NEPAD and Castells : an interpretation of the NEPAD development framework in terms of the Network Society Theory

Heij, Anneliese (Anneliese Mari) (2003)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis is an interpretation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development paradigm as explained in the policy document released in October 2001, in terms of Manuel CasteIls ' theory of the Network Society. This research is simply structured into three sections: an explanation and criticisms of NEPAD, an explanation of CasteIls ' theory, and a synopsis of correlations between the two. The NEPAD is a development paradigm aimed at the socio-economic development of the African continent. It is envisioned to be a partnership between the developed world and African leadership to lift the continent from the depths of poverty, corruption and exclusion, in which it now finds itself The document was created through a merger of the Omega Plan, the Millennium Action Plan and the ECA Compact. The main proponents of the initiative are Presidents Mbeki, Obasanjo and Bouteflika. Although NEPAD has been well received internationally, it has come under severe criticism from African civil society. Concern has been raised that NEPAD will serve to further consolidate the neo-patrimonial state and existing elite networks through providing the requested funding; in this context the argument for increased foreign direct investment is especially questioned. The authors of the document are especially criticised for excluding civil society from the drafting process. Due to this lack of consultation, it is argued that NEPAD does not reflect the true will of the African people. The neo-liberal undertones of the document, the recognition of the process of globalisation, and Africa's resulting marginalisation as well as the threat this poses for global security are further points of critique that are explored in this thesis. Manuel CasteIls provides an explanation of the new global economy in his theory of the Network Society. He argues that the dominant system today, is a result of the advances in information and communications technology (ICT) as well as the capitalist pursuit of profit. The new global economy is therefore not only the new dominant international economic system, but also the new historical reality. Against this backdrop, he proposes a Technological Marshall Plan which essentially is a call for massive technological investment into Africa to assist the continent to leap-frog the industrial age and connect with the new global economy. There are several points of correlation between NEPAD and Castells. Essentially NEPAD takes the worldview explained by Caste/Is as its point of departure. NEPAD then builds a development strategy in full coherence with the logic of the theory of the Network Society. NEPAD concurs with CasteIls on the role played by ICT in the process of globalisation. The disarticulation of space and time has led to an instantaneous, global expression of social and economic life, specifically in financial markets and the production process. The result is the inclusion of valuable people and assets into the global network, while the devalued are excluded. Both NEPAD and CasteIls argue that the current state of affairs is both morally wrong and economically and politically unstable. It is therefore, as both ague, in the interests of the developed world to engage in this new partnership. This thesis exposes fundamental correlations between the theory of the Network Society and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis is 'n interpretasie van die "New Partnership for Africa's Development" (NEPAD) paradigma, soos uiteengesit in die beleids dokument wat in Oktober 2001 uitgereik is, aan die hand van Manuel CasteIls se teorie van die Netwerk Samelewing. Die narvorsing is gestruktureerd in drie seksies: 'n verduideliking van NEPAD en die kritiek daarop, 'n verduideliking van CasteIls se teorie en 'n samevatting van die ooreenkomste tussen die twee. NEPAD is 'n ontwikkelings paradigma, gemik op die sosio-ekonomiese ontwikkeling van die Afrika kontinent. Dit word voorgehou as 'n venootskap tussen die ontwikkelde wêreld en Afrika leierskap, waarin die kontinent uit die situasie van armmoede, korrupsie en uitsluiting gehelp sal word. Die dokument is 'n kombinasie van die Omega Plan, die Millenium Aksie Plan (MAP) en die ECA Compact. Die hoof voorstanders van die initatief is Presidente Mbeki, Obassanjo en Bouteflika. Ten spyte van NEPAD se goeie ontvangs in die internationale samelewing, het die burgelike samelewing van Afrika dit nie sonder kritiek aanvaar nie. Kommer is uitgespreek dat NEPAD net die belange van die neo-patrimoniale staat en die bestaande elite netwerke sal konsolideer, deur die voorsiening van fondse. In die konteks word die vraag vir die vergrote buitelandse direkte investering veral bevraagteken. Die outeurs van die dokument word veral gekritiseer omdat hulle die burgerlike samelewing uitgesluit het uit die ontwerp van die konsep. Juis om die rede word daar geargumenteer dat NEPAD nie die ware wil van die mense van Afrika reflekteer nie. Die neo-liberale ondertone van die dokument, die erkenning van die proses van globalisasie en Afrika se marginalisasie wat gevolg het, as ook die bedreigings wat dit vir globale sekuriteit inhou, is verdere kritiek waarna gekyk sal word in die tese. Manuel CasteIls voorsien ons van 'n verduideliking van die nuwe globale ekonomie in sy teorie oor die Netwerk Samelewing. Hy argumenteer dat die dominante sisteem vandag voorspruit uit die ontwikkeling van informasie en kommunikasie tegnologie, as ook die kapitalistiese strewe na profyt. Die nuwe globale ekonomie is daarom nie net die nuwe dominante internationale ekonomiese sisteem nie, maar ook die nuwe historiese realiteit. Teen die agtergrond stel hy 'n Tegnologiese Marshall plan voor, wat essensiël 'n vraag vir substansiële tegnologiese investering in Afrika is, om die kontinent te help om die industriële tydperk te oorbrug en aan te sluit by die nuwe globale ekonomie. Daar is heelwat ooreenstemmings tussen NEPAD en CasteIls se teorie. Essensiël gebruik NEPAD CasteIls se wêreld beeld as vertrekpunt. Daarna bou NEPAD 'n ontwikkelings strategie in ooreenstemming met die logika van die teorie van die Netwerk Samelewing. NEPAD stem ooreen met CasteIls oor die rol wat IKTs speel in die proses van globalisasie. Die verplasing van spasie en tyd het gelei tot 'n skielike, globale uitdrukking van sosiale en ekonomiese lewe, spesifiek in finansiële markte en die produksieproses. Die gevolge is die insluiting van waardevolle mense en bates in die globale netwerk, terwyl dit die wat in waarde verminder uitstluit. Beide NEPAD en CasteIls argumenteer dat die huidige stand van sake beide moreel en ekonomies verkeerd is, as ook polities onstabiel. Dit is daarom, soos beide argumenteer, in die belang van die ontwikkelde lande om deel te neem aan hierdie vernootskap. Die tesis lig fundamentele ooreenkomste tussen die teorie van die Netwerk Samelewing en NEPADuit.

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