Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Adrenoceptor (adrenoreceptor; adrenergic receptor) to Ambient » Afropessimism - Depiction, African Rebirth, Impact, Explanations, A Middle Ground, Bibliography

Afropessimism - A Middle Ground

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The truth about Africa's impoverishment lies somewhere between the analyses of Afropessimists and Afro-optimists. There is no doubt that corrupt and uncourageous leadership has been the bane of socioeconomic development of sub-Saharan Africa in the postcolonial period. These leaders stunted democratic processes with force in order to preserve a system of one-person rule with no accountability. They awarded overpriced contracts to foreign companies in exchange for large kickbacks deposited in personal accounts in foreign banks. Their conspicuous consumption, cult of personality, nepotism, and naked abuse of political power encouraged a culture of greed, military coups, and instability, which reduced Africa's competitiveness for foreign investment. Governments borrowed billions in the name of the nation and cronies squandered the money, thereby saddling the people with debt.

It is also true that in the same period, global political and economic policies reinforced the legacy of colonialism and exacerbated Africa's problems of self-rule. Apartheid South Africa sponsored destabilizing wars in the southern African region, and a cycle of Cold War–surrogate wars and conflicts ravaged Angola and Mozambique. These wars claimed millions of African lives and devastated the economies of the warring countries. Economic adjustment policies of the World Bank forced African countries to cut spending in health, education, and infrastructure in order to save money to service foreign debts. Low international prices of commodities produced by Africans caused African countries to lose about $50 billion in the 1980s and early 1990s, the same period of the most virulent Afropessimism. These externally induced problems combined with internal inefficiencies to stunt Africa's political and economic growth and give rise to Afropessimism. However, by the turn of the twenty-first century sub-Saharan Africa's fortunes seemed to have turned markedly for the better.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ayittey, George B. N. Africa Betrayed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

——. Africa In Chaos. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Hammond, Dorothy, and Alta Jablow. The Africa That Never Was: Four Centuries of British Writing about Africa. New York: Twayne, 1970.

Hawk, Beverly G., ed. Africa's Media Image. New York: Praeger, 1992.

Hitchens, Christopher. "Africa without Pity." Vanity Fair (November 1994): 43–52.

Jackson, Robert H., and Carl G. Rosberg. Personal Rule in Black Africa: Prince, Autocrat, Prophet, Tyrant. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Johnson, Paul. "Colonialism's Back—and Not a Moment Too Soon." New York Times Magazine (18 April 1993): 22

Kaplan, Robert. "The Coming Anarchy." Atlantic Monthly (February 1994): 44–76.

——. "Continental Drift." New Republic (28 December 1992): 15.

Michaels, Marguerite. "Retreat From Africa." Foreign Affairs 72, no. 1 (winter 1993): 93–108.

Onwudiwe, Ebere, "Africa's Other Story." Current History 101 (2002): 225–228.

——. "Image and Development: An Exploratory Discussion." Journal of African Policy Studies 1, no. 3 (1995): 85–97.

Onwudiwe, Ebere, and Minabere Ibelema, eds. Afro-Optimism: Perspectives on Africa's Advances. Westport, Conn., and London: Praeger, 2003.

Joseph, Richard A. Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Rise and Fall of the Second Republic. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Richburg, Keith B. Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

Rieff, David. "In Defense of Afropessimism." World Policy Journal 15, no. 4 (winter 1998–1999): 10–22. Also available at http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/rieff.html

Xinhua News Agency. "France: Creditors Should Do More for Africa's Debt Problem." Paris, March 27, 1988, item no. 0327019.

Ebere Onwudiwe

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