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Sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa: Issues of knowledge development and agenda setting


  • Sonny Nwankwo
  • Kazem Chaharbaghi
  • Derick Boyd


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore different prisms through which sustainable development (SD) is considered and to situate the discourse in African contexts by highlighting the contestations in which the conventional knowledge of SD is embedded as well as an agenda for improving the institutional framework for productive engagement of Africa nations. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based on desk research and synthesis drawn from the extant literature. Findings - The orthodox knowledge of SD reflects axioms that are inextricably liked to the idiosyncrasies of the developed world; framed in opinions, languages and meanings that are poorly communicated to and understood by rural Africa. As a result, many African countries have remained bystanders in this important global discourse. Practical implications - To engage Africa proactively, a more broadened perspective is required in promoting the global agenda for SD, taking more account of the continent's contextual subjectivities than is presently the case. Originality/value - The treatment offered indicates a need for more context-bound education (not prescriptions) that is sufficiently sensitive and respectful of the complex trajectories characterising Africa's development (or lack of it). It is from this knowledge base that a useful SD agenda for the region might emerge.

Suggested Citation

  • Sonny Nwankwo & Kazem Chaharbaghi & Derick Boyd, 2009. "Sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa: Issues of knowledge development and agenda setting," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(2), pages 119-133, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:8:y:2009:i:2:p:119-133

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