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DEPENDENCY AND UNDERDEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA: THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE
1.1 Background of the Study
The concept of dependency and underdevelopment draws our attention to the stagnation, deplorable and peripheral condition of Africa, Asia, Latin America, in the international system. Africa, among other continents in the world, is seen as the poorest continent of the world. In the international system, the G8 (Group of eight) and other international organizations regard Africa states as “POOR” thereby seeing Africa as an incapable or handicapped continent.
The reason becomes why they give out loans to most African states in order to attain the international standard of development, thereby making Africa indebted to the European countries. It is also for the same reason most international organization are established, towards the development of Africa states. Development of most
African states here implies meeting up with the European standard. Taking a look at Africa, it is seen that the problem of underdevelopment in Africa, centers on their inability to transform their raw materials to finished products, as well as their inability to properly manage and harness their products management and good leadership. The African continent is presently facing a unique and unprecedented crisis or problems in its history as a human society. These problems also transcends previous calculations of socio-economic background, balance of payment deficit, poor health statistics, material poverty indebtedness, poor education, disorganizing ethnic welfare, rapid capital flight, alleged law capacity utilization of materials and other human resources and so on. The above listed problems are what makes Africa dependent and underdeveloped, as a result of its incapability to overcome these problems or tackle them successfully. This study attempts to explore the
dimensions of dependency and underdevelopment and access the impact of Africa using Nigeria as a reference point.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In this analysis, we shall explore into the most of the problems Africa, and Nigeria, in particular is faced with and as the analysis goes further, we shall understand the reason for this underdevelopment, and try to sort out possible solutions to go into that, it is paramount to point out factors necessitating the phenomenon of underdevelopment and dependency in Africa, such as;
- The reckless and excess lust for foreign loan and aid: This has to do with a financial assistance granted to third world country in order to boost their economy and project them capable for international trade.
- The domination of import over export trade: This is one of the major problems in Africa, or third world countries economy, since they tend to patronize more of the foreign goods over indigenous goods thereby bringing the implication of exploitation from the foreigners at the detriment of indigenous traders.
iii. Political Crisis and Corruption: Africa is conversant with the above, since it is married with different kind of political crisis ranging from military coups to party crisis and worst of all which is corruption since it is the end products of any political unstable nation.
- The failure of policies made by the government: Since policies made cannot be strictly adhered to them the problems in which that policy was made for has not yet been satisfied or settled, and in most cases these
policies made are irrelevant to the countries or nations development agenda.
- Lastly but not the least poor education: Here the level of education which is the key to every kind of success is too low and a times poor, in third world countries the education, sector is dominated with all manner of malpractices which includes bribery, strikes, indefinite closure of school, due to illegality in its operations, unaccredited academic structures and all other shortcomings etc.
Against this backdrop, this study attempts to provide answers to the following questions,
- Is there a link between dependency and underdevelopment in Africa?
- Is foreign aid responsible for Africa’s underdevelopment?
iii. Is accountability and transparent leadership capable of endangering sustainable development in Nigeria?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to interrogate the link between dependency and underdevelopment in Nigeria, especially the study is aimed at;
- Establishing the link between dependency and underdevelopment in Africa
- Ascertaining that foreign aid is responsible for underdevelopment in Africa
iii. Determining if accountability and transparent leadership are capable of engendering development in Nigeria.
1.4 Literature Review
The term underdevelopment is used in the social sciences to refer to certain areas of the world; it gained prominence in the late 1940’s. Prior to this time, other derogatory terms has been used to quality and describe these areas as meier has noted, in the 18th century, such terms as “rude” and barbarous were used to describe countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the 19th century, those terms were dropped in favour of new terms such as “backward” and primitive”. In the 20th century, especially after the end of world war if the previous terms were equally abandoned in their places, new terms such as “underdevelopment” and “developing” were used.
At the inoment, it has been suggested in some quarters that such tenures as “less developed”, “developing”, “poor”, and emergent countries should used instead of underdeveloped countries. The reason for this
suggestion as spotlighted by Walter Rodney, “is to avoid any unpleasantness which may be attached to it” and which may be interpreted as including such physical deformities as mental and moral underdevelopment.
It is also been suggested that the previous derogatory terms should be dropped in favour of less offensive or mild ones such as “developing” or emergent. This is perceived as a calculated design or ploy by the west to mask or common flag economic stagnation and exploration exists in underdeveloped areas. It is contended for instance that the application of such terms as “developing” instead of underdeveloped gives an erroneous impression, that these countries are changing positively and thus are developing and that if the right policies are implemented, sooner or later these countries will definitely catch up with the developed countries of the world.
