Professor Ian Taylor takes a critical look at prevalent Africa rising discourses, arguing that such commentaries neglect the historical roots of the continent’s underdevelopment.
Africa is said to be rising, with current high growth rates being pointed to as indicators that the continent has turned a corner; that it is in fact, “the next Asia”. Such commentaries, however popular they may be, neglect the deep historical roots of the continent’s underdevelopment and overlook the structural challenges to any notional Africa rising narrative.
This lecture will argue that what has happened over the last 20 years or so (the period upon which the “Africa rising” discourse has been based) has actually witnessed the reproduction and reification of historical tendencies that formerly were held to be indicators of Africa’s maldevelopment. Ahistorical accounts that sweep away the past record of Africa and the transnational linkages that help maintain the continent’s position in the global economy need serious interrogation. Otherwise, history will simply repeat itself.
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