Theorizing Africa’s Development Problem

  • Natéwindé Sawadogo
  • Evéline M. F. W. Sawadogo Compaoré
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 71)


From the end of the first decade of the new millennium, the controversies around the role of science, and thus of higher education, in Africa’s development were over. In this chapter, we demonstrate through a thorough review of the literature and a strong synthesis of the pattern of theorizing regarding Africa’s development problem, the challenges facing the continent. Our argument is that from the end of the first decade of the new millennium, the controversies around the role of science in development have given way to a new consensus, that of science as a driver of development. In this respect, African governments have no more reason to neglect their higher education, because a controlled promotion of this will result in significant improvement in many aspects of development. The increasing central economic importance of science gives it a political significance, which social scientists are yet to uncover through an imaginative use of the frameworks that leading African scholars have developed, particularly in the 1970s, to understand the African development problem, known as dependency theory. African social theory of that period can significantly help renew the social studies of science, technology and innovation, in general, and in the area of development in particular.


  1. Adesina, O. O. (2006). Sociology, endogeneity and the challenge of transformation. African Sociological Review, 10(2), 133–150.Google Scholar
  2. Aebischer, P. (2015). Universities: Increasingly global players. In United Nation Educational, Scientific Cultural Organization (Ed.), Towards 2030: UNESCO science report (pp. 3–5). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  3. Ajayi, F. A. J. (1973). Towards an African academic community. In M. T. Yesufu (Ed.), Creating the African university: Emerging issues in the 1970’s (pp. 11–19). Ibadan: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Anyanwu, J. C., Andrew, E., Erhijakpor, O., & Obi, E. (2016). Empirical analysis of the key drivers of income inequality in West Africa. African Development Review, 28(1), 18–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aron, R. (2006). Theorie du Development et Ideologies de Notre Temps (1962). In R. Aron (Ed.), Les Societes Modernes (pp. 293–319). Paris: Press Universitaire.Google Scholar
  6. Arvanitis, R., Waast, R., & Gaillard, J. (2000). Science in Africa: A bibliometric panorama using PASCAL database. Scientometrics, 47, 457–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Asad, T. (Ed.). (1973). Anthropology and the colonial encounter. New York: Humanity Books.Google Scholar
  8. Cimoli, M., Dosi, G., & Stiglitz, J. E. (2009). Industrial policy and development: The political economy of capabilities accumulation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Compaoré, E. M. F. W. (2013). Science, technology and development: A case study of agricultural biotechnology in Burkina Faso. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.Google Scholar
  10. Compaoré, E. M. F. W. (2014). Science, technology and development: A case study of agricultural biotechnology in Burkina Faso. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Nottingham.Google Scholar
  11. Compaoré, E. M. F. W. (2015). The role of the National Innovation Systems Framework in facilitating socio-economic development in Burkina Faso: Model and practice. PhD thesis University of Nottingham.Google Scholar
  12. De Sardan, J. P. O. (1995). Anthropologie et developpement: Essai en socio-anthropologie du changement social. Paris: APAD-Karthala.Google Scholar
  13. Dickson, D. (1988). The new politics of science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Diop, A. C. (2006). Articles. Dakar: Editions Silex.Google Scholar
  15. Escobar, A. (1991). Anthropology and the development encounter: The making and marketing of development anthropology. American Ethnologist, 18(4), 658–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Escobar, A. (1992). Imagining a post-development era? Critical thought, development and social movements. Social Text, 31(32), 20–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fyfe, C. (1976). African studies since 1945. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  18. Gaillard, J. (1999). La coopération scientifique et technique avec les pays du Sud: Peut-on partager la science? Paris: Karthala Editions.Google Scholar
  19. Gaillard, J., & Arvanitis, R. (2013). Science and technology collaboration between Europe and Latin America: Towards a more equal partnership? In J. Gaillard & R. Arvanitis (Eds.), Research collaboration between Europe and Latin America: Mapping and understanding partnership (pp. 1–22). Paris: Archives Contemporaines Editions.Google Scholar
  20. Gault, F. (2010). Innovation strategies for a global economy. Cheltenham: Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gerardin, B. (1964). Le Development de la Haute Volta avec un avant porpos de G. de Bernis. In Perroux F. (Ed.), Cahiers de l’Institut de Science Economique Appliquee 142(19).Google Scholar
  22. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hountondji, J. P. (1992). Recapturing. In V. Y. Mudimbe (Ed.), The surreptitious speech: Présence Africaine and the politics of otherness 1947–1987 (pp. 238–248). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jewsiewicki, B., & Mudimbe, V. Y. (Eds.). (1993). History making in Africa: History and theory 32. Middletown: Wesleyan University.Google Scholar
  25. Kalai, M., & Helali, K. (2016). Technical change and total factor productivity growth in the Tunisian manufacturing industry: A Malmquist index approach. African Development Review, 28(3), 344–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ki-Zerbo, J. (1973). Africanization of higher education curriculum. In M. T. Yesufu (Ed.), Creating the African university: Emerging issues in the 1970s (pp. 21–34). Ibadan: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ki-Zerbo, J. (1978). Histoire générale de l’Afrique. Paris: Hatier.Google Scholar
