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Kwame Nkrumah’s Political Economy of Africa

Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in IPE book series (PHIPE)

Abstract

This chapter offers a critical engagement with Ghana’s founding President, Kwame Nkrumah, whose intellectual ideas have contributed immensely to the political economy of development in Ghana and other postcolonial societies. In particular, his Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism qualifies as a classic of the critical perspective of international political economy (IPE). Drawing mainly on this work, we lay out some of the fundamental theoretical insights that Nkrumah has contributed to the critical perspective of IPE, particularly with respect to the dynamics of the capitalist global economy and how they impinge on development in Africa. With his unique position of a theorist with critical perspectives of IPE on Africa and as a political leader spearheading the development of a newly independent country—in fact, the whole continent, both independent and colonised countries alike—Nkrumah strongly advocated key development policy interventions for Africa based on his thinking about the capitalist global economy. The chapter highlights the ways in which Nkrumah defied the dichotomy between theory and praxis, merging the two together as the leader of Ghana in the era of neocolonialism; living his theoretical work on the political economy of Africa, in his efforts to develop his country and to promote the well-being of his people. The chapter points to how Nkrumah’s state-led transformational ideas and policy prescriptions have stood the test of time, becoming the blueprints for the current leaders of Africa, including his fierce critics and political and ideological opponents.

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Ayelazuno, J.A., Mawuko-Yevugah, L. (2020). Kwame Nkrumah’s Political Economy of Africa. In: Oloruntoba, S., Falola, T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. Palgrave Handbooks in IPE. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38922-2_9

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