A Critical Survey Of Origin Of Development Initiatives In Africa

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A Critical Survey Of Origin Of Development Initiatives In Africa

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The Development Initiative is known as an independent international development organization that focuses on promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development, which are critical for all responsible governments throughout the world. As such, Africa as a continent is not excluded because of its representation in the global economy. Overtime, the growth and performance of African countries can be described as among the least encouraging economic performances of the twentieth-first century because of its dismal nature and disastrous socio-economic implications for its approximately one billion people, hence the call for development initiatives.

After gaining independence from the colonial powers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, African countries had high hopes for development, but most of them are substantially poorer now than they were when their nations gained political independence. Prior to the 1974 international oil shock, the growth rates were positive. For example, Artadi and Sala-i-Martin (2003) observe that for the whole continent, growth was around three per cent in the early 60s, close to two per cent in the late 60s, and slightly below 1.5 per cent between 1970 and 1974. Things changed dramatically in the second half of the 1970s. It is important to note that from the 1960s to the 1990s, there was much political instability on the African continent – taking the form of the Cold War competition between the West and the Communist bloc, the ideological struggle between Third World socialism (Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana) and neo-colonial capitalism (Houphouet Boigny of Ivory Coast), and the military anti-colonial conflicts in Southern Africa. These political events should be factored into any comprehensive analysis of post-colonial Africa.

When expressed in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) – which takes into account the higher costs and prices in Africa – real income averaged one-third less than in South Asia, making Africa the poorest region in the world.Unlike other developing regions, Africa’s average output per capita in constant prices was lower at the end of the 1990s than 30 years before – and in some countries had fallen by more than 50 per cent. In real terms, fiscal resources per capita were smaller for many countries than in the late 1960s. Africa’s share of world trade has fallen since the 1960s: it now accounts for a minor portion.

Taking the above into consideration, we note that the African growth performance has been very weak in absolute terms, but appears worse if we take into account that, during this same period, the rest of the world has been growing at an annual rate of close to two per cent. The biggest contrast in terms of development has been between Africa and the Asian continent. In the 1960s, most African countries were richer than their Asian counterparts, and their stronger natural resource base led many to believe that Africa’s economic potential was superior to overpopulated Asia’s. In 1965, for example, incomes and exports per capita were higher in Ghana than in South Korea.

Additionally after decades of independence , West African countries in particular are still dependent in primary products . Hence is Africa missing out on the area of industrial expansion and now risks being excluded from the global information revolution. While in contrast to other regions of the that have diversified, most countries in Africa are still largely exporters of primary commodities. Not only are they dependent on primary product, most of them have been trapped with debt burden, under development, incessant public spending and government borrowing from world banks hence their GDP has been left on the average which is a typical representation for poor country. These and many more colossal occurrences made it pertinent for African leaders to ponder on ways to aid them ameliorate the issues of underdevelopment, hence the introduction of development initiatives.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Immediately after independence, the leaders of Africa had adopted one goal of development strategies which is human development. This was to be achieved within long and medium term development frameworks whose objectives were to: eradicate the “colonial structure” that had been imposed on African economies, speed up economic growth and to improve living standards of the people. For example, Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere introduced “Africanisation” and “Ujamaa and Kujitegemea” programmes in Ghana and 30 Tanzania in 1957 and 1962 respectively as unique “home grown” post-independence development strategies. The programmes were a radical departure from the British colonial mode anchored on self-reliance. Because of the force behind the programmes, they had a tremendous impact on the elderly, farmers, market women, youths, civil and public servants, as well as small-scale businessmen.

The key feature of African development initiatives in the 1960s was the important role each government played. The State allocated itself a central role in the development process, building social and economic infrastructure, and providing social services to the impoverished people of the continent. Another feature of the development initiatives in the 1960s was the import substitution strategy, which ensured adequate protection of local industries and employment. This development strategy, with the central role of the state and the protection of local industries and employment, would come to be condemned and dismantled by the international financial institutions.

African leaders realized that the most effective way to develop Africa and Africans was to involve the state in economic activities in order to ensure that there was fairness in the distribution of the benefits from national income and growth. Notably, on the continent, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), played instrumental roles in the processes that led to the emergence of these development initiatives. The outcome of this was the adoption of the Monrovia guidelines, renamed the Lagos Plan of Action, and the Final Act of Lagos. Following the World Bank proposals, other initiatives or strategies were introduced, such as the African Priority Programme for Economic Recovery, 1986-1990 (APPER), which later became the UN Programme of Action for Africa’s Economic Recovery and Development (UN-PAAERD) 1986; the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme for Socio-economic Recovery and Transformation (AAF-SAP) 1989; and the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development (AAF-SAP) 1990 all these initiative were adopted to fast track the development of Africa region. Thus, it is the aim of this study to present a historical perspective of development initiatives in Africa.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The primary purpose of this study is to take into account the history of Africa’s development initiatives. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. What is the historical background of development initiatives in Africa?
  2. What is the resemblances and/or disparities in content, funding, and implementation of the initiatives?
  3. What is the strengths and weaknesses of the African development initiatives?
  4. What is the role of the initiatives in Africa‟s economic development?

1.4 Research Question

  1. Trace the historical background of development initiatives in Africa.
  2. Investigate the resemblances and/or disparities in content, funding, and implementation of the initiatives.
  3. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the African development initiatives.
  4. Outline the role of the initiatives in Africa‟s economic development.

1.5 Significance of the Study

Findings from the study will be relevant to both academic, political, social and historical dimensions. It will equip policy makes with information on the appropriate development strategy to overcome Africa’s poverty and underdevelopment. It enable economist with information that will enable them come up with frameworks on how to better the situation in Africa. This in turn can enable their participation in the making, implementation and evaluation of policies that affect them. . Finally the study will contribute to the body of empirical studies and serve a s reference material to student and scholars who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.

1.6 Research Methodology

The study therefore adopts a qualitative historical approach. It implore one of the traditional methods of gathering information, i.e. the secondary sources of data. A sizeable percentage of secondary sources that is used came from published and unpublished works which include materials extracted from: Archives, Newspapers, discussions, Conference papers, Magazines, Internets, Books, and Articles in journals e.t.c. and was analyzed to make the topic under discuss meaningful.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on tracing the historical background of development initiatives in Africa, investigate the resemblances and/or disparities in content, funding, and implementation of the initiatives, examine the strengths and weaknesses of the African development initiatives, and outline the role of the initiatives in Africa‟s economic development. This study shall cover the period of 35 years (1975 to 2010) and will be focus on three African development initiatives, the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA), African Economic Community (AEC) and the New Partnership for Africa‟s Development (NEPAD).

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The study is limited not just time couple with the fact the researcher while carrying out the research engaged in other academic works simultaneously, rather also is in the ability of the researcher to organize and analyze the large secondary data collated for the study. However in spite of the constraint the researcher ensured that the limitation is downplayed to give the best result of the study.

1.9 Definition of Terms


It is quantitative and qualitative advancement. It is also the positive transformation or change of people‟s ways of living, attitudes and behaviours for the better.


Strategy is used in this work to refer to perspective, position, plan, and pattern. It is a complex web of thoughts, ideas, insights, experiences, goals, expertise, memories, perceptions, and expectations that provides general guidance for specific actions in pursuit of particular ends.

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