POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND CRISIS OF DEVELOPMENT IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, 1960-PRESENT

ABSTRACT

In this study we explored the link between political leadership and persisting economic problems in sub- Saharan Africa. Primarily, we interrogated the following questions: Is there a link between persisting economic crises and incompetence on the part of political leadership in sub- Saharan Africa between 1960 and 2009? Do leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa lead to poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy in the period under study? Is leadership failure responsible for poor inter-state relation in sub- Saharan Africa ? This study was discussed under the perspective prism of Marxian political economy as expounded by Karl Marx. In this study we put forward the following hypotheses for testing: There is a link between incompetence on the part of political leadership and persisting economic crises in sub- Saharan Africa between 1960 and 2009. Leadership problems in sub – Saharan Africa lead to poor integration of the region’s economies into the global economy in the period under study. Leadership failure is responsible for the poor inter- state relation in sub- Saharan Africa. These hypotheses were tested in chapters two, three and four respectively. The chapter five contains the summary and conclusion.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Sub-Saharan Africa also known as black Africa covers an area of 24.3 million square kilometers. The region is obviously one of the poorest as it contains most of the Least Developed States in the world. It forms bulk of ACP counties where diseases like malaria is a chronic impediment to economic development. According to the World Bank, the region’s GDP would have been 32% higher in 2003 if the disease had been eradicated in 1960. The population of sub-Saharan Africa was 800 million in 2007 while the current growth rate is 2.3% (www.subsaharanafricapolitical.com). The United Nations (UN) prediction for the population of the region stands at nearly 1.5 billion in 2050. Figures for life expectancy, malnourishment, and infant mortality and HIV/AIDS infections are also dramatic. More than 40% of the populations in sub-Saharan countries are younger than 15 years old. Sub-Saharan Africa has very high child mortality rate. In 2002, one in six (17%) children died before the age of five, by 2007 this rate had declined 16%, to one in seven (15%) while it has increased to 24% since 2008 but with the exception of South Africa (www. development .com).

The region has remained in lockstep with violence and instability since their independence from late 1950s to 1960s, mainly due to the failure of past and present leaders to effectively manage and/or reduce conflict drivers within the region. To surmount this problem and prevent the region from careening towards the vortex of failed state, scholars have advocated that leaders that are honest, sincere and committed to social justice, equity, rule of law and other democratic values that help to bond society and promote stability is unavoidably the answer.