Commentary from ROAPE Volume 22 Number 65
Taking Leave of the Twentieth Century
A year ago, in ROAPE 60, we observed that the debt crisis provoked a deep pessimism about the prospects for African economic development in the immediate future. While the development process has been characterised historically by alternating waves of optimism and pessimism, the enormity of debt servitude and the ideology of debt management which structured the approach of the international financial institutions made the present conjuncture particularly disquieting. The brief hopes, encouraged by the events of 1989, that the end of the cold war would turn swords into ploughshares, end arms races and shift resources to growth, development and environmental protection have proved unfounded. Instead, US hegemony and the politics of markets have imposed further austerity on the poor and the weak and heightened local, national and global inequalities.