The depth and duration of economic decline, coupled with ecological degradation, political paralysis, and institutional decay, has created an unprecedented crisis in sub-saharan Africa. Explanations for the multiple crises of African development focus on debates regarding the necessity of following market-oriented economic policies, the capacity of African states to manage either development or reform and the way in which African institutions reproduce societies that are resistant either to state-centered development or to market forces. After allowing for events that are beyond the control of policy, the three schools—neoliberal, structural-nationalist, and institutional—are used to evaluate the literature on peasant agriculture, industry, and state policy. The experience of Nigeria indicates that commercial agriculture is increasing, that structural reforms can have some positive benefits and that its hydrocarbon sector can form a basis for regional industrialization. Finally, the rise of popular democratic movement suggests how the crisis has unleashed elements of a formerly passive civil society which promise to reform authoritarianism and discipline rentier states.

Keyword(s): Africaagriculturecrisisindustry

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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