Making the twenty first century its own: Janus faced African (under) development

  • Raymond C. Bush (School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom)


This article critiques the idea that Africa under existing conditions of globalisation can take control of its own destiny in the 21st century. It does so by interrogating the empirical economic evidence for recent growth figures on the continent. It argues the optimism that Africa is on the verge of an economic breakthrough is misplaced and needs to be set in the historical context of recurrent optimism that quickly fades under the realities of exploitation and underdevelopment in the continent. Opportunities for sustainable growth and development lie not with greater integration with the world economy but with, among other things, local political and economic struggles in Africa for greater participation in local decision making and control of international capital.

Key words: Africa, economic growth, crisis, recovery, capitalist development, hydro-carbons 

How to Cite:

Bush, R., (2013) “Making the twenty first century its own: Janus faced African (under) development”, Afrika Focus 26(1). doi:

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Published on
11 Feb 2013
Peer Reviewed