Economic Dependency And Third World Under Development. Nigerian Experience

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science


This study examines the relationship between the third world countries and the western capitalist countries. It shows dependency as a phenomenon or problem of relationship that gave rise to the economic growth and development of the western world in expense of the third world societies which are economically underdeveloped, and lack the capacity and ability to control the economic system or productive processes of the societies. In our attempt to analyze and address this problem we used dependency theory for the analytical framework while documentary research method was employed in gathering and analyzing data. Unequal relationship between Nigeria and countries of the western world coupled with negative role of the Nigeria economic elite was discovered as the major problem, it was ascertained that this problem is historically rooted in foundation of the society, as such, ordinary measures are not suitable, rather concrete type in form of socialist transformation is recommended by the study.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Economic dependency is the lack of capacity and ability to control the economic system or productive process of a society such that the society as a state depends on foreign developed economy states for leadership and control through regulations and some economic institution. The country that are depending on the rest are mostly poor countries of the third world, Nigeria is a typical poor third world country and underdeveloped that depend on the western world for decision and implementation of economic policies , thereby contributing to the economic development of the west to her own detriment. For example, (SAP) structure Adjustment programme of 1986, National Directorate of employment (NDE) of 1986, Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) poverty alleviation programme etc. all seems to have end in failure after gulping in estimate material and human resources, funded with loan and the associated intrest.

Since the economic structure is disarticulated, being the main structure; the foundation; on which rise the political super structure; and which controls both the intellectual and material production, the implication is the underdevelopment of the entire society. The state of underdevelopment of the entire society raises serious alarm in whole third world countries and the international community. Dependency theory holds that “the condition of underdevelopment is precisely the result of the incorporation of the Third World economies into the capitalist world system which is dominated by the West and North America” (Randall and Theobald 1998, 120), hence in development studies, dependency implies a situation in which a particular country or region relies on another for support, “survival” and growth. The third world countries are the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries. The term therefore implies that the third world is exploited, and hat its destiny is a revolutionary one. Distinctively, the underdevelopment of the third world is marked by a number of common traits; distorted and highly dependent economies devoted to producing primary products for the developed world and to provide markets for their finished goods; traditional, rural social structures; high population growth; and widespread poverty. Despite the widespread poverty of the countryside and the urban shantytowns, the ruling elites of most third world countries are outrageously wealthy (Woldu, 2000). The wind of change of the late 50s and 60s had liberated all the third worlds, Africa and Nigeria, thus rendering whatever differences in the rate of development a peculiarity to the specific country concerned. In the Nigerian perspective, to answer correctly the question- is it environment; or is it in our nature; that we failed or refused to develop, is necessary as it has been rendered impossible by the current climate of pseudo intellectualism fueled by some kind of pseudo-anti-colonialism; now turned into anti-imperialism, which forecloses all discussions by insisting that “we are our own”. This posturing had not only dissuaded us to ask this basic question but had indeed put thick blinkers into our eyes that we cannot see reality, even though we are living in the thick of our unpalatable reality- underdevelopment (Kyari, 2008). This paper hinges deep-seatedly on Chinua Achebe’s “the trouble with Nigeria” (1983); George Ayittey’s ‘Africa in chaos’ (1979) and Kyari Tijani’s ‘Metaphors of Underdevelopment; a reflection from Nigeria’ (2008) as these three (3) legendary masterpieces lay bare the role of African leaders in ensuring and maintaining underdevelopment in Africa. This obvious fact this paper seeks to reiterate just as Kyari Tijani, only that this time, I am not only insisting that Nigeria is gruesomely underdeveloped as caused by her leaders; but that political and development scholars should stop blaming the whites; by implication dependency theory for Nigeria’s underdevelopment. Instead of apportioning blame, we should fix our problems. Unfortunately, Nigerian leaders hide behind these pseudo-intellectualisms to exploit Nigerians and have the whites blamed for our woes since independence in 1960. Since independence in 1960, the level of exploitation of the Nigerian people and their land and resources had been remorseless and horrendous and it has gone on for too long and it was leadership in particular that was responsible. The people turn deaf ear because of their false consciousness engendered by tradition and culture, poverty, ignorance and illiteracy as it was said by Karl Max that mans’ economic status determines his consciousness- consciousness determined by abject poverty Historically, most of the third world countries suffering dependency. Passed common rigorous stages of development from slavery to colonialism/imperialism, and to and to the contemporary globalization. What distinguished one stage from the other was the intensification of the rate of suppression and exploitation mounted on the poor third world countries by the economically developed west.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

What makes human is the ability to be independent from the wills of other people. People of the third world are regarded as sub-human being because of absolute economic dependency on the western developed economies. The problem of the study is that Nigeria like other third world countries has being suffering underdevelopment which emanated from dominant exploitative character of the western economies on which those of the third world depend. The foregoing raises some major questions:

  1. What is the major cause of economic dependency in Nigeria?
  2. What is the role of Nigerian economic elite in the economic dependency problem of the country?
  3. What role do multinational companies play in sustaining economic dependency?

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

In the light of the consideration therefore is the purpose of this work which becomes the task of identifying the historical forces which has generated economic underdevelopment has continues to reproduce itself till today. This history of economic underdevelopment will be traced from the period of colonization to the present time.

It is the aim of this study to examine certain crucial concepts that are closely related to the problem of economic dependency and underdevelopment, specifically:

  1. It will investigate the major cause of economic dependency in Nigeria.
  2. To discover the impact or the role Nigerian economic elite in the economic dependency problem of the country.
  3. To examine the role of Multinationals in the economic dependency of Nigeria

1.4 Research Questions

Question One

How is economic dependency and underdevelopment in Nigeria related?

Question Two

What are the causes of African continent under-development?

Question Three

What are the challenges of development in Nigeria and what is the way forward?

1.4 Significance Of The Study

This study will be of significance to students of different higher of learning as it would enlighten them and the entire nation. Finally, this study will also help to serve as literature (reference source) to the public, individuals and corporate bodies into what to carry out on further research on economic dependence and third world underdevelopment, Nigeria experience

1.5 Data Collection / Methods

The paper largely adopted the library research method as secondary data were utilized from Journals, Newspapers, Books and writers observations.

1.6 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

The scope of the study covers economic dependence third world underdevelopment Nigeria experience. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.

1.7 Definition Of Terms


The state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else.


Underdevelopment, relating to international development, reflects a broad condition or phenomena defined and critiqued by theorists in fields such as economics, development studies, and postcolonial studies

1.8 Organization Of The Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals with further review of the literature.
  • Chapter four concentrates literature were duly reviewed on economic dependency.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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