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AfricaThe Colonial Legacy And Uneven Capitalist Development, Independence, State-led Development, And Import-substitution Industrialization

Debates over capitalism in Africa revolve around the best means to rescue the continent from a prolonged period of stagnation and decline. Observers agree that the program, in the absence of a socialist alternative, must focus on capitalist development. There is disagreement, however, over the role of the African state in this process, as well as over whether to make raw materials exports or industrialization the main engines of growth. On the one side stand the Bretton Woods Institutions (the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, hereinafter the BWIs), who advocate a neoliberal approach based on freeing up markets for cash crop exports and reducing the state's control over national development. On the other side stand African scholars, mainly those representing the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), who argue for more industrialization and a much stronger role for the state. As the debate has continued, African leaders have moved closer to the BWI position with the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Still, NEPAD has its critics, and the debate persists over the relative roles of the state and the market.

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