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Running while others walk: knowledge and the challenge of Africa's development

Mkandawire, Thandika (2011) Running while others walk: knowledge and the challenge of Africa's development. Africa Development, 36 (2). pp. 1-36. ISSN 0850-3907

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This article argues that Africa's quest for 'catch-up' and economic development dates as far back, at least, as its humiliating encounter with the West which led to enslavement and colonisation. 'Development' is thus not an externally imposed 'discourse', but a response to the many challenges the continent has faced over the years and still faces today. Africa lags behind in many social indicators of wellbeing. As a 'Late, Late Comer' Africa will, as Nyerere suggested, have to 'Run While Others Walk'. This demand on the continent to 'run' has to contend with a pessimistic discourse that has, against all evidence, insisted that Africans cannot do what many other 'late comers' have done or are doing today. The 'Running' will demand radical rethinking of institutions of collective response to the many challenges about the generation and mastery of the knowledge up to the task, once again placing the universities at the centre of the continent's development efforts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 CODESRIA
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2011 11:12
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:53

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