Antje Vetterlein edited Forum in Journal of International Relations and Development


Development Issues in Africa: Challenges, Concepts, Opportunities


Fifty years ago, after the gradual demise of colonialism, Africa was expected to grow faster than Asia. Much hope was pinned on the continent. Yet, over the past decades we have witnessed economic growth and increasing wealth across Asia, while much of Sub-Saharan Africa has suffered from relative economic stagnation, extensive civil strife, and generally poor development indicators.

Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are characterized by their diversity, distinct cultures and historical trajectories. These specificities must be accounted for in tackling past and present challenges. A shared structural feature however is youth.

In 2005 over 60 percent of the region’s population fell below the age of 25. This demographic transition, which will not stabilize before 2050, implies huge pressures for sustainable job creation in all African countries over the coming decades. Youth unemployment and education are therefore crucial problems for policy-makers to be addressed to shape future development outcomes. Yet, the problematique is much broader and more complex than that.

The role of International Organizations, Multinational Corporations or trade cooperation with other regions in the world are but a few factors in the international political context that matter as well for development results in Africa.


This Forum brings together a variety of authors on these topics and presents short pieces from academics, policy-makers and development aid practitioners from the continent as well as abroad. It does not claim to capture the complexity of development issues in Africa but provides a few snapshots based on the expertise of the respective authors that shed light on the challenges ahead.


The Journal for International Relations and Development is an excellent outlet for such a Forum as it highlights the links between international relations theory and development studies and the need for more theorizing in this field.



Journal of International Relations and Development , Vol. 14, issue 1, 2011.


The page was last edited by: Department of Business and Politics // 03/11/2013