The impact of globalization on Africa

Authored by: Berouk Mesfin

Handbook of Africa’s International Relations

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436334
eBook ISBN: 9780203803929
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2001, at a memorable lecture at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, the eminent British academic Professor Christopher Clapham, who has written extensively on Africa, stated that almost all African countries are traditionally no more than ‘sources of raw materials, hosts to private foreign investors and debtors of Western countries and international institutions’. The author of this chapter, who attended the lecture, raised a number of objections to this blunt assertion pointing to the diversification and difference in economic strength of the countries of Africa. How can one amalgamate comparative economic giants such as South Africa, the sixth largest oil exporter in the world that is Nigeria, and Africa’s numerous exporters of raw materials? The author of this chapter had felt that Professor Clapham’s generalization obscured what Whitman calls ‘national differences, competing if not contradictory impulses, uneven outcomes’. 1

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