A History of Development Initiatives in Africa, 1975-2010.

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Bolarinwa, J.O
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Development initiatives in post-independence Africa have been influenced by the social, economic and political conditions of the continent as well as the dominant development thoughts at different times. Africa has experienced a very low level of economic development since the 1970s compared to other regions of the world, and in response, several development initiatives have been articulated since the 1980s which reflect the continent’s preferred development agenda. The African economic crisis intensified from 1975 onwards when African countries experienced economic collapse, and a plunge followed by continuing decline in the following decades. Several sources indicate that from 1960 to 1980, Africa recorded a cumulative GNP growth of 1.8% while population growth was 2.5%. In the early 1980s, pictures of starving African children shocked the world. The Lagos Plan of Action (LPA), signed in 1980, was aimed at tackling the African economic crisis with greater resilience, based on the capacity of African states to mobilize natural resources and foster greater mutual economic integration and cooperation. However, the LPA recorded very little success. This was followed by the Abuja Treaty in 1991, which aimed at establishing an African Economic Community (AEC). It formally came into existence in 1994 and like the LPA; the Abuja Treaty did not achieve much success. Addressing this failure, African leaders in 2001 adopted the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as the continent’s official development programme. This thesis examines the historical moments that led to the design and implementation of development initiatives in Africa, using the LPA, the AEC and the NEPAD as comparative case studies. It focuses on the significance of the historical evolution and shift from the LPA’s and AEC’s state-led, inward-looking, collective self-reliance model to NEPAD’s outward looking model. It also examines the level of implementation of the LPA, AEC and what progress has been recorded in the implementation of NEPAD in the past decade. The study has drawn from a wide range of sources such as government records, reports of international organisations as well as oral information to analyse Africa’s development initiatives. It employs dependency/underdevelopment and public-choice perspectives to explain how domestic conditions and global realities have dictated Africa’s economic development options. Capturing the differences in the contexts within which the initiatives were crafted and the variations in their orientations, the thesis uses a combination of historical explanation and structured focused comparison that allows for different, but structurally linked accounts of the processes to assess the relevance and level of success of the three initiatives. It argues that African states’ common concerns about their vulnerability in the global economy have informed the design of the initiatives. Hence, the shift from the LPA to NEPAD has been dictated by changes in global realities and circumstances. It also contends that individual African governments’ concern with vulnerability nationally and internationally has been one of the major factors responsible for the low level of implementation. These are some of the issues that need to be addressed for development initiatives in Africa to fulfill their objectives.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.
Development initiatives , Economic Development , Africa , Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::History and philosophy subjects::History subjects::Economic history
Bolarinwa, J.O (2014), A History of Development Initiatives in Africa, 1975-2010. A Thesis Submitted to University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation, 340pp.