The Challenge of Economic Development

The Challenge of Economic Development

The Challenge of Economic Development Facing Africans on a Global Level in The Era of a "World Capitalist" Political Economy

Paper to be presented by: Turwanire Kimanthi Mandla, Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation

This paper examines the macro political-economic environment on a global level, in which African economic progress must occur or not occur. The importance of a broad study of the world's political-economy is vital to understanding the specific political and economic forces, relationships, trends and possibilities at work, or to be potentially released. Plans, schemes, intentions, goals, and relationships established by Africans to engender economic development will all be futile and irrelavent unless considered in such a context. In the era of capitalism, especially the present era of world capitalism,"economic development" cannot be seen as "Business Opportunity" or "New Trade Arrangements"; it can only be seen as 'integrated political-economy'.

This paper rejects the conception that African economic development whether in Africa, or the broader "African World" (Caribbean, mainland states of the Americas, urban Western Europe and the Black Islands of the South Pacific) are inextricably and necessarily dependently permanently linked to the vagaries of Western/Japanese controlled "World Capitalism". This paper seeks to advance that discussion and make a strategic operational case for the "African World" to develop an "autocentric", independent globalized political-economy.

The central premise is that there exist, as a consequence of both history and culture, an African world; which must evolve an autocentric polical/economic strategy. Such an autocentric independent Africa-based global strategy is required if Africans are to emerge from the endemic poverty, famine and starvation, technological backwardness, disease, crime, substance abuse, cultural assault, massive social problems and the general degradation we suffer daily everywhere.

It categorically rejects the economic strategies currently employed by African states (including the Caribbean and Oceania), as well as the "Black Enterprise" magazine model of economic development; as too little, too late. A set of disconnected, non strategy based anarchic individual or small elite group enrichment schemes. Incapable of capital accumualtion on a scale necessary to achieve "economica take-off". And as such the societal investment necessary cannot be realized under the economic leadership of these individual or small group elites. They are essentially irrelevant, as presently constituted and operating, to African economic development anywhere in the world.

The methodology and assumptions utililized to make analysis and propose objectives are those of historical and dialectical materialism, as understood from the Nkrumahist-Toureist ideological point-of-view. They are applied fully from an "African Nationalist" standpoint assuming as both Osaygefo Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure did, that the just social development of Africa and Africans advances by dialectics all humanity. This writer views Nkrumahism-Toureism as a further development and particularization of scientific concepts concerning human society. Nkrumahism-Toureism is the highest expression of the application of these scientific concepts to date, to the problems of 'African National' development. To avoid confusion, it must be understood that Nkrumah and Toure belong to the scientific school of thought, most associated in the West with Karl Marx, one of this school's greatest contributors. Their contribution has 'universal' importance for several reasons:

1. It further evolves the understanding that scientific conceptions can be applied to human society;

2. It applies these scientific concepts to African society confirming them and thereby confirming their universal value;

3. African particularity was their base starting-point and objective, placing African society squarely in the flow of human history, as one of a several generic currents.

The paper has three sections:

Section I will deal with a historical overview of Africa's political-economic relations with the West from the early trading empires (Ghana, Mali, Swahili, Congo, The Meditterean states, etc.) to the colonization. Greater detail will be used in looking at the contemporary historical period, 1945 to the present.

Section II will look at the relationship between depenency and under or negative "development" on the one-hand; and the so- called 'New International Economic Order' (NIEO) on the other hand. Structural Adjustments, Debt Financing, Foreign Aid, the Welfare System, Free Trade Zones, Lome Conventions, Affirmative Actions policies, Job Training, Comparative Advantage, various development schemes, regional trade zones, etc. will be viewed in this light. The world in the post-Soviet bloc period and simultaneously expanding and declining capitalism will be reviewed in relationship to Africans.

Section III seeks to outline a set of strategic objectives which must become dominant throughout the African world in order for serious development of our material culture to occur. Some objectives are immediate and interim, others pre-conditions for achieving long-range objectives.


As pointed out earlier, this paper is a macro political-economy overview. It does not seek to detail any particular area, or subject of political-economy raised by the paper. Its goal is to show the linkages in a dialectical/historical manner between the past 500+ years of economic and political relationships with Western Capitalism and our current morass. In so doing, it seeks to establish the intellectual construct, the pragmatic perimeters in which a serious discussion of African economic development can or should occur.

The writer recognizes and wishes to emphasize that numerous African and Non-African intelligentsia have contributed in detail to any subjects contained in this paper. Consequently, a fuller understanding of political-economy can only be gleamed by extensive study of the available literature.

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Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 16:31:38 -0700
Subject: African Development

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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