BRICS in Africa and Underdevelopment: How Different?

  • Ian Taylor
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Barely a week passes without some new official report, media article, or conference eulogizing Africa and its growth figures, this then being automatically and uncritically extended to announcements about the unlimited potential for capital accumulation and profit to be made in this new frontier. This is natural, given the ongoing dominant social system and its normative values where the underlying logic and driving force of capitalism and capital is the accumulation of profits; in the words of Marx, the “boundless drive for enrichment” and the “passionate chase after value” (Marx, 1867/1976, p. 254). It is this “dynamic of endless accumulation” and quest for “accumulation for its own sake” (Brenner, 2006, p. 80) that makes capitalism such a pioneering and productive economic system, albeit intrinsically and pitilessly exploitative. Played out in Africa, “Business conferences are filled with frothy talk of African lions overtaking Asian tigers” (Economist, March 2, 2013).


International Energy Agency Debt Relief BRICS Country African Economy United Nations Economic Commission 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adamson, P., 2013. “A Measure of Progress.” New Internationalist, 460, March.Google Scholar
  2. African Development Bank, 2012. African Economic Outlook 2012. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  3. Aglietta, M., 2008. “Into a New Growth Regime.” New Left Review, 54, 61–74.Google Scholar
  4. Ake, C., 1981. A Political Economy of Africa. Lagos: Longman Nigeria.Google Scholar
  5. Amin, S., 1974. Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of The Theory of Underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  6. Amin, S., 2002. “Africa: Living on the Fringe.” Monthly Review, 53(10), 41–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Amin, S., 2004. The Liberal Virus: Permanent War and the Americanization of the World. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  8. Amin, S., 2010. Maldevelopment: Anatomy of a Global Failure. Oxford: Pambazuka Press.Google Scholar
  9. Amin, S., 2014. Samir Amin: Pioneer of the Rise of the South. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Amoako, K., 2011. “Transforming Africa: Start Now, We Can’t Wait.” African Business, July.Google Scholar
  11. Anand, D., 2011. “China and India: Postcolonial Informal Empires in the Emerging Global Order.” Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture and Society, 24(1), 68–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ancharaz, V., 2011. “Trade, Jobs and Growth in Africa: An Empirical Investigation of the Export-Led Jobless Growth Hypothesis”, Paper presented at the ICITE 3rd Regional Conference on “Trade, Jobs and Inclusive Development”, Gammarth, Tunisia, September 22.Google Scholar
  13. Aryeetey, E., Devarajan, S., Kanbur, R. and Kasekunde, L. (2012) ‘Overview’ in Aryeety, E., Devarajan, S., Kanbur, R. and Kasekunde, L. (eds.) Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Austen, R., 1987. Africa in Economic History. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  15. Bayart, J.-F., 2000. “Africa in the World: A History of Extraversion.” African Affairs, 99, pp. 217–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brenner, R., 2006. “What Is, and What Is not, Imperialism?” Historical Materialism, 14(4), 79–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carmody, P., 2013. The Rise of the BRICS in Africa: The Geopolitics of South-South Relations. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  18. Cornelissen, S., 2009. “Awkward Embraces: Emerging and Established Powers and the Shifting Fortunes of Africa’s International Relations in the Twenty-first Century.” Politikon, 36(1), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dowd, D., 1967. “Some Issues of Economic Development and of Development Economics.” Journal of Economic Issues, 1(3), 149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fatton, R., 1999. “Civil Society Revisited: Africa in the New Millennium.” West Africa Review, 1(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  21. Ferguson, J., 2006. Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fioramonti, L., 2013. Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  23. First, R., 1982. The Barrel of a Gun. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. Gramsci, A., 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  25. Harris, D., 1975. “The Political Economy of Africa: Underdevelopment or Revolution.” In D. Harris (ed.) The Political Economy of Africa. New York: Schenkman.Google Scholar
  26. Ivins, C., 2013. Inequality Matters: BRICS Inequalities Fact Sheet. Rio de Janeiro: BRICS Policy Center.Google Scholar
  27. Kelsall, T., 2013. Business, Politics, and the State in Africa: Challenging the Orthodoxies on Growth and Transformation. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  28. Kimenyi, M. and Lewis, Z., 2011. “The BRICs and the New Scramble for Africa.” In Brookings Institute Foresight Africa: The Continent’s Greatest Challenges and Opportunities for 2011. New York: Brookings Institute.Google Scholar
  29. Kornegay, F. and Landsberg, C., 2009. “Engaging Emerging Powers: Africa’s Search for a ‘Common Position’.” Politikon, 36(1), 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kurečić, P. and Bandov, G., 2011. “The Contemporary Role and Perspectives of the BRIC States in the World-Order.” Elektronik Siyaset Bilimi Araştirmalari Dergisi, 2(2), 13–32.Google Scholar
