Trade and economic experts have begun a three-day meeting in Accra to explore ways and outline alternatives that would enable African countries response to the challenges in transformation of their economies.
The meeting organised by Third World Network Africa (TWN Africa) an NGO is on the topic: “Global Crisis and Africa: Commodity Dependency and Structural Transformation.”
It aims at developing a comprehensive critical narrative of Africa and the Global Financial and Economic Crisis as part of border progressive critique of neo-liberalism.
In addition, it would develop a research agenda for renewed intellectual, policy output on challenges and strategies for structural transformation of African production capacities, structures and economies.
Professor Adebayo Olukoshi of UN-IDEP said global crisis had created unstable situation and exacerbated dependence of the African Continent on developed countries.
He said the inability of African countries to move from dependence on few exports commodities was a direct result of colonisation through which legitimate trade was seen as a means to pillage the continent’s resources.
Following from this, Professor Olukoshi said, most African economies had become dependent on imports and domestic policies tended to promote import-dependence instead of domestic production agenda.
There is also the problem of a narrow resource base and lack of linkages among the different economic sectors as well as reliance on foreign capital inflows for development, which had helped to perpetuate the dependency.
He said the crisis led to banking and stock market collapse, currency crisis, with exchange volatility and job losses.
Prof Olukoshi said these developments had created a stronger role and influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in shaping policy initiatives such as promoting liberalisation and the increasing rolling back of the State’s role in intervening in the market place.
He explained that African economies were broadly still pursuing the same policies they had to undertake during the structural adjustment programme, adding that there was a shortage of regional integration schemes to deal with the crisis.