Explaining Development in Africa: An Analysis of Three Approaches.
While the modernization approach "presented a hopeful general framework of progressive development," and the statist theory "[reassesses] the role of the state and pinpoints the effects of political frailty and mismanagement," they both fail to place fault in the correct perspective regarding the difficulty of development in African politics. This paper will aim to prove the dependency theory presents a better analysis of African politics through comparison with modernization and statist theories with regard to: the identified cause of Africa's current state of impoverishment, the challenges each theory presents to Africa's attempts at development, and critiques of each theory.
The modernization perspective on African politics states that "if African countries faltered on [development,] then surely these shortcomings could be attributed either to poor judgment or to an inability to overcome cultural impediments deeply rooted in African societies." That is, the current problems of African politics are due to poor judgment on behalf of the decision-makers. In light of this generalization, modernization theorists find that African politics will evolve into a modern, more "westernized" continent. Using some concepts from modernization theorists, the statist approach identifies current leaders as the root of the systematic problems of African politics. It further goes on to declare that if "Africa is undergoing a process of impoverishment, then the leaders of the new states bear much of the blame for this state of affairs." The dependency approach to African politics, which presents the subject most accurately, argues that the current state of impov!.
erishment "is a result of circumstances that have enabled others to benefit at their expense." In other words, the African states are unable to defeat poverty because of the exploitative powers of former colonialistic countries.