In view of this assumption, the Marxist Theorist prefer to use the term “underdevelopment” to describe the less developed parts of the world. The reason for this is that the term “underdevelopment” is believed to be best concept that can apply describe the state of stagnation and exploitation that is prevalent in these societies. We now shall examine the meaning of the concept of underdevelopment.
Underdevelopment the Liberal Perspective
The liberal scholars conceive of underdevelopment in terms of backwardness and primitivity. This explains why it is common for them to use the term “agrarian” and pre-industrial to in apply underdeveloped parts of the world. Implicit in this conception of underdevelopment is the fact that it is a natural or original condition, which has existed from fine immoral. In other words it is believed by the bourgeois scholars that
underdevelopment is not caused by an external factor but rather is induced by internal variable.
Pulating the above, it is the alternative explanation which is equally offered to support the view that underdevelopment is a natural process. In this view, it is stated that development and underdevelopment are natural process ordained by God. It is contended that the developed parts of the world have been endowed by God with wisdom and high intelligence quotient (IQ). This explains why they are superior and advanced. On the other hand, the same God is said to have created the underdeveloped societies differently. He makes them to be culturally and psychologically interior, which is said to be responsible for their state of backwardness.
It is important to state that even though the bourgeois scholars are agreed on the fact that natural and internal forces causes underdevelopment, there is no agreement with respect to which internal variable
actually bring it about. According to Ragna Nurke in his work “problems of capital accumulation in poor countries; a country is backward and poor because it is poor.
This represents a vicious circle of poverty that “runs from low income productivity and then back to real income.
In his own contribution, Richard Eastern line attributed underdevelopment to the eliminate, over population and lack of motivation on the part of the population.
Other scholars still blame the situation on radical grounds, peasants conservation, and strong attachments to tribal customs such as extended family and hand fame system.
In view of the fact bourgeois scholars attribute underdevelopment to internal factors, this has influenced how they defined it. According to them it can be defined
as a natural state of social, psychological, political land economic backwardness occasioned by natural and internal milieu. This definition leads the liberal scholars to postulate that the way out of this backwardness is through modernization. That is “Europeanization” or “Americanization” of the economy in order to stimulate growth and progress.
Underdevelopment: The Marxist Perspective
To the radical scholars, it is untrue that underdevelopment connotes backwardness, primituity or lack of underdevelopment. This is because every people have developed in one way or the other and to a greater or lesser extent.
Equally untrue is the assertion that it is a natural process to the radical man –made process and a manifestation of a long period of economic and political relationship between these countries and the advanced industrialized parts of the world.
Quite unlike the bourgeois scholars who claimed that capitalism played no part in the creation of underdevelopment but natural and internal factors; the radical scholars think differently. The thesis of dependency theorists is that underdevelopment is caused by capitalism which guarantees exploitation. This position has been supported not only empirically but logical and factual presentation of concrete evidence. For instance, while supporting the view that underdevelopment is caused by the interplay between internal structures; Gunder Frank asserted:
Underdevelopment is not simply non-development, but is a unique type of socio-economic structure brought about by the integration of society concerned into the sphere of the advanced capitalist countries.
It is the view of the radical scholars that it is the same process that fosters development in the industrialized parts of the world which fools development
and generates underdevelopment as third world countries. Put in another way, the integration of third world countries into the main stream of world capitalism has enhanced the rate of development in the third world. This position has been beautifully articulated by Osvaldo Sunkel when he observes;
We postulate that development and underdevelopment are the two faces, of the same universal process, and what its geographic expression is translated into two great polarizations on the one hand one polaziration of the world between industrial, advanced developed and metropolitan countries and underdeveloped, backward, poor, peripheral and dependent countries and on the other hand, polarization within countries in terms of space, backward, primitive, marginal and activities.
Similar views have been expressed by other eminent scholars of the Marxist persuasion. The most forceful among them are Kay, Jaguaribe, Celso, Rodney, Frank,
Dos Santos, and Cotten. They have argued though with different emphasis that the foreign penetration is the causes of underdevelopment.
Arising from this premises, they contended that underdevelopment is the state of backwardness, retardations and economic distortion counsel by exploration and plunder of the economies of the developing areas as the result of their integration into world capitalism.
