DEPENDENCY AND NEO-SLAVERY IN INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM; A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF AFRICAN STATES
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
No issue is more central in the ongoing debate on Africa’s development than Western economic imperialism. The end of the cold war and triumph of capitalism has vitiated the interest of America in Africa. This shift is understandable as the emerging industrialized nations of Brazil and China takes toll in the international system. This informs an analysis of new forms of dependency in the global South which perhaps is already constraining the economic adjustment and the democratization process in Africa.
This theory derives its name from the word – La Dependencia. It is an economic theory proposed by the developing Latin American countries. Dependency theory developed under the guidance of Raul Prebisch, the director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, in the late 1950s. Dependency was very important tool of analysis in the 1960s and 1970s. The dependency theory explains the dependence of developing countries on powerful developed countries.
There are various strains of dependency theory because of intellectual disagreements among the liberal reformers (Prebisch), the Marxists (Andre Gunder Frank) and the World-system theorists (Wallerstein, 1983).
The dependency theorists distinguish various states according to the different economic functions they perform. Highly developed and advanced super powers like the United States if America fall under the centre-centre (CC) category. Countries like Canada, the Netherlands and Japan fall under the periphery-centre (PC) category. These countries have significant economic development and industrialisation. The third category is the centre-periphery (CP) category, which includes developing countries that are growing fast like Brazil, China and India. The last category is the periphery-periphery (PP) category which consists of countries that are economically backward and have a lot of social issues, like Cambodia, Zambia, El Salvador etc (Ferraro, 1996).
According to the Dependency Theorists, breaking the cycle of the increasing economic disparities between the richer and poorer countries would be to try to become self-sufficient as much as possible, reducing the level of imports and establishing state control over the economy.
Dependency theory holds that “the condition of underdevelopment is precisely the result of the incorporation of the Third World economies into the capitalist world system which is dominated by the West and North America” (Randall and Theobald 1998, 120), hence in development studies, dependency implies a situation in which a particular country or region relies on another for support, “survival” and growth.
The third world countries are the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries. The term therefore implies that the third world is exploited, and hat its destiny is a revolutionary one.
Distinctively, the underdevelopment of the third world such as Africa is marked by a number of common traits; distorted and highly dependent economies devoted to producing primary products for the developed world and to provide markets for their finished goods; traditional, rural social structures; high population growth; and widespread poverty. Despite the widespread poverty of the countryside and the urban shantytowns, the ruling elites of most third world countries are outrageously wealthy (Woldu, 2000).
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Westphalian narrative has been the guide of International Relations (IR). Consequently, the non-European world has been neglected through fabrications in Eurocentric texts. While the Westphalian European States were able to resolve the anarchical challenges through cultural reconstruction, the non-European cultures were often appraised based on the Eurocentric paradigms. Indeed, international theory acts as a tool that legitimizes Anglo-American imperialism in International Studies. For instance, colonization in Africa entails the force-feeding of African materials into the Western-centric structures. This phenomenon produced a distinct (hybrid) system with exotic challenges in Africa. The manifestation of these challenges in the decolonization process is often ignored in the neo-liberal, neo-realist and structural theories. As Craig Murphy put it, ‘More than one out of ten people are African. More than one out of four nations are African. Yet, I would warrant that fewer than one in a hundred university lectures on International Relations given in Europe or North America even mention the continent’ (Murphy 2001: ix). This is not surprising, considering the annals of European imperialism in the continent – slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. The Afro-European relations since the fifteenth century have been colored by European dominance and characterized by the mythologies of African inferiority (Ofonagoro 1980: 58–59; Awolowo 1977: 18–21). Consequently, many Eurocentric scholars often ignore the African contribution to the field. This was an attempt to justify the western centric hegemony in world affairs.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questioned raised for this study are:
- What are the normative assumptions made about how, why and what concepts such as ‘new dependency’ ‘globalization’ and ‘underdevelopment’ might mean in post-colonial Africa?
- What is the nature and structure of international economic relationship of Africa in an era of emerging global giants namely; Brazil and China?
- Is there hegemonity of global powers between industrialized nations vis-a-vis the vulnerable African states.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This paper seeks to present a systemic account of dependency in Africa from the post-colonial perspective. The specifically the study study seeks to:
- interrogate the normative assumptions made about how, why and what concepts such as ‘new dependency’ ‘globalization’ and ‘underdevelopment’ might mean in post-colonial Africa.
- To provide an insight in the nature and structure of international economic relationship of Africa in an era of emerging global giants namely; Brazil and China
- To examine the global hegemonic powers of the industrialized nations vis-a-vis the vulnerable African states.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
this paper focuses on China/Africa relationship in the context of globalization, dependency and neo slavery and economic integration. The paper argues that globalization will be meaningless in the face of underdevelopment and poverty.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Africa which covers 20.4% of the global land area, contains about 13% of the world’s population, but generates only 1.7% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Differences among the countries are considerable. Population ranges from 0.2 million in Sao Tome and Principe to 148 million in Nigeria, while GDP per capita ranges from US$282 in Democratic Republic of the Congo to US$ 28,923 in Equatorial Guinea. The greatest difference among countries is in their size, ranging from 460 km2 in Seychells to 2,375,000km2 in Sudan (inclusive of South Sudan) (UNECA, 2009). This study will provide a brief overview on economic structure of Africa and interntional community relationship.
The data we collected through library research in which the researcher reads, writes and gathers pertinent information related to the topic of this project. After having information from relate d documents such as international journals instrument, books, scientific journals, and others regarding the main problem as the object of this research, then the researcher tries to make conclusion.
1.8 DEFINITION OF MAJOR TERMS
Dependency: it is a relationship between countries in which weaker countries are economically reliant on more developed or economically strong countries
Globalization: Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration between people from different parts of the world.
Modernization: Modernization refers to a model of a progressive transition from a ‘pre-modern’ or ‘traditional’ to a ‘modern’ society
Poverty: it is a he state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount of necessities
1.9 LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY
This research work was carried out under a tight schedule. The time frame was short in between lectures and private studies
1.10 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
The study is arranged into five chapters. This chapter being the first gives an introduction to the study. Chapter two gives a review of the related literature and theoretical framework. Chapter three presents the critique of the dependency theory; chapter four presents the analysis of africa’s international relation usin Africa/china relationship as case study. Chapter five gives a conclusion and recommendations