Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship


Many scholars hastily claim that African culture impedes development; however, this is an invalidate claim. First of all, culture is continuously evolving according to circumstantial factors internal and external to the country, and it is unclear how much culture affects development. For example, external influences such as geography, colonialization, and the global system contribute to underdevelopment far more than culture. In this paper, I will begin by defining culture and development. Then, I will explain how third (circumstantial) factors could impede development and culture. The following sections will show two of the common mistakes made by scholars who attempt to argue that African culture harms development, and I will address flaws in those arguments. First, many scholars argue that Africans’ communalism hinders an individual capacity to innovate and therefore restrains developmental capacity. However, similar cultural traits are found in many advanced countries around the world. Second, many scholars try to prove that the economic difference between Asian and African countries emerged from their cultural differences. However, these scholars who romanticize Confucian values fail to notice that Asian Confucianism was once considered backward in the 19th century and the Asian Miracle of the 20th century was possible mostly because of the Cold War interest that fueled the Asia’s economic growth.



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