Rethinking Development: Going Beyond the Political and Economic Equations of the Various Human Dimensions for Sustainable Development in Africa – Problems, Prospects and the Way Forward

Rethinking Development: Going Beyond the Political and Economic Equations of the Various Human Dimensions for Sustainable Development in Africa – Problems, Prospects and the Way Forward

J.W. Forje

Department of Political Science, University ofYaounde 11-Soa, Cameroon.

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There is a serious need for African countries to rethink their development approach. Africa is only known in negative terms the world over. Something positive is also found in the continent contributing to human development and well-being. This paper takes a critical look at issues plaguing the continent’s state of underdevelopment and argues that only the people can fashion their development path taking into cognisance the advantages of being a late-comer to the development process. These advantages can best be exploited with visionary leaders, responsive civil society and a cooperative international community working in tandem with progressive governments. Africa needs an enabling democratic environment, an environment where governments puts the interest of the poor first, pushing forward the virtues of democratic governance, partnership, participation and benefit-sharing among the key stakeholders: state–civil society–private sector and international community interface. It must at the same time avoid corrosive effects of corporate cronyism that promotes corruption and cynicism, which is at the heart of most governments in the continent. Bridges must be constructed between modernity and tradition, and between nature and human beings so that knowledge and technology are used to strengthen the positive well-being of the people. Therefore, the state, people and international community must come together to address the problems of overdevelopment, underdevelopment, environmental destruction and poverty. The conclusion is that Africa needs a developmental democratic state. A social contract or heightened covenant for comprehensive and positive actions built on common determination remains imperative. Proactive strategic policy measures are recommended as ways forward in a fast evolving global knowledge-based economy propelled by the dynamics of information and communication technology and genetic engineering. It is only through echoed common hope and vision that concerted efforts could bridge gulfs between development and underdevelopment, affluence and poverty, and nature’s gift and human aspirations. A partnership of shared values must be constructed for the common good.


benefit-sharing, democratic governance, development, empowerment, environment, human capacity building, inclusion, participation, poor, science and technology, shared values.


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