Opalopath-dependencies with regard to trade and institutional structures (Nunn, 2007; Young, 2004); or simply bad leadership
(Achebe, 1985).Naturally, none of the explanations provided can singly explain Africa’sunderdevelopment. Each only provides a partial answer as to why the region haslagged behind others like the Pacific Rim
which took a meteoric rise towardsbecoming developed economies in the 1980s. Most, if not all, of the existingexplanations for Africa’s underdevelopment have been state-centric. They havemostly implied that solutions lie within the boundaries of the individual countries, if only these countries’ governments can get their act together. While this might betrue, there is a need to look for alternative solutions that are not state-centric,especially in light of the increasing rate of globalization. The increasinginterconnectedness of nations through commerce, not just in the regions withdeveloped economies, but even in Africa necessitates the search for solutions thatlook beyond national borders. It is for this reason that this paper provides ananalysis of two complementary approaches to tackling Africa’s underdevelopment:monetary unions and economic integration in the different regions of the continent. Through a survey of the existing literature on economic integration and monetaryunions, this paper explores the viability of these two approaches in the Africansituation in an attempt to spur economic growth.
Chinua Achebe’s famous 1985 book criticized the Nigerian political leadership. The samecriticism can be leveled against other leaders on the continent of Africa.
It is interesting to note that when most African states gained their independence fromWestern Europe in the 1960s, some African countries were at the same level of economicdevelopment as many East Asian countries. To illustrate this point, in 1975 the GDP in Africaand Asia was US $ 713 and US $ 309 respectively. In 2004, these figures were US $ 1,842and US $ 5,331 respectively. This fact is important in dispelling the argument that Asia had ahead-start in the development trajectory. See the Japan Bank for International CooperationInstitute paper on “Experience in Infrastructure Construction in East Asia and Sub-SaharanAfrica:Implications for Infrastructure Aid in Africa.” (2008).