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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic

"Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources"

Environmental Sustainability in the Era of Technological Development: Any Hope for Finite Resources Dependent States?

Lere Amusan

North West University, Mafikeng Campus, Politics and International Relations, South Africa


The question of development has been in the front burner of every state in the international system. This has taken various forms from the time of Industrial Revolution till date. What comes to mind is the development in technology which keeps on proffer alternatives for the development of a state, but at a cost. The use of finite energy sources such as coal, natural gas and crude oil (fossil fuel) have become important issue that preoccupy the minds of state, multinational oil companies, civil societies and private individual in the form of their negative impacts on the general development of the affected states. Attempt to bridge the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources brings about what is known by some students of political economy as a resource curse that, in many cases, aggravated to civil wars, militancy, fracking and piracy. At the extreme case, it engendered implosion of many states fuelled by the military industrial complex activities. It is the intention of this paper to look into the crises inherent in the technological development and its impacts on environmental issues that is facing the global system with no solution in sight. In doing this, this study will employ critical theory because, as in other social sciences discussion, a theory (general theory) may not be able to capture the problem at hand. Special focus will be on some selected African states such as Libya, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. The needs to focus on these states are multifarious. Each represents a geo-political zone in the continent of Africa. They are sub-regional hegemons and mineral extraction states with all the vicissitudes of price changes at the international level. Their over-reliance on multinational corporations in their developmental approaches implies that environmental crisis on the continent cannot be resolved until holistic approaches are introduced. The same continues to affect human security because of the introduction of alien capital intensive as a mode of production.

Keywords: Africa, finite resources, resource curse, sustainability

Contact Address: Lere Amusan, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, Politics and International Relations, Albert Luthuli / University Road, 2735 Mmabatho, South Africa, e-mail: lere.amusan@nwu.ac.za

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