Research Africa > Reports & Articles > The global financial crisis: Lessons and responses from Africa (PART THREE)

The global financial crisis: Lessons and responses from Africa (PART THREE)


The financial crisis has accelerated the discrediting of the international financial institutions and deepened the crisis of legitimacy of the neoliberal system. This offers Africa a unique opportunity to free itself from the influence of the neoliberal ideology and the control of these institutions. African countries should have the courage and political will to break with failed and discredited policies. Never before did they have such an opportunity and strong reasons to explore alternative policies. It is time for Africa to reclaim the debate on its development and take responsibility for it. Examples from other regions of the global South provide important lessons that African countries could learn from and use to their benefit.

* Demba Moussa Dembele is the director of the Forum for African Alternatives, Dakar, Senegal.
* Please send comments to or comment online at



[1] See, among others, The Economist (18–24 October 2008) with this headline: “Capitalism At Bay”; Time (2 February 2009), with Marx on the cover page and this question: “What Would Marx Think?” Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2008, with a lead article titled “The day Wall Street became socialist”
[2]The financial crisis has signaled a revival of the IMF which becoming irrelevant in many parts of the world. It has extended loans to several countries (Georgia, Island, Pakistan) and set up “emergency funds” for “poor” countries. The G20 ministers of finance, meeting in the UK on 13-14 March 2009, have agreed to increase its resources.
[3] See Thandika Mkandawire (2001), “Thinking about developmental states in Africa”, in Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 25, No.3 (May), Special Issue on African Economic Development in a Comparative Perspective, pp. 289-313
[4] The World Bank was the first to launch the assault on the State-led development with the infamous Berg Report titled Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action, Washington, DC, 1981. As it turned out, World Bank policies ‘accelerated’ poverty on a massive scale!
[5] See, among others, The World Bank, Bureaucrats in Business: The Economics and Politics of Government Ownership, (1995) and Adjustment in Africa: Reform, Results and the Road Ahead, (1994).
[6] See Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Bailouts Dwarf Spending on Climate and Poverty Crises. Washington, DC, December 2008.
[7] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, chaired by Joseph Stiglitz. This Commission has more legitimacy than the G20 because it represents all UN members (192 countries & territories) and calls for the participation of civil society organizations in its discussions.
[8] Ibid
[9] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[10] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[11] AfDB (2008), op.cit.
[12] See Le Monde Diplomatique, ‘Convoitises sur l’argent des émigrés’, Paris, January 2009, p. 12.
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183

  Send article

Navigate through the articles
Previous article The global financial crisis: Lessons and responses from Africa (PART TWO) Pan-Africanism and Palestine solidarity: A history of anti-imperialist struggle Next article