  28. Kraemeer, E., & Wamae, W. (Eds.). (2010). Innovation and the development agenda. Ottawa: OECD/IDRC.Google Scholar
  29. Kramarz, T., & Momani, B. (2013). The World Bank as knowledge bank: Analyzing the limits of a legitimate global knowledge actor. Review of Policy Research, 30(4), 409–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. List, F. (1885). The national system of political economy (Trans. from the original German (1841) by Sampson Lloyd). London: Longman, Green and Co.Google Scholar
  31. Manley, K. (2003). Frameworks for understanding interactive innovation processes. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 4(1), 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mensah, J. T., Adu, G., Amoah, A., Abrokwa, K., & Adu, J. (2016). What drives structural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa? African Development Review, 28(2), 157–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mouton, J. (2008). Africa’s science decline: The challenge of building scientific institutions. Harvard International Review, 30(3), 46–51.Google Scholar
  34. N’Krumah, K. (1974). Consciencism: Philosophy and ideology for decolonisation. London: Panaf Books.Google Scholar
  35. Nübler, I. (2011). The thrust of institutional economics in the catching up debate. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Nwagwu, W. (2006). Peer-review and the electronic journal: Opportunities for the participation of developing countries’ scientists in mainstream science. Africa Media Review, 14(1&2), 73–93.Google Scholar
  37. Nwagwu, W., & Egbon, O. (2011). Bibliometric analysis of Nigeria’s social science and arts and humanities publications in Thomson scientific databases. The Electronic Library, 29(4), 438–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nyerere, K. J. (1967). The university in a developing society. Revue Culturelle du Monde Noir p. 61.Google Scholar
  39. Oloruntoba, S. (2015). Politics of financialization and inequality: Transforming global relations for inclusive development. Africa Development, XL(3), 121–137.Google Scholar
  40. Omobowale, O. A. (2010, November 3–6). Academic dependence and scholarly publishing among social scientists in selected universities in Nigeria. Paper presented at the II Workshop on Academic Dependence: The Challenge of Constructing Autonomous Social Sciences in the South, Mendoza.Google Scholar
  41. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (1997). National innovation systems. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  42. Rapley, J. (1997). Understanding development: Theory and practice in the third world. Boulder: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  43. Rist, G. (1997). The history of development: From western origins to global faith. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  44. Rostow, W. W. (1960). The process of economic growth. The Economic History Review, 12(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sall, I., & Ouedraogo, J.-B. (2009). Sociology in West Africa: Challenge and obstacles to academic autonomy. In S. Patel (Ed.), ISA handbook of diverse sociological traditions (pp. 225–234). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  46. Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle (Vol. 55). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, A. (1937). The wealth of nations (1776). New York: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  48. Tandon, Y. (2015). Development is resistance. Africa Development, XL(3), 139–159.Google Scholar
  49. United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (1991). The human development index: A new development indicator? Intereconomics, 26(5), 236–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2005). UNESCO science report 2005. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  51. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2007). A human rights-based approach to education for all: A framework for the realization of children’s right to education and rights within education. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  52. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2015). UNESCO science report: Towards 2030. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  53. Veblen, T. (1921). The engineers and the price system. New York: Huebsch.Google Scholar
  54. World Bank. (1978). World development report. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  55. World Bank. (1990). Structural adjustment and poverty: A conceptual, empirical and policy framework. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  56. World Bank. (1993). The East Asian miracle: Economic growth and public policy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. World Bank. (1998/99). Knowledge for development. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  58. World Bank. (1999). Capitals and capabilities: A framework for analyzing peasant viability, rural livelihoods and poverty. World Development, 27(12), 2021–2044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zagré, P. (1994). Les politiques économiques du Burkina Faso: Un tradition d’ajustement structurel. Paris: Karthala.Google Scholar
  60. Zeleza, T. (Ed.). (2006). The study of Africa Vol.1: Disciplinary and interdisciplinary encounters. Dakar: CODESRIA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natéwindé Sawadogo
    • 1
  • Evéline M. F. W. Sawadogo Compaoré
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Ouaga IIOuagaBurkina Faso
  2. 2.Environmental and Agricultural Research Institute (INERA)National Research for Scientific and Technological Research Centre (CNRST)OuagaBurkina Faso

Personalised recommendations