  31. Lin, J. and Rosenblatt, D., 2012 “Shifting Patterns of Economic Growth and Rethinking Development.” Journal of Economic Policy Reform, 15(3), 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mafeje, A., 1992. In Search of Alternatives: A Collection of Essays on Revolutionary Theory. Harare: SAPES.Google Scholar
  33. Mahbubani, K., 2008. The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. New York: PublicAffairs.Google Scholar
  34. Mahbubani, K., 2011. “Can Asia Re-legitimize Global Governance?” Review of International Political Economy, 18(1), 131–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Markovitz, I., (ed.), 1987. Studies in Power and Class in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Marx, K., 1867/1976. Capital. I. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  37. Mbaye, J., (n.d.) “New Colonialists: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: BRICS Relevance to the African Creative Economy.”
  38. McKinsey Global Institute, 2010. Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies. London: McKinsey.Google Scholar
  39. McMichael, P., Petras, J. and Rhodes, R., 1974. “Imperialism and the Contradictions of Development.” New Left Review, I(85), pp. 83–104.Google Scholar
  40. McMillan, M. and Rodrik, D., 2011. Globalization, Structural Change and Productivity Growth. NBER Working Paper 17143, June.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mentan, T., 2010. The State in Africa: An Analysis of Impacts of Historical Trajectories of Global Capitalist Expansion and Domination in the Continent. Bamenda: Langaa.Google Scholar
  42. Mignolo, W., 2012. “The Role of BRICS Countries in the Becoming World Order: ‘Humanity’, Imperial/Colonial Difference and the Racial Distribution of Capital and Knowledge”, Paper presented at the International Conference, “Humanity and Difference in a Global Age” organized by UNESCO, Tsinghua University and Universidade Candido Mendes, Beijing, May 23–25.Google Scholar
  43. Mutenyo, J., 2011. “Driving Africa’s Growth through Expanding Exports.” In Foresight Africa: The Continent’s Greatest Challenges and Opportunities for 2011. New York: Brookings, 28–29Google Scholar
  44. Nabudere, D., 2011. Archie Mafeje: Scholar, Activist and Thinker. Pretoria: Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  45. Naidu, S., Corkin, L. and Herman, H., 2009. “Introduction.” Politikon, 36(1), 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nkrumah, K., 1970. Class Struggle in Africa. London: Panaf Books.Google Scholar
  47. Petithomme, M., 2013. “Much Ado About Nothing? The Limited Effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes and the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative on the Reduction of External Debts in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Empirical Analysis.” African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 7(2), 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rampa, F., Sanoussi, B. and Sidiropoulos, E., 2012. “Leveraging South-South Cooperation for Africa’s Development.” South African Journal of International Affairs, 19(2), 247–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rodney, W., 2012. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Oxford: Pambazuka Press.Google Scholar
  50. Sharma, R., 2014. “The Ever-emerging Markets: Why Economic Forecasts Fail.” Foreign Affairs, 93(2),
  51. Shaw, T., 1985. Towards a Political Economy for Africa: The Dialectics of Dependence. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shivji, I., 1980. “The State in the Dominated Social Formations of Africa: Some Theoretical Issues.” International Social Science Journal, 32(4), 730–742.Google Scholar
  53. Sindzingre, A., 2013. “The Ambivalent Impact of Commodities: Structural Change or Status Quo in Sub-Saharan Africa?” South African Journal of International Affairs, 20(1), 23–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Smith, N., 1990. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  55. Southall, R., 2008. “The ‘New Scramble’ and Labour in Africa.” Labour, Capital and Society, 41(2), 128–155.Google Scholar
  56. Szentes, T., 1971. The Political Economy of Underdevelopment. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
  57. Taylor, I., 2003. “As Good as It Gets? Botswana’s ‘Democratic Development’.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 21(2), 215–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor, I., 2009. China’s New Role in Africa. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  59. Taylor, S., 2012. Globalization and the Cultures of Business in Africa: From Patrimonialism to Profit. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  60. UNDESA, 2013. World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013: Global Outlook. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  61. UNECA, 2013a. Africa-BRICS Cooperation: Implications for Growth, Employment and Structural Transformation. Addis Ababa: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.Google Scholar
  62. Warren, B., 1973. “Imperialism and Capitalist Industrialization.” New Left Review, I(81), 3–44.Google Scholar
  63. Weeks, J., 2010. “A Study for Trade and Development Report 2010: Employment, Productivity and Growth in Africa South of the Sahara”, Unpublished paper, Centre for Development Policy and Research, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.Google Scholar
  64. Williams, G., 1980. State and Society in Nigeria. Idanre: Afrografika Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ian Taylor 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Taylor

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations