Udvikling, magt og kommunikation: En analyse af New Partnership for Africa´s Development

Thandi Cecilie Dirch Dyani

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the last 50 years the African continent has gone through an immense transformation. From the era of colonisation to the independence of African nations and in recent years the uprising of a pan-African movement that has institutionalised through the making of the African Union and its developmental programme New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). NEPAD has been portrayed as the first serious development initiative that has arisen internally from Africa, an initiative that the world of development has embraced as Africa’s primary continental development programme. Somehow NEPAD’s impact and implementation of priorities as well as the positive reactions to the programme has faded since its formation in 2001. The communication as to why leads to conclusions that centres itself on themes as corruption, conflict, food crisis, lack of financial resources and so forth. This thesis looks at other explanatory influences that can lead to a conclusion as to why NEPAD’s impact is limited in arguing that communication in regards to NEPAD also shapes the way NEPAD functions. Communication, and the power structures an analysis of communication unfolds, has profoundly shaped the perception of Africa and African developmental issues. By using Michel Foucault genealogical criticism on liberal moral and rationalities this thesis takes its starting point in the construction of an Africa discourse. It reveals a Liberal logic that influences the perception of African nation states as ‘weak’ or ‘fragile’ that need to be empowered to become ideal strong liberal democracies as the one we see in Denmark. These perceptions are then integrated further in the analysis of ‘the African development field’ that focuses on two agents - NEPAD and Denmark’s development agency Danida. Field, agents and the relations between them are constructed using Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical elements on symbolic power and forms of institutional and economical capital. Through these theoretical fundamentals NEPAD’s position within the African development field is discussed by examining the liberal communicational structures that influences and limits NEPAD. Furthermore how these communications hinder an actual implementation process and thereby ultimately influence NEPAD’s mandate and success.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages109