Addressing the problem of mass poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa: Conversational thinking as a tool for inclusive development

Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 8 (1):141-161 (2019)
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I argue that one way in which a problem such as mass poverty in the sub-Saharan Africa can be addressed is through inclusive development, which is a pro poor, pro all, programme. However, it appears that the theoretical framework that can deliver the values of inclusive development has yet to be clearly sorted out. This is because, while bringing together all actors and factors, inclusive development should not subsume individual endowments to collective values. I fault Amartya Sen’s Capabilities approach which mounts a defence of development through democratic deliberation as treating the individual in a way that seemingly trivialises the sort of relationship—a complementary one— required for inclusive development to happen, and Thaddeus Metz’s ubuntu approach which though upholds individual endowments, tends to also appeal to the collective in a way that appears to place premium on some collective values like solidarity which, I think, can blur the line between individual endowments and collective values. So, I claim that inclusive development can better be delivered using the approach of conversational thinking which has the capacity to drive the values of inclusive development such as complementarity and comprehensiveness while at the same time sufficiently isolating the endowments of the individuals from the trappings of the collective. Conversational thinking achieves this by taking the nature of the relationships of the relevant variables to factor into the effort aimed at combating social protection problems such as poverty. Keywords : Sub-Saharan Africa, Inclusive development, Conversational thinking, Mass poverty, African philosophy.



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Jonathan O Chimakonam
University of Pretoria

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