This paper seeks to locate the kind of knowