The declaration that African development is hindered by internal and external factors is a challenged issue. To a greater extent, one may agree to this perception that Africa does not occupy an important position in terms of global geopolitics. However, this cannot be the only factor explaining Africa’s underdevelopment. Other factors such as many African countries being landlocked, poverty, weak regional integration, agricultural immobility, inadequate trade links, poor infrastructure, external influences, political instability and civil wars have shattered Africa’s development. This essay will therefore define ‘world system’ and assess how some of the above factors have internally and externally contributed to hinder Africa’s growth before a conclusion drawn.
The ‘world system’ can be defined as a set of mechanisms through which resources are distributed to the poor nations from the wealthy nations of the world. This is concurred by Wallerstein as he defines the poor and wealthy nations as periphery and core nations respectively. [1991: p. 3]. The poor nations are characterised by the exportation of raw materials and occupy relatively poor parts of the world. The wealthy nations are highly industrialised and rely on the exploitation of the market flooded with raw materials from the under-developed world.
It is imperative to assess the geography and politics of a state or continent in other to understand how its location can contribute to its development or otherwise. A natural feature refers to material volume, landforms and assets on one hand; however government constitutes the relationship involving the state and its neighbours. This therefore calls for the study of the geopolitical environment of Africa. Geopolitics refers to the political situation of a region or country in consideration to its characteristics, record, and belief, and traditions, law-making and socio-economic position. The word geopolitical setting might as well be useful supplementary closely to examine a particular country supporting circumstances set in their geographic realities, or more broadly to deem the surroundings of a whole continent. [www.wisegeek.com].
This term according to O’Tuathail was coined in 1899 by Rudolf Kjellen, a Swedish political scientist to imply a general concern with geography and politics. [1998: p. 1]. He further reveals that during the Cold War, geopolitics was used to describe the global contest between the Soviet Union and the United States of America (USA) to manipulate and control other states and strategic resources of the world. Academically, geopolitics involves the study and analysis of geography, social science in reference to spatial politics at all levels from the state to international. O’Tuathail describes that geopolitics is that part of Western imperial knowledge that dealt with the relationship between the physical earth and politics. [1998: p. 1]. The bipolarity of the 1940's...