The Washington Consensus In The African Economy

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For long, the policy prescription by the Washington Consensus played a pivotal role in the development of many African nations. The Washington Consensus was a neo-liberal approach largely adopted by international financial institutions from about the 1980’s through the first decade of the new millennium. With many African countries economic policy thinking largely externally shaped, it was no surprise that the so called Washington Consensus became the doctrine of the day. Many nations in Africa, engaged in full blown structural reform and embarked on a decade of privatization, liberalization and dismantlement of the role of the State in the economy (Lensink, 1996). In the extreme interpretation of the Washington Consensus by its proponents, …show more content…
From 2001 to 2007 China’s trade with Africa increased 681%, much in line with Chinese rapid growth rate during that period. Since becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China’s rapid growth has become significant in the African continent and the global economy (Geda & Meskel, 2009). This emerging pattern of trade seems to suggest China’s need for Africa’s raw materials to sustain its economic growth, therefore, Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) rich natural resources is of great interest to China. In particular, African exports of crude oil, minerals, steel and agricultural products play an important role in China’s economic development. According to the White Paper issued by China’s State Council, China’s exports to Africa are mainly processed food, chemical products, light industrial products, machinery, automobiles and especially now electronic products. Facilitated by this trade, majority of Sub-Saharan African countries were able to switch gears and grow rapidly, registering average growth rates of 5.5% in 2010. Although these numbers reflect huge progress in terms of Africa’s development, many argue the role of China in Africa as being neo-colonial in nature, meaning solely that Chinese capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of local communities, and begs to question how China is helping increase welfare of Sub-Saharan African

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