||ABSTRACT This article contests dominant projections of Africa’s future, most notably the Afro-pessimism that permeates almost all Northern analyses. While long-term data do confirm the continent’s developmental impasse, they also dispute the dominant argument that Africa has been isolated and disengaged from the world economy. Indeed, Africa has been increasingly engaged with— and impoverished by—its relationships with Europe and North America.
African scholars, recognising this dilemma, call for a return of the ‘developmental state’. This recommendation, however, like Afro-pessimist projections, fails to take into account fundamental transformations in Africa’s geostrategic and world-economic relationships.
The implications of two key, global transitions are traced for Africa and particularly South Africa: first, the disruptive power of global social movements; second, the rise of Asia and the demise of US and European hegemony over Africa.
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