ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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African Engagement with the Global Economy

Reclaiming Africa: Scramble and Resistance in the 21st Century edited by Sam Moyo, Praveen Jha and Paris Yeros, Springer, 2019; pp 269, 7,503 (hardcover).


The scramble for Africa used to be a reliable marker of colonialism, and then, in the second half of the 20th century, of neocolonialism as perpetuated by the Northern/Western powers. But, from the end of the 20th century, the discourse around this became more diverse and even confused, as the new kids on the block (like China, India and even Brazil) became increasingly prominent in African trade, aid and investment. Western analysts were quick to dub this 21st century interaction as “the new scramble for Africa,” this time, driven by the more dynamic and populous nations among emerging markets. This conveniently allowed the ex-colonisers, and the United States (US) in particular, to present themselves as more concerned with human rights and “governance” in Africa, unlike the recent protagonists who were described as only being interested in stripping the continent of its natural wealth.

Inevitably, the reality is more complex. The new-found sympathy expressed by many Western analysts in the face of the new entrants must certainly be taken with several buckets of salt, since they also spring from frustration, with some diminution of their bargaining power and ability to control economic processes in Africa. But, it is also true that the engagement of emerging powers like China and India has not been entirely glorious: along with the much-needed infrastructure investment and increased demand that has improved both the volumes and the terms of trade for African exporters, there have also been concerns about the impacts on local production and employment and the possible re-emergence of colonial-type trade and aid patterns.

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Updated On : 2nd Mar, 2020
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