Globalization and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

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This publication critically reviews the effects of globalization on sub-Saharan Africa over the last three decades. The large gains expected from opening up to international economic forces have, to date, been limited, while there have been significant adverse consequences. Foreign direct investment in the region has been largely confined to resource—especially mineral—extraction, even as continuing capital flight has reduced financial resources available for productive investments. Premature trade liberalization has undermined prospects for the economic development of productive capacities in many sectors – including manufacturing and agriculture -- are not sufficiently competitive to take advantage of improvements in market access.




Developments since the 1980s have fundamentally changed the environment and conditions for developmental states attempting to pursue selective industrial or investment and technology policy. Most importantly, economic liberalization – at both national and international levels – has seriously constrained the scope for government policy interventions, especially selective industrial promotion efforts. This is especially apparent in international economic relations, but is also true of domestic or national policy environments, where World Bank and IMF policy conditionalities as well as WTO and other obligations have radically transformed the scope for national economic development policy initiatives.


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