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African Development and the Globalization Imperative: New Directions, Familiar Crises

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Globalisation has emerged as the defining conceptual and contextual socioeconomic framework of analysis for the early 21st century. Throughout Africa particularly, globalisation has become a political-economic buzzword for profound structural change, as well as the focus of vociferous and rigorous criticism by those sectors of society disadvantaged, damaged, or bypassed by the forces of global restructuring. Moreover, globalisation often is discussed from an absolutist perspective and framed almost exclusively within the context of the political state. As a result, regions, places, and people frequently are reduced to insignificant actors or are omitted from the analysis altogether. This paper examines the theoretical and practical implications of globalisation for development in Africa and argues for an analytical approach that encompasses key regional and local conditions. With Africa as the framework of reference, six critical elements of development under globalisation are examined: social polarisation, migration, democratisation, cultural identity, transportation, and environmental change. The paper concludes by discussing the concept of ‘globalisation’ and arguing for a policy approach that rethinks the extant framework and restructures the analytical construct in a more proactive manner


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