This perception of underdevelopment has constrained Rodney to assert that;
A second and even more indispensable component of modern underdevelopment is that it expresses a particular relationship of exploitation, namely; exploitation of one country to another. All of the countries named “underdeveloping is exploited by the other and underdevelopment with which the world is now preoccupied is a product of capitalism.
From our discussion so far on the concept of underdevelopment, we have seen that the term has been used and defined differently by both the liberal and radical scholars. The way these scholars defined it is apparently influenced by what they think causes underdevelopment while the liberal views on underdevelopment is that, it is an original and natural situation, the Marxist scholars are of the view that it is an artificial process caused by the exploitation of one country by another. Our knowledge of underdevelopment should place us on a vintage pedestal to understand the concept of the “third world” or “dependency”.
The concept of “dependency” coined by a Brazilian sociologist Fernando Hennighe Caidoso, helps to link both and political analysis that is, it links those who are beneficiaries of development with those who make decisions. Dependency simply stated that crucial economic decisions are made not by the countries that
are being “developed” but by foreigners whose interests are carefully safeguarded foreigners use their economic power to buy political power in the countries that they penetrate. This could mean political pressures, the imperialist monopolies or even military intervention. This collusion between aliara economic and political power distorts both the economy and the policy of the dependent countries. Out of this situation is the emergence of political alliances between foreign bourgeois. The process is now complete because first all the metropolis exploits the colonies, so does the domestic colonial bourgeois class exploit the rest of the population.
The term “dependency” is shrouded in the definitive ambiguity. This explains why there are many definitions for the term. In its earliest conception dependency, as noted by Ian Roxborough, was defined as “the observers side of a theory of imperialism” implicit in this formation is the notion that imperialism has two faces.
The first represents the colonial powers, while the others represent the “imperialized” or dependent countries in this sense, theories of dependency were believed to have the potentials of explaining the social and economic process which occurred in the “imperialized” or dependent countries.
The above perception of dependency must have been influenced by the postulation of V.I. Lenin on imperialism. As the first scholar to have used the term “dependency” Lenin contended that capitalism imperialism is a manifestation of the struggle among the colonial powers for economic and political denomination, as well as division the world. He observed that;
Not only are there to main groups of countries, those owning colonies and the colonies themselves, but also diverse forms of dependent countries which politically are formally independent but infact enmeshed in the net of financial and diplomatic dependency.
Lenin’s observation merely captures the nature of dependency as a logical manifestation of imperialism. It does not give adequate insight for an in-depth operationalization of the concept; various definitions have been made as there are some scholars.
In his contribution, P. O. Brien articulated the view that “dependent countries are the one which lacks the capacity for autonomous growth and they lack this because their structures are dependent ones.
This position seems to tally with Bill Warren, who contends that;
Dependency represents the complex socio-economic relationship that bind the advanced capitalist countries of the “center” (the United States of America, Japan, Western Europe) and the Latin America countries of the “periphery” such that the movements and structures of the former decisively determine those of the latter in a fashion somehow detrimental to the economic progress of the Latin American societies.
The definition of dependency Dos Santos is the most incisive and concise. It encapsulates the central ideas of most radical scholar in the area.
According to Dos Santos, dependency means;
A situation in which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which the former is subjected. The relation of inter dependence between these and world trade, assumes the form of dependence when some countries (the dominant ones) can do this only as reflection of the expansion, which can have either a positive or negative effect on their immediate development.
Dos Santos position was expanded by Osvaldo Sunkel as he maintained that;
Foreign factors are seen not as external but as intrinsic to the system, with manifold and some times hidden or subtle political, financial, economic, technical and cultural effects inside the underdevelopment country. Thus
this concept of “dependency” links the post – war evolution of capitalism internationally to the discriminatory nature of the local process of Development, as well know it. Access to the means and benefits of development is selective rather than spreading them, the process lends to ensure a self reinforcing accumulation of privilege for special groups as well as the continued existence of a marginal class.
Ian Rox Borough has reduced other usages of the term “Dependency” into two basic approaches namely; Dependency as a relationship or as a conditioning for factors which alters the internal functioning elements of the dependent social formation. Regardless of how one sees dependency, in essence, it implies a kind of parasitic relationship that exists between the highly industrialized countries, and the less developed ones in a manner that ensures the continuous advancement of the former to the detriment of the latter. An example could bedrawn from the Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, here we see how we take
out variable time and money to export our natural resources to be refined in the developed or industrialized countries; and after being refined in these places, it is imported back to the home nation, were it is being distributed and sold at a higher price, irrespective of the fact that the old is naturally gotten from this country. As a result, we now pay higher to get what naturally belongs to us, thereby depriving us the privilege to enjoy our natural resources. Now it is noted we use our natural resources to maximize the economy and suffer or rather pay tighter to get what is ours.
Dependency as noted earlier states that crucial economic decisions are made not by the countries that are being “developed” but by foreigners whose interest are carefully safeguarded, foreigners use their economic power to buy political power in the country that they penetrate. Instances could be drawn from the IMF, SAP, World Bank etc. The western world adopted this strategy
which appeared as a means to develop most African states and Nigeria in particular, thereby learning Nigeria and most African states indebted to these Europe nations and as of which the debts owned by these developing nations, increases as times goes by and becomes a reary tasks for the developing nations as a result of their incapability to pay backs the idea now leaves Nigeria and Africa unable to attain autonomous growth because their structures are dependent ones.
Dependency can be seen or defined as an explanation of the economic development of a state in terms of the external influences, political economic and cultural on national development.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study cannot be over emphasized because it is of great importance and adds to the existing knowledge towards the concept (Dependency
and underdevelopment). As such the ongoing analysis becomes of great importance to these who particularly seek to understand why Africa or Nigeria is dependent on the western world. Also of high value of today’s government of Nigeria, which tries to eradicate the concept of dependency and underdevelopment from the Nigeria, socio-economic and political system
This study is finally important to Nigeria and Africa as a whole because it explores and attempts to bring possible solution on how Nigeria could attain a sustainable development, inspite of her dependent nature.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
This study considers dependency theory most appropriate as the frame work of analysis. Dependency theory is a body of social science theories, both from developed and developing nations that creates a world
view which suggests that poor underdeveloped states of the periphery are exploited by wealthy developed nations of the center in order to sustain economic growth and remain wealthy.
For example, these European stats of the world, issued out loans to most African states for development exercise, and these African states, have been made to service these debts from time to time irrespective of the fact that most African stated are unable to pay up these debts.
Now it is seen that even the amount paid on debt servicing for a number of years, has even exceeded the debt owned by these African states. This is an example of what these European, or rather what the theory of dependency explains by suggesting that the poor underdeveloped nations of the periphery are exploited by the wealthy developed nations of the center in order to sustain economic growth and remain wealthy.
Dependency theory developed in the late 1950’s under the guidance of the Director of the United Nations Economic commission for Latin America Raul Presbisch. Presbisch and his colleagues were troubled by the fact that the economic growth in advanced industrialized countries did not necessarily lead to the growth of the poorer countries. Indeed, their studies suggested that economic activity in the rural countries often led to serous economic problem in the poorer countries. Such as possibility was not predicted by neo classified theory, which lead assumed that economic growth was beneficial to all even if the benefits were not equally shared.
Presebisch’s initial explanation for the phenomenon was very straight forward, poor countries exported primary commodities to the right countries that then manufactured products out of those commodities and sold them back to the poor countries. The value added by manufacturing a usable product always cost more than
their primary products used to create those products. For instance, in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, it is observed that we export our oil to these westerns, for refinery and after it is being refined, we also take out variable time and money to import back this oil, and at the end of the day, the cost of exportation and importation of these products, becomes so high but no profit is realized after the transaction. This now boils down to the increment of fuel price in Nigeria, workers go on strike etc. Therefore poorer countries would never be earning enough from their export earnings to pay for their exports.
Presbisch’s solution was similarly straight forward poorer countries should embark on program of import substitution so that they need not purchase the manufactured product from the richer countries. The poorer countries would still sell their primary product on the world market but their foreign exchange reserves world not be used to purchase their manufacturers from abroad.
Three issues made this policy difficult to flow. The first is that the internal markets of the poorer countries were not large enough to support the economies of scale used by the richer countries to keep their prices low.
The second issue concerned the political will of the poorer countries as to whether a transformation from being primary product producers was possible or desirable.
The final issue revolved around the extent to which the poorer countries actually had control of their primary products, particularly in the area of selling those products aboard.
These obstacles to the import substitute policy led others to think a little more creatively and his toxically at the relationship between rich and poor countries.
At this point, dependency theory was viewed as a possible way of explaining the persistent poverty of the poorer countries. The traditional neo-classical approach said vertically nothing on this question except to assert that the poorer countries were late in coming to solid economic practices and then as soon as they learned the techniques of modern economies, then the poverty will begin to subside. However Marxist theorists of viewed the persistent poverty as a consequence of capitalists exploitation. And e new body of thought, called the “word system approach” argued that the poverty was a direct consequence of the evolution of the international political economy into a fairly rigid division of labour, which favoured the rich and penalized the poor.
