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The 21st Century and Challenges to the Nkrumah Independence Project Towards a Renewal: A View from the Caribbean

Tennyson S. D. Joseph
Maziki Thame


Ghana’s historical place in the experience of global decolonisation as being the first British controlled African nation to win formal independence, has given the ideas of Kwame Nkrumah a prominent place in efforts to understand the challenges and possibilities of the post-colonial independence project. One of Nkrumah’s main contributions was his exposure of the mechanics of neo-colonialism in compromising the formal statehood of newly independent states. Given the transformed world-economy and the hegemonic ideology of neo-liberalism which has unfolded several decades after Nkrumah’s earliest reflections, this paper seeks to assess his validity for present efforts at sustaining post-colonial development and sovereignty. The central claim of this paper is that whilst Nkrumah’s warnings against neo-colonialism remain valid, both the specific challenges which he identified as well as the corrective proposals which he offered, have been negated by the new tactics and ideological assumptions of neo-liberal capitalism. The paper offers a balance sheet type assessment of the ongoing relevance of Nkrumah’s ideas, with a view to identifying the new challenges confronting the independence of formerly colonised states, and to renewing his political project in the present. These questions are explored in the context of the twenty-first century English-speaking Caribbean.

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print ISSN: 2343-6530