Decades after independence, most African countries still fight socio-political and economic challenges. Problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, conflicts, to mention a few, are becoming endemic to the African continent. Furthermore, the effect of climate change and the most recent covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated those challenges. Therefore, it is essential to look deeply at these issues, dissect them, and understand the mechanisms that prevent the development of the African continent. It is in that perspective that this volume edited by Oyalinka Akanle and Jímì Olálékan Adésìnà focuses on the way forward for the African continent to develop. The editors commonly share an interest in social policy development studies, social science and many other areas concerning the African continent. Oyalinka Akanle is a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, at the faculty of Social Sciences. Jímì Olálékan Adésìnà is a SARChI Chair in Social Policy at the College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa and a board member of the UN Research Institute for Social Development.
The volume is a compilation of essays written by different African scholars sharing their view about the development challenges in Africa. It addresses an extensive range of high relevance subjects when it comes to the African development question and contains 22 chapters with the introduction written by the editors. The other chapters are authored by African scholars researching or lecturing in Africa, Asia, and Europe. One notes, however, that the majority of authors are teaching in Nigeria or Cameroon. After the introduction, the first three chapters concentrate on the conceptualisation of development. Abel Akintoye Akintunde and Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale dissect in chapter 2 the approach of different development theories with relationship to development and underdevelopment in Africa. The authors argue that a significant obstacle to understanding African development realities is the epistemic imperialism (p. 18). African development should therefore be attached to the subjective realities of Africans. Also, African Studies should be detached from Eurocentric approaches and non-African theories used to understand Africa's development; it should embrace an Africanist epistemology (p. 23-24).
In chapter 3, Augustine Okechukwu Agugua goes deeper and presents the different events that have affected Africa’s development. The author discusses the development in Africa in relation to the world. Furthermore, the author posits that African development cannot be taken away from the world. Thus, there is a need to look into African development challenges within the rubric of global development dynamics or trends (p. 30). Further, he describes development as a complex, global and multidimensional process and poverty as the most pervasive problem in Africa. Chapter 4, written by Natéwindé Sawadogo and Evéline M.F.W. Sawadogo Compaoré, continues the agreement of the previous chapters and pleads for a shift to a knowledge-centred approach to development. They also, like in the preceding chapters, criticise the Eurocentric view of development imposed on Africa and
The remainder of this volume dives into specific challenges faced by Africa, considered to hinder development with case-studies from Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Kenya and Cameroon. In chapter 5, Kolawole Emmanuel Omomowo addresses poverty, one of the most critical problems the African continent faces. Chizoba Vivian Nwuzor analyses the educational problem in chapter 6. The author analyses Africa's education situation and argues that education is one of the main features of Africa's development. Agriculture, industrialisation and economy are the subjects of chapter 7 by Busani Mpofu. The author presents the interpretations of Africa's development and underdevelopment through the role played by agriculture with a focus on Zimbabwe. Chapter 8 by Madalitso Zililo Phiri focuses on governance in Africa using a comparative case study of South Africa, Rwanda and Mozambique to analyse the impact of governance on Africa’s development. In chapter 9, Wendy Isaacs-Martin analyses conflicts i and their effects on development using the Central Africa Republic as a case study. The role of media is perused in chapter 10 by Damilola Adegoke. The focus in chapter 11 by Victor Ogbonnaya Okorie is on the social inclusion of youth and children in development processes. The implications of health issues are analysed in chapter 12 by Benjamin Anaemene. Through a comparative analysis of different African countries in chapter 13, Richard A. Aborisade and Nurudeen B. Aliyyu explore corruption.
Joseph M. Karanja and Zakaria Abdul-Razak analyse the repercussions of climate change in Africa in chapter 14. The gender issue in Africa and its link to its growth is addressed in chapter 15 by Olabisi Sherifat Yusuff. Olayinka Akanle, in chapter 16, discusses non-state actors and their contributions to development in Africa. Globalisation and its effect in Africa are discussed in chapter 17 by Olanrewaju Emmanuel Ajiboye. Chapter 18 by Samuel O. Oloruntoba present the interconnections of Africa's regional and sub-regional communities through trade agreements. Primus Fonkeng, in chapter 19, analyses the role of international organisations like the United Nations (UN) in conflict prevention in Africa and their influence on development. The frameworks of African development initiatives are examined in chapter 20 by Peter Elias. Walter Gam Nkwi presents in chapter 21 the relationship between migration and development. The last chapter of the volume, chapter 22, discusses aid as a development strategy in Africa and its implications.
This edited volume is a thought-provoking read and an excellent recommendation for students dealing with the developing question of Africa. It is an ambitious book written by African scholars with the precise aim to position the African view of development in the international debate. Fascinating is the link made between media and their influence on development. Indeed, new technologies like the internet have offered a platform for Africans to have easy access to information or circulate information and to organise protests against oppression. The volume uses case studies to explain specific challenges found in the entire African continent. By doing so, it also falls into the trap of the generalisation of Africa. A mistake often blamed on non-African authors. Also, the editors fail to truly engage with the notion of Afritude that they present as the needed epistemology for comprehending Africa's development via an African perspective. It does not affect the value of the volume. Indeed, the contribution of African scholars and African realities is necessary to discuss long-term development in Africa. This discussion can be done without rejecting the immense work done by other scholars, whether African or non-African.