Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Patricia Agupusi -- Home-grown Development Initiatives in Africa: Illusion or Reality?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

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Home-grown Development Initiatives in Africa: Illusion or Reality?," with Patricia Agupusi, Research Fellow and Associate Tutor at the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, UK.

For the past three decades, the rise of emerging economies—especially in South East Asia—has defied the traditional thinking of development theories. However, it is the current surge of large economies (China, India and Brazil) that is reshaping development thinking. Given this accelerating developmental pace of some countries in Asia and Latin America and how activities in a particular region or country shape the rest of the world, one cannot help but ask where the African countries are in this new wave of development and in the global order, despite a record of high growth in the past decade. Will African countries be left behind again? As a result, key stakeholders and development organizations such as the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) have called for an African renaissance that articulates ‘home-grown’ development initiatives to propel African countries into convergences with the rest of the world. This emanates from three key assumptions: first, externally influenced development initiatives have failed in African countries; second, the new emerging economies such as China and Brazil are developing through local strategies; third, Africa is not a homogenous society and therefore demands local development initiatives that take into account the diversity of each society and their comparative advantages. The discourse of African development challenges and alternative paradigms abound. My goal is to provide a critical evaluation of "home-grown" development initiatives in Africa that started in the 1990s as alternatives to externally driven development. This is an attempt to examine two key questions: What is a ‘home-grown’ initiative? To what extent are current development initiatives in African countries home-grown? These will be tackled by using Sen’s conceptualization of development to critically analyze development initiatives in Africa.

Location: McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street.