Understanding Dependency Theory
The debates among the liberal reforms (prebisch). The Marxist (Andre Gunder Frank) and the world system theorists (Waller Stein) was rigorous and intellectually
quite challenging. There are still points of serious disagreement among the various strains of dependency theories and it is a mistake to think that there is only one unified theory of dependency.
Nonetheless, there are some core propositions which seems to underline the analysis of most dependency theorists.
Dependency can be defined as an explanation of the economic development of a state in terms of the external influences, political economic and cultural on national development policies.
Dependency also is a historical condition which shapes a certain structure of the world economy such that it favours some countries to the detriment of others and limit the development possibility of the sub-ordinate economies, a situation include the economy of a certain group of countries is conditional by the development and expansion of another economy to which their own is subjected an example of this could be traced from the colonial history. These European came to Africa, introduced us to cash crops, which led us to the moneterization policy, and at this level things started being difficult, and people work so hard to get money this time. This monetarization policy now led to debt crisis as a result of the inability to meet up to this standards, and the debt crisis issue, now resulted to brain drain and poverty in Africa and also the level of our underdevelopment. Now with this example, it is noted that dependency is a historical condition that shapes a certain structure of the world economy that if favours some countries to the detriment of others and limits the development possibilities of the sub-ordinate economies.
There are three common features of these definition, which most dependency theorists share, first, dependency characterizes the international system as comprised of two sets of states, variously described as
dominant, dependent, center/periphery or metropolitan/satellite.
The dominant states are the advanced industrialized nations in the organization of economic co-operation and development (OECD). The dependent states are those states of Latin America, Africa, Asia which have low per capital GNP’s and which rely heavily on the export of a simple commodity for foreign exchange earnings.
Second, both definitions have in common the assumption that the external forces are of singular importance to the economic activities within the dependent states. These external factors includes multinational corporations, international commodity markets, foreign assistance, communications and any other means by which the advanced industrialized countries can represent their economic interests abroad.
Third, the definition of dependency all indicate that the relations between dominant and dependent states are dynamic because the interaction between the two sets of states tend to not only reinforce but also intensify the unequal patterns. More over dependency is a very deep-seated historical process, rooted in the internationalization of capitalism.
As such, dependency theory here explains the present underdeveloped states of many nations in the world by examining the patterns of interactions among nations and by arguing that inequality among nation is an intrinsic part of those interactions.
1.6.1 Method of Data Collection
The method of data collection in this research work is the secondary mode of data collection, first as stated in the research proposal. The secondary mode of Data
collection here implies visiting of libraries, extraction of information from journals, newspapers and books.
1.6.2 Method of Data Analysis
Since the method of data collection was the secondary mode of data collection, or rather the non-reactive method of data collection, the method of data analysis here, is the qualitative method of data analysis. It is more explanatory in nature.
- There is a strong link between dependency and underdevelopment in Africa.
- Foreign aid appears to be responsible for the underdevelopment of Africa.
- Accountability and transparent leadership are capable of a gendering development in Nigeria.
1.8 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this study centers around the dependency status of Africa, particularly, how the dependency status endangers the economic development of most African states. The scope of this study also emphasis on how a sustainable development can be attained inspite of the dependent nature of Africans and particularly Nigeria.
Too many factors stood as limitations to this research study, insufficient finance, was one major problem faced during this research work. This study also suffered the problem of data collection and management.
1.9 Operationalization of Concepts
In this study, some political concepts will be adopted or rather applied in relation to the study and they includes as follows
Oligarchy: Government by the few, the logically exclusive categories of government by one, the few or the many that have been widely deployed, but the terminology has varied for example, aristocracy, is a form of government by the few, Aristotle distinguished between rules who govern in their own interests (Oligarchy). Sociologists have made claims about a necessary connection between organization and oligarchy.
Hegemony: When social class, exits power over others beyond that accounted for by coercion or law, it may be described as meaning hegemonic, drawing on the Greek word “hegemony” meaning chieftaincies. Thus she bourgeois was regarded as hegemonic within capitalists society by gramsic, who believed their power depended onthe permeation by bourgeois values of all organ of the society.
Elite: Privileged minority, a small group of people within a larger group who have more power, social standard, wealth or talent then the rest of the group restricting powers and privileges in a society to a member of one small favoured group, and the belief that this arrangement is justified by their support.