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Liberalisation, Multilateral Institutions and Public Policies : The Issue of Sovereignty In Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Alice Sindzingre

The relationships between sovereignty, development and economic liberalisation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are analysed according to three perspectives: firstly, the effects of economic reforms prescribed from outside by the Bretton Woods institutions, of whether or not their impact on SSA sovereignty is negative for development, and whether or not sovereignty is a desirable or feasible objective regardless of the economic and political context; secondly, SSA as “over” or “under-globalised”; thirdly, the impact of reforms on sovereignty in the three domains of state capacity, financial sector, and external trade. There are no a priori relationships between sovereignty and development: sovereignty can be anti-developmental in the cases of predatory regimes; the intrusion of external agencies and their conditionalities can be detrimental to growth as they may destabilise illegitimate rulers; SSA growth is crippled by its confinement into the post-colonial small open economy model and its dependence on volatile commodity prices; liberalisation has been a positive opportunity for growth while SSA’s relative marginalisation may have protected it against global financial instabilities. As shown by Asian developmental states, the key objectives are rather the re-building of SSA states and their integration into a more balanced multilateral trade and financial system.

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Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Mondes en développement.

Volume (Year): 123 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 23-56

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Handle: RePEc:cai:meddbu:med_123_0023
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