Making Africa Safe for Capitalism: US Policy and Multilateralism in Africa

Philip Nel

in US Hegemony and International Organizations

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199261437
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599309 | DOI:
 Making Africa Safe for Capitalism: US Policy and Multilateralism in Africa

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The purpose is to trace and assess the ways in which the US has used multilateral institutions/organizations (both those international institutions/organizations of which it is a member and those regional institutions/organizations of which it is not) and multilateralism itself to pursue its interests on the African continent. The emergence of a noticeable multilateral dimension to American policy towards Africa is situated against two backgrounds: the first (Sect. 1 of the chapter) deals with the general features of American policy towards Africa since the Second World War and the role that multilateralism in general has played in that; the second (Sect. 2) deals with the rise of multilateralism (and multilateral regional institutions/organizations) on the African continent as a process that has a dynamic of its own. This perspective on Africa as an agent, and not simply as an object, of US policy is important for maintaining a critical perspective on the successes but also the contradictions and failures of US policy towards Africa. The final two sections offer a detailed description and evaluation of the dimensions of multilateralism in post‐cold‐war US policy, and, in particular, the Clinton era, which, in many respects, encapsulates much of what is right and wrong with US policy towards the continent. The evaluation made and the general assumptions used to approach the theme of US policy towards Africa are informed by a broadly neo‐Gramscian appraisal of the hegemonic function of the US in the current global political and economic order, and of the place of multilateralism within that hegemonic function.

Keywords: Africa; hegemony; international institutions; international organizations; multilateral institutions; multilateral organizations; multilateralism; regional institutions; regional organizations; US; US foreign policy; US hegemony

Chapter.  12741 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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