in Africa were operating slavery in one form or another. Of course, slavery itself was prevalent in many regions and throughout our history, and skin colour was of no relevance in terms of becoming a slave. When you look up the word ‘slave’ in the dictionary, you will find that it is derived from the ‘Slavs’, who were sold off in great numbers into servitude by conquering forces in the early Middle Ages. 12

Wars, conquests and subjugation of the weak by the powerful—in other words, the rule of the survival of the fittest—were commonplace among Europeans. The development of modern nation states in Europe in some ways exacerbated the rivalry and divisions in the region, culminating in the two World Wars in the twentieth century. When we reflect on the history of imperialism and colonialism of the West, people may see these as ‘sins’ committed by the West on others, but back then there were no such thing as universal values like human rights, let alone the kind of international norms or regulations that we take for granted today. 13

However, the word ‘imperialism’ in today’s context only has negative connotations. It implies greed, exploitation, control and subjugation of the weak. In ancient or medieval times, empires might have been helpful in reducing wars or bringing about stability. However, with growing populations and political entities or states having limited land and natural resources, Europe was increasing engaged in internal rivalries and conflicts, not to mention clashes with foreign (namely Islamic) forces.

Europe’s internal tensions could have been relieved as European states focused on expanding into other continents: Portugal and Spain led expeditions to find new sea routes and riches, and embarked on the colonization of foreign lands during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, while the Netherlands, Britain, France, Belgium and Germany followed suit. After Asia and America, it was Africa’s turn to be subjected to renewed exploitation, culminating in the Scramble for Africa by the European powers in the late nineteenth century. The Berlin Conference of 1894 and subsequent arrangements among the colonial powers largely defined the territorial boundaries of African countries that we see today. The colonial expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is referred to as the New Imperialism.

However, as it turned out, the West’s power game did not end with such partitioning of sphere of influence. Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution that started in Britain and spread to other European countries as well as to the US and Japan, also upgraded the technology and output of weaponry, making wars all the more devastating. The tensions were brought right back to the continent of Europe, where the First World War was triggered. This was followed by the Great Depression and the Second World War, which was unprecedented in the history of humankind in terms of the scale of its casualties. The surfacing of a whole different form of nationalism in Europe—Nazism and fascism—showed the dangers inherent in Western democracies degenerating into something far worse.

Imperialism and colonialism withered following the World Wars, and as the principle of self-determination of nations was declared. On 14 December 1960, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution called the ‘Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples’. Most Asian and Middle Eastern countries were decolonized by the 1950s, while almost all African and Caribbean countries achieved independence by the 1960s. For African countries, decolonization was not the end of the story of international intrusions. They were still being drawn deep into the forces of the international political economy, and faced challenging tasks of nation-building and development both during and after the Cold War and into the era of globalization.

No doubt, for Sub-Saharan African nations, extensive colonization, subsequent decolonization and continued close ties with their former colonial powers have helped them to become open and engaged with the West and the world as a whole. In the process, Western ideas, education, cultures, political, economic and social systems and know-how continued to flow in, having a truly profound influence on the region.

African colonization was a conquest launched by the West equipped with superior armoury and professional expeditionary forces. Before the twentieth century, there were no widely established norms like human equality and non-aggression in the world as we know it today, and many in Europe viewed the white race as being superior. 14 Europeans went about taking the lands and assets of others by forceful means in the context of building empires or enriching themselves and their motherland. The politics of sheer realism prevailed. There were not many objections to those actions taking place outside of Europe and even when Europeans clashed with each other, it was not considered to be extraordinary. With the passage of time, however, the exploitive apparatus of the colonial settlers turned into a more stable and routine governing mechanism that later provided a groundwork for state-building by Africans. 15

Although Sub-Saharan African countries adopted Western-style modern state institutions and governing systems, and pursued market economics early on, common syndromes such as the weakness of state institutions and the weakness of national identity or a sense of nation persist. Modern states or nation states that we see today began in Europe, although in other continents, such as Asia, there were highly centralized and developed kingdoms or dynasties. As mentioned earlier, there were already empires and kingdoms in Africa before colonization and to this day, some of those sub-national kingdoms persist. Uganda is an example of a country having officially five kingdoms or monarchies: Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Toro and Rwenzururu.

In medieval Europe, there existed a variety of forms of authority or rule over people like feudal lords, empires, religious authorities, free cities and other authorities. 16 Students of international politics have learned that the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which was the outcome of the Thirty Years’ War, gave rise to the development of modern states having a sweeping capability for taxation, a sophisticated bureaucratic system and coercive control over their populations. The form of statehood that became prominent in Europe later spread to the rest of the world through the process of colonization and decolonization. Modern colonialism has deep roots in the Western history of the formation of nation states and we are reminded of its influence on the rest of the world. It is argued that among the countries that were colonized, some types of modern states were developed in Asia and elsewhere prior to colonialism, but they were largely displaced by colonial rule. 17 The West’s military capability, technology and expansionist posture made the difference.

Jürgen Osterhammel points out that colonialism contributed to making the European concept of the modern state universal and that this is one of the greatest impacts colonialism had on the world. 18 Before Western colonization, it is said that only centralized despotic powers like the Mughul Empire had the semblance of a modern state. Other than this, political powers in Asia and Africa had the appearance of being rather informal, personal and ritual-religious. These entities were not based on sound institutional structures, but were founded on loose networks of loyalty. On the other hand, colonial states of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were secularized and administrative states were backed up by a military apparatus. 19

A problem here was that while the colonial states and subsequent independent states were territorial states, they were hardly nation states. In other words, there was a discrepancy between the concept of territorial state and nation state due to arbitrary territorial boundaries set by the colonial powers. It was an outcome of social Darwinism thinking and the ‘divide and rule’ policy of European colonialists, which may explain why to this day so many ethnic, religious conflicts occur in Africa. 20 However, a mismatch between territorial boundaries and the peoples does not necessarily correlate to conflicts, and it would be virtually impossible to divide up territories in order to suit every ethnicity or tribe. Correcting the ‘territorial mismatch’ can still bring about conflict, as can be seen in the case of South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan.

The prime objective of the colonial state was to maintain control over the people conquered and establish conditions or mechanism through which the colony could be exploited economically to serve the interests of the colonial power. In addition, colonial states were equipped with a highly developed bureaucracy. In the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, the current modern state structure that was ‘transplanted’ by the West and also many of its institutional components emulated by African countries are in most cases functionally weak, inefficient and unreliable, and are frequently riddled with corruption and bad governance.

Unlike in other regions, where the state acquires its sovereignty in the political process of building capacity for the statehood and is eventually recognized by other states, African states gained their sovereign status instantly by collective recognition by the international community, such as the UN. Despite the fact that more than half a century has passed since most African countries gained independence, they are still struggling with the fundamentals of statehood and governance.

Continuing Woes and Dilemmas in Africa’s Development

Many decades have passed since the independence of Sub-Saharan African countries, but to this day not much has occurred in terms of fundamental progress in their development. When Ghana, then the wealthiest nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, became independent in 1957, it was more prosperous than South Korea, but by the early 2000s, Korea’s gross national product (GNP) per capita was over 20 times that of Ghana. Nigeria collected over $600 billion in oil revenues since the early 1960s when it started oil production, but a study conducted in 2004 revealed that as much as $400 billion has disappeared, while the majority of its population suffers from acute poverty. 21

How the predicaments have persisted expansively and commonly over many decades throughout the region is quite astonishing, as Martin Meredith observes: ‘Although Africa is a continent of great diversity, African states have much in common, not only their origins as colonial territories, but the similar hazards and difficulties they have faced. Indeed, what is so striking about the fifty-year period since independence is the extent to which African states have suffered so many of the same misfortunes.’ 22

Crawford Young also notes African countries’ similarities on many fronts, such as in cultural patterns ‘that underpin the regular invocation of an “African Society” as a generic entity by leaders and analyst’. 23 Other similarities include the ‘defining impact of the colonial occupation’, the fact that most of the countries decolonized at the same time, the similarity of regime structures at the outset, the ‘high degree of political diffusion in the political arena’ and Africa’s poor developmental performance. 24

From the perspective of development, Africa’s history since colonization can be broken down into five periods: (1) the period of exploitation by the colonizers; (2) the period of early nation-building (the mid-twentieth century, roughly the 1950s–60s); (3) the period of ‘deepening’ of international aid (the 1970s–80s); (4) the period of post-Cold War globalization (the 1990s–2015); and (5) period of the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2015 onwards).

Colonial legacies still matter today. It is evident that African countries became independent under the most adverse circumstances. They inherited very meagre agricultural or industrial foundations and lacked human capital and other assets required for rapid growth. The transatlantic African slave trade over some 400 years also had a profound impact on Africa. There were also slave trades within the region and across other regions, but these were smaller in scale. The early phase of colonization was marked by extensive human exploitation and plundering of natural resources. African economies became extractive to serve the colonizers and most infrastructures served the needs of the export market rather than internal development. The coercive force used to manipulate labour turned the economies into monocultures, and Gareth Austin notes that under colonialism ‘African societies ceased being self-sufficient as they began to import manufactured goods and basic foodstuffs, while exporting raw materials. To this day, the perceived comparative advantages of many African economies are little more than their colonially derived specializations, even though export agriculture had begun to develop in late pre-colonial times’. 25

Ever since African countries were decolonized, up until now, they have continuously missed opportunities and faced dilemmas regardless of how international dynamics and environment have evolved, to come to a state of ‘African paradox’. During the early nation-building period, the goal of African states was to build autonomous states, but they faced strong counterforces holding them back or even driving them backwards towards structural and psychological dependency.

In the era of ‘deepening of aid’ in the 1970s and 1980s when emphasis was placed on targeting the poorest and correcting the ‘dual economy’, Africa again missed the opportunity due to its political unrest, tribal conflicts and wars, continued mismanagement, corruption, etc. Then, entering the 1990s, the demise of the Cold War ushered in the era of political transition, economic liberalization and globalization. Again, what could have been an opportunity disguised as a challenge presented itself to Africa, but the countries were virtually irresponsive. The adaption to the changing world was limited maybe due to failure to fully grasp the weight of dilemma they were in with respect to industrialization under globalization.

The globalization, and especially the financial liberalization, of the 1990s was a force to be reckoned with and not many saw it as such. Even South Korea, which in 1994 espoused segyewha (globalization) as a national policy was hit hard by it in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Given the global economic environment and trends, in retrospect, the 1990s may have been the last real opportunity for Sub-Saharan African economies to solidify their industrialization capacity. The emergence of ‘Africa’s new tycoons’ or ‘business giants’, while meaningful, cannot be a credible indicator of the countries’ transformative economic development.

The global development regime entered a new chapter with the launch of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 after the completion of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The lesson learned from the MDGs may be that such global efforts may have been good in terms of tackling Africa’s humanitarian needs and crisis, but were hardly effective in pushing African countries to have greater ownership and be developmental in substantive terms. The dilemma continues because when the dust settles, everyone is back to their routine business.

The irony is that Sub-Saharan African nations that should be most distressed about their state of development and therefore should be the most eager to undertake the necessary actions to lift themselves out of present situation in fact appear to be the least bothered in this regard. While serious deliberations and debates have taken place in and around the UN and other development forums like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), equally serious soul searching by Africans within the African continent has been lacking.

The syndromes of dependency and ‘backtracking’ that will be dealt with later on seem to be quite widespread in the region. There is every reason to believe in the positivity of Africa rising in the long term, but for now, the great potential of Africa has not materialized and largely remains as potential. Yet in order to be able to move forward with confidence, countries would need to learn the lessons of their past trials and errors, and come to a clear understanding of where they stand. The dilemma for African countries was that as they were embarking on the path to national autonomy, they soon found themselves held back by the structure of dependency that has re-emerged in the aftermath of decolonization. In the absence of conscientious and sustained efforts to be autonomous, it would have been difficult for the newly independent states to delink themselves from the strong influence of their former colonizers.

A governance crisis was seen as a main culprit for Africa’s poor performance in development. But in Sub-Saharan African states, the capacity and institutions of governance have never really been strong since the colonial period, nor was the sense of nation or national identity. Even after gaining independence, many of these states were not effectively prepared for self-government and had to deal with various social and political tensions that were created or neglected by the colonial regimes.

During this time of ‘paradox of nation-building and dependency’, the most important means sought was foreign aid. Aid was a prime objective for African nations and the main policy tools for developed countries. This was particularly so during the Cold War era, when the developing countries joined the political-ideological blocs. Although some small amounts of aid were given by some European countries for their colonies in the early twentieth century, it was after the Second World War that international aid as we know it began to be institutionalized and expanded to become an international norm. 26

Initially, aid was primarily targeted at emergency relief, rehabilitation or national reconstruction and was directed at Western countries. After the war, much of Europe was left in ruins and it was the Marshall Plan, or the European Recovery Program, pushed forward by the US, that first set up the international aid regime. The rise of the Soviet Bloc and the beginning of the Cold War increased such efforts. So the purpose of aid during this period was to serve the donor’s diplomatic, political and strategic objectives. 27

Later, mostly in the 1960s, the majority of Sub-Saharan African countries gained independence. Since African countries became independent at the height of the Cold War, from a strategic point of view, they could have used the international political dynamics to advance their own economic development. By all accounts, this should have been a golden opportunity for Africa to grasp because the external conditions were benign. In the 1950s and 1960s, the dominant aid strategy was to focus on developing countries’ need for investment capital and modern technology so that they could boost their economies. 28 Emphasis was placed on offering financial assistance and expertise to help plan and manage infrastructure and other economic development projects. The expectation was that modern technology and know-how in institutional building and organization would have trickle-down and spreading effects. But not much consideration was given to promoting links between urban and rural areas, and agriculture and industry.

High expectations and optimism can quickly turn into disappointment. In the 1960s, there was growing dissatisfaction with this approach, as the majority of the populace did not benefit from both the aid and economic growth that followed decolonization. Foreign aid was not having the desired effect on all parts of the targeted areas. It was during this time that much self-criticism in the donor community was voiced towards the tendencies of ‘dual economy (a division between a modern, urban-based economy and traditional peasant economy)’ in the developing countries, and the term ‘white elephants’ became popular. In sum, the main point of criticism was that the poor got very little out of such assistance and that the technology used was not adaptable to local conditions. 29

As early as the beginning of the 1970s, when developed countries already have well-established aid programmes, there were talks about ‘donor fatigue’ and ‘crisis of development’ within the donor community. What finally came out of all these debates and criticisms regarding the way forward for aid were ‘basic human needs’ rather than stimulating long-term growth. Immediate and direct benefit for the poor was the focused goal of donors in this period. 30 The fall in primary commodity prices, the mood of détente, the lessening of rivalry between the West and the East, the international oil shock and the responses of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and oil-rich Arab countries may have also contributed to this. In the 1970s and 1980s, the general tendency of donors’ approaches was placing greater emphasis on, and distributing more aid towards, the poorest countries, with an increased portion of aid going to Sub-Saharan Africa.

The dominant aid strategy during this time took the form of ‘integrated rural development (IRD)’ projects, which were aimed at large parts of the local economy, especially small farmers, and engaged much of the central and local government bodies with the goal to reaching out to large parts of the targeted group. Planning units were set up within the central ministries to coordinate multi-sector projects,and international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) started to take part in international assistance programmes. 31

However, the aid strategy of the 1970s encountered various problems, such as the extreme complexity of the integrated development projects demanding a level of coordination that was beyond the administrative capability of most countries and too much faith placed on central planning. Also, the success of the welfare state system that many industrialized countries experienced in the 1960s and the aid strategy that was more or less influenced by such economic development optimism were out of touch with reality, given developing countries’ resources and capacity. 32 I think that the international development community was right to bring comprehensive rural development to the forefront of its strategy, but unfortunately this approach lost steam and withered because of the very problem that still haunts Africa today—the lack of initiation for change and corresponding actions on the part of Africans themselves.

While rural development is a fundamental task for any developing country, it is unclear what really ignited the ‘integrated rural development approach’ to take centre stage in the international development arena in the early 1970s. Interestingly enough, it was in 1970 that Korea’s New Village Movement, the Saemaul Undong , was launched. But the reason why Korea’s movement was successful while IRD projects failed is probably because unlike the former, the latter was driven and assisted by donors and did not induce locals to work voluntarily in a self-help fashion to generate resources and income on their own.

In the 1980s, amid a lack of progress in aid programmes and the looming dangers of further debt crises in developing countries, as the Mexican debt crisis of 1982, soon spread to other parts of the Third World. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank led the structural adjustment programmes that demanded liberalization and the removal of state control for macro-economic stability. The debt crisis turned the 1980s into the ‘lost development decade’: before the path of development and poverty alleviation could be resumed, they had to implement painful polices of stabilization and structural adjustment. 33

However, because of the inherent limitations of applying such formulae in rigorous fashion to developing countries and also of the apparent need to continue assistance for building infrastructure and directly targeting those most in need, the structural adjustment programmes were only partially executed, accounting for only a fraction of the total loans. And many bilateral donors and UN organizations continued to work in the same way as they had in the 1970s. 34 From the 1970s to the late 1980s, we can see the aid focus on poverty reduction shifting to structural adjustment and back again to poverty reduction. In the late 1980s, there were growing criticisms in the international development community that adjustment policies neglected the poor.

The end of the Cold War was accompanied by a number of significant changes in foreign aid. Most of all, the disappearance of the East European Communist Bloc and dissolution of the former Soviet Union changed the attitudes of major donor countries’ aid policies vis-à-vis their allies and the former Communist Bloc countries. The US and other Western countries were increasingly linking aid to the state of governance of developing countries rather than supporting any friendly countries from a foreign policy standpoint.

As a result of the end of the Cold War, some countries lost the strategic value that the US and others have placed on them, and the amount of aid flowing to them dropped sharply. Also, great attention was given to assisting the political transition processes in former Communist Bloc countries. Therefore, much rhetoric and many efforts were directed towards the governance, democracy and political transition of the developing or newly independent countries in this decade. Amid growing donor fatigue, the total amount of aid funding fell quite markedly, while demands for political reforms became stronger. 35

The instruments donors used with the focus of aid were sector programme support, capacity-building, policy dialogue, ‘selective assistance’, etc. All these methods were geared towards responding to the widening scope of aid targets in a more focused manner, with lower amounts of aid available in a bid to achieve greater aid-efficiency. But the development community continued to be dismayed by the lack of progress shown, especially in the poorest nations of Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s crisis of governance and moral hazard problem were very frequently discussed during this period. 36

In 2000, the UN adopted the MDGs, which targeted eight areas: (1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; (2) achieving universal primary education; (3) promoting gender equality and empowering women; (4) reducing child mortality; (5) improving maternal health; (6) combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; (7) ensuring environmental sustainability; and (8) developing a global partnership for development. Each of these goals has specific targets and set dates for achieving those targets. 37

In 1999, the IMF and the World Bank initiated the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach, a comprehensive country-based strategy for poverty reduction. This approach was the IMF’s and the World Bank’s recognition of the importance of ownership and the need for a greater focus on poverty reduction, and it has become integral to the negotiation of development assistance for African countries. Its aim was to support heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) and provide the crucial link for aid flows with poverty reduction strategies developed by the aid recipient countries. It was to help the countries meet the MDGs, which aimed to halve poverty between 1990 and 2015. The PRSP has become a key benchmark for most countries in Africa for accessing external finance through bilateral and multilateral sources. 38

In addition to MDGs and the PRSP, at the turn of the new century, there appeared more new initiatives, including Africa’s first self-developed initiative. In 2001, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now the African Union (AU)) endorsed the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) for economic regeneration of Africa, with the goal of eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable growth and development, integrating Africa into the global economy, and accelerating the empowerment of women. NEPAD, which is a merger of the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP) and the OMEGA Plan for Africa, was hailed as ‘Africa’s own initiative, Africa’s plan, African crafted and therefore, African-owned’. 39

It was argued that NEPAD ‘constitutes the most important advance in African development policy during the last four decades. Undoubtedly it is an ambitious programme and represents perhaps one last hope for Africa to reverse its slide into irrelevance.’ 40 But seven years after its launch, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who was one of its initial backers, accused NEPAD of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and achieving nothing. 41

Following the end of the Cold War, special emphasis was placed on aid effectiveness. Besides donor fatigue, recipient fatigue was also acknowledged. The donor community began to realize that its many different approaches and conditions were imposing a huge burden and costs on developing countries, making aid less effective. It began to consult and coordinate closely among its member states and with developing countries to enhance the impact of the aid given. The aid effectiveness movement, led by the OECD DAC, picked up momentum in 2002 with the Monterrey Consensus reached during the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico. The participants of the meeting agreed to increase its funding for development, but acknowledged that more money alone was not enough. A new paradigm of aid as a partnership, rather than a one-way relationship between donor and recipient, was evolving. 42

As follow-up measures, a series of High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness was held in Rome, Accra, Paris and Busan (Korea). The fourth meeting in Busan (2011) is considered to have marked a turning point in international discussions on aid and development. It brought together over 3000 delegates to take stock of the progress made in aid delivery and to come up with collective aid plans for the future. The forum culminated in the signing of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation by ministers of developed and developing nations, emerging economies, entities of South-South and triangular cooperation and civil society. This declaration established for the first time an agreed framework for development cooperation that embraces traditional donors, South-South cooperators, the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), civil society organizations and private funders. 43

The UN was involved intensively in drawing up the Post-2015 Development Agenda, playing a facilitating role in the global conversation on this subject and supported broad consultations, leading to its launch during the UN Development Summit in September 2015. The process of formulating the Post-2015 Development Agenda was led by member states, with broad participation from major groups of nations, international bodies and other civil society stakeholders. Numerous inputs have been made to the agenda, producing a set of SDGs. This was an outcome of an open working group of the General Assembly, the report of an inter-governmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing, General Assembly dialogues, etc.

These efforts notwithstanding, the era of full-fledged globalization that began in the early 1990s has not been benign in relation to Africa. Thus, it is caught in a very long stretch of a third dilemma that we can call the ‘globalization-industrialization dilemma’. In order to realize economic transformation, countries need to first build and strengthen the basis on which economic growth can take place, and then work on building the manufacturing industry sector along with or based on agricultural sector development.

But ironically, globalization which entails trade-investment liberalization, free market access, global competition, etc. perhaps poses a serious obstacle to this African dream. As such, the task of achieving transformation in the era of hyper-globalization from the perspective of African states is quite a big challenge. Certainly, there is an increasing awareness within Africa of this issue, but there do not seem to be clear ideas and answers in terms of what concrete measures should be taken. Figure 1.1 illustrates Africa’s continuing predicament. It shows the increasing gap in the average per-capita income level between Africa and rest of the world.
Fig. 1.1

The growing income gap: Africa versus the rest of the world (1960–2015)

(Source International Futures (Ifs) v. 7.33, data from World Development Indicators (US$ in constant 2017 values). ISS South Africa ‘Made in Africa’ report 8, p. 4, April 2018)

Figure 1.2 illustrates the points made here with respect to Sub-Saharan Africa’s paradox viewed from a historical perspective. 44 It also shows Africa’s continuing tribulations and challenges. In the colonial era, Africa was subjected to all-out exploitation. Upon independence, African states had the opportunity to newly shape their destiny, but failed to move on and were held back by inherent ‘limitations’, such as a lack of true sense of nation. Then, with favourable international settings, Africans aspired to achieve economic development, but the negativities like dependency syndrome and ‘backtracking syndrome’ deepened so as to offset what was gained.
Fig. 1.2

The paradox of Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa continued to miss out on the opportunities in the changing international political-economic environment. The end of the Cold War ushered in an era of full-fledged globalization, but the ‘readiness’ of African nations in terms of nation-building and development mindedness, let alone industrialization and economic competitiveness, is a far cry from what was expected. To this day, many political leaders, policy-makers and economic experts in African do not seem to fully grasp the nature of the problem. As for the income gap shown in Fig. 1.1, the extended projection shows the gap growing into 2030. The question is: when will African countries break out of this dilemma? The basic country profile information of 49 Sub-Saharan African countries is shown in the Tables 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and in Chapters  2 and  3.
Table 1.1

Sub-Saharan Africa at a glance

Country

Area (km2) (thousand)

Population (millions)

GDP per capita

Country

Area (km2) (thousand)

Population (millions)

GDP per capita

Angola

1247

22.14

6665

Madagascar

592

23.57

464

Benin

112

10.6

825

Malawi

120

16.83

354

Botswana

581

2.04

6575

Mali

1240

15.77

750

Burkina Faso

274

17.42

725

Mauritania

1030

3.98

1370

Burundi

28

10.48

270

Mauritius

2.04

1.25

11,368

Cameroon

47.5

22.82

1398

Mozambique

800

26.47

624

Cape Verde

4

0.5

4010

Namibia

824

2.35

4997

Central African Republic

623

4.71

363

Niger

1267

18.54

421

Chad

1284

13.21

1040

Nigeria

923

178.52

3080

Comoros

1.86

0.75

942

Rwanda

26

12.1

591

Congo

342

4.56

3226

São Tomé and Príncipe

1

0.2

1746

Congo, DR

2345

69.36

474

Senegal

197

14.55

998

Cote d’Ivoire

322

20.81

497

The Seychelles

0.455

0.093

15,540

Djibouti

23

0.89

1833

Sierra Leone

72

6.21

918

Equatorial Guinea

28

0.78

21,629

Somalia

637

10.81

112

Eritrea

118

6.54

592

South Africa

1,220

53.14

6267

Ethiopia

1104

96.51

559

South Sudan

640

11.74

1269

Gabon

267

1.71

11,805

Sudan

1890

38.76

2221

Gambia

11

1.91

586

Swaziland

17

1.27

2988

Ghana

239

26.44

1265

Tanzania

943

50.76

966

Guinea

246

12.04

606

Togo

57

6.99

598

Guinea-Bissau

36

1.75

655

Uganda

241

38.85

673

Kenya

570

45.55

1593

Zambia

753

15.02

2031

Lesotho

30

2.1

920

Zimbabwe

390

14.6

725

Liberia

113

4.4

467

    

Source African Statistical Book (AfDB, UNECA, AUC) (2015)

Table 1.2

Country classification by income in Sub-Saharan Africa

Low income

Lower to middle income

High-middle income

Benin

Malawi

Angola

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Mali

Cape Verde

Equatorial Guinea

Burundi

Mozambique

Cameroon

Gabon

Central African Republic.

Niger

Congo

Mauritius

Chad

Rwanda

Cote d’Ivoire

Namibia

Comoros

Senegal

Djibouti

The Seychelles

Congo, DR

Sierra Leone

Kenya

South Africa

Eritrea

Somalia

Ghana

 

Ethiopia

South Sudan

Lesotho

 

Gambia

Tanzania

Mauritania

 

Guinea

Togo

Nigeria

 

Guinea-Bissau

Uganda

São Tomé and Príncipe

 

Liberia

Zimbabwe

Sudan

 

Madagascar

 

Swaziland

 
  

Zambia

 

Source World Bank list of economies, June 2017

Table 1.3

Country classification by resource abundance in Sub-Saharan Africa

Resource-rich countries

Non-resource-rich countries

Oil

Metals/minerals

Angola

Botswana

Benin

Gambia

São Tomé and Príncipe

Chad

Congo, DR

Burkina Faso

Ghana

Senegal

Congo

Guinea

Burundi

Guinea-Bissau

The Seychelles

Equatorial Guinea

Liberia

Cape Verde

Kenya

South Africa

Gabon

Mauritania

Cameroon

Lesotho

Somalia

Nigeria

Namibia

Central African Republic

Madagascar

Sudan

South Sudan

Niger

Comoros

Malawi

Swaziland

 

Sierra Leone

Cote d’Ivoire

Mali

Tanzania

 

Zambia

Djibouti

Mauritius

Togo

  

Eritrea

Mozambique

Uganda

  

Ethiopia

Rwanda

Zimbabwe

Source World Bank, Africa’s Pulse, October 2017, vol. 16

Notes

  1. 1.

    1970 World Bank data (data.worldbank.org).

     
  2. 2.

    Angus Maddison, The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective (Paris: OECD, 2001), pp. 98, 242; Bruce R. Gordon, ‘To Rule the Earth’, www.hostkingdom.net/earthrul.html.

     
  3. 3.

    European countries’ colonization of Africa can be seen in the context of the ‘predatory nature’ of state-building and its extension—struggle for survival, their rivalry and competition during and after state-building—as viewed by Charles Tilly in War Making and State Making as an Organized Crime (1985) and Coercion, Capital and European States (1990). According to Tilly, war-making, state-making, protection and extraction were the four activities in which European countries engaged for survival and development.

     
  4. 4.

    Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World, 2nd ed. (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Korean translation by Sa-I Publishing (2014), pp. 91–92.

     
  5. 5.

    Ibid., pp. 84–86.

     
  6. 6.

    As for the effects of the African slave trade by Europeans, Warren C. Whatley says that it had a profound effect on Africa’s political authority (promoting ‘absolutism’), while Nathan Nunn in his ‘Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trade’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, no. 1 (2008), pp. 139–176 argues that slaving and slave trade depressed long-term economic growth. See Warren C. Whatley, ‘The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Evolution of Political Authority in West Africa’, in Emmanuel Akyeampong, Robert H. Bates, Nathan Nunn, and James A. Robinson (eds), Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 463–465. Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson in Why Nations Fail (2012), pp. 252–253 elaborates on the trade of guns for slaves, which, through increased warfare and conflicts, caused major loss of life and human suffering, besides bringing about changes in political authority.

     
  7. 7.

    In terms of historical development, it is argued that there was significant heterogeneity in Africa, with the most developed parts being North Africa, West Africa and Ethiopia. There are suggestions that these parts of Africa attained levels of development that were close to those of Eurasia. See Emmanuel Akyeampong et al., Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective (2014), p. 7.

     
  8. 8.

    See Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns, A History of Sub-Saharan Africa, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

     
  9. 9.

    The maritime trade using coercive means at this time could be called a ‘gunboat trade’, similar to the term ‘gunboat diplomacy’, which referred to the coercive diplomacy employed by the Western powers against weaker countries.

     
  10. 10.

    See William G. Clarence-Smith, ‘The Textile Industry of Eastern Africa in the Long Duree’, in Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective (2014), pp. 264–266.

     
  11. 11.

    Robert B. Marks (2006) (Korean translation), p. 138.

     
  12. 12.

    Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns (2014), p. 201.

     
  13. 13.

    By all accounts, looking at the history, the universal ‘political’ values that we take for granted today must have emerged no earlier than the twentieth century. I believe it was in the process of the making of the League of Nations and later the United Nations that the universal values became widely accepted by the global community.

     
  14. 14.

    See David Olusoga’s article ‘The roots of European racism lie in the slave trade, colonialism-and Edward Long’ in The Guardian, 8 September 2015. Olusoga observes that since the fifteenth century, European have viewed Africans as inferior, backwards and barbaric, and this still casts a shadow over the continent.

     
  15. 15.

    See Jürgen Osterhammel, Kolonialismus: Geschichte, Formen, Folgne (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck oHG, 2003), Korean translation by Yuksa Bipyongsa (2006), pp. 92–97.

     
  16. 16.

    Karen Barkey and Sunita Karen, ‘Comparative Perspectives on the State’, Annual Review of Sociology 17 (1991), p. 527.

     
  17. 17.

    Countries in Asia like China, Korea and Japan that were not colonized by the West had achieved a high level of development along with Western Europe prior to the ‘Great Divergence’ as elaborated by Kenneth Pomeranz in his book The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).

     
  18. 18.

    Jürgen Osterhammel, Kolonialismus (Korean translation), p. 112.

     
  19. 19.

    Ibid., p. 112.

     
  20. 20.

    Ibid., p. 113.

     
  21. 21.

    John Campbell, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011), p. 12, cited in Crawford Young (2012, p. 8).

     
  22. 22.

    Martin Meredith, The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence (London: Simon & Schuster, 2011), p. 14.

     
  23. 23.

    Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), p. 5.

     
  24. 24.

    Ibid., pp. 6–8.

     
  25. 25.

    Gareth Austin, ‘African Economic Development and Colonial Legacies’, International Development Policy Series, Geneva: Graduate Institute in Pierre Englebert and Kevin C. Dunn, Inside African Politics (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2013), p. 215.

     
  26. 26.

    In the aftermath of the Second World War, various factors like the need to reconstruct Europe, the creation of the United Nations, the emergence of many new independent states and the new international political dynamics (namely the Cold War) are seen as major factors that gave rise to the institutionalization of international aid.

     
  27. 27.

    Carol Lancaster, Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics (London: University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 25–29.

     
  28. 28.

    John Degnbol-Martinussen and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Aid: Understanding International Development Cooperation, translated by Marie Bille (London: Zed Books, 2005), p. 44. It was originally published in Danish in 1999.

     
  29. 29.

    Ibid., p. 45.

     
  30. 30.

    Carol Lancaster, Foreign Aid, pp. 39–40.

     
  31. 31.

    According to USAID, the Integrated Rural Development (IRD) approach was popular in the 1970s, with the number of and donor allocations to IRD projects increasing rapidly in the mid-1970s and reaching their peak at the beginning of the 1980s. However, follow-up evaluations highlighted the mostly unsatisfactory performance of these projects, resulting in a shift towards broader systemic poverty alleviation initiatives (such as the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategies). See ‘Integrated Rural Development: Lessons learned’, http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADF432.pdf. See also John Degnbol-Martinussen and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, AID (2005), pp. 45–47; Susan Chase and Elisa Wilkinson, ‘What Happened to Integrated Rural Development?’, The Hunger Project, 10 August 2015.

     
  32. 32.

    Aid (2005), p. 46.

     
  33. 33.

    Erik Thorbecke, ‘The Evolution of the Development Doctrine and the Role of Foreign Aid’, in Finn Tarp (ed.), Foreign Aid and Development: Lessons Learnt and Directions for the Future (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 33.

     
  34. 34.

    Aid (2005), p. 48.

     
  35. 35.

    According to Thorbecke (2000), the development strategy in the 1990s retained most of the strategy that was built in the previous decade, at least in the first half of the decade. But as the decade went on, the adjustment-based strategy of the 1980s came under critical review, leading to major changes. Two contending approaches were put forward: the ‘orthodox’ view and the ‘heterodox’ view. The East Asian miracle also provided a convincing case for sound institutions, but the Asian financial crisis of 1997 forced a critical examination of excessive trade and capital liberalization policies (pp. 42–43). See also Carol Lancaster, Foreign Aid (2007), pp. 45–46. Lancaster explains that the withdrawal of aid and engagement by the West following the end of the Cold War contributed to the rise in conflicts and violence in Africa in the 1990s.

     
  36. 36.

    Carol Lancaster points out that by the end of the 1990s, four ‘new’ aid purposes emerged: promoting economic and political transitions; addressing global problems; furthering democracy; and managing conflict. Concerns for aid effectiveness were not new, but these gained prominence in the 1990s, due, among other things, to the dismal economic performance of Sub-Saharan African countries. See Foreign Aid (2007), pp. 48–50.

     
  37. 37.

    United Nations, ‘We Can End Poverty’, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals.

     
  38. 38.

    Jim Levinsohn, ‘The World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Approach: Good Marketing or Good Policy?’, G-24 Discussion Paper Series, UNCTAD, 21 April 2003, pp. 1–3.

     
  39. 39.

    Jeffrey Sachs and George B.N. Ayittey, ‘Can Foreign Aid Reduce Poverty?’, CQ Press (2009), http://www.earth.columbia.edu: 05-09-2013.

     
  40. 40.

    Hope, K.R. ‘From Crisis to Renewal: Towards a Successful Implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’, African Affairs 101 (2002), pp. 387–402.

     
  41. 41.

    Reuters, ‘Senegal’s Wade Slams Africa Development Body’, 13 June 2007.

     
  42. 42.

    OECD, ‘Aid Effectiveness’, http://www.oecd.org/dac/effectiveness.

     
  43. 43.

    Ibid.

     
  44. 44.

    Fig. 1.1 shows the dilemmas that Sub-Saharan African nations have faced. In the early years of independence, their overarching national goal was nation-building, but the irony is that what should be the driving force behind nation-building, a ‘sense of nation’, ‘national identity’ or patriotism, was essentially lacking. Hence, the nation-building process is still largely incomplete in most of these countries. The second phase in the dilemma was when the international development community institutionalized various policies and systems of aid, and was actively engaged in assisting African countries. But what should have been the golden opportunity for Africa was missed because Africans could not take advantage of what was provided, and instead fell back on their dependency syndrome and other regressive traits. Since the 1990s, the third dilemma of globalization vs. industrialization persists for Africa, which raises questions as to whether Sub-Saharan Africa can genuinely transform.

     

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Embassy of the Republic of KoreaPretoriaSouth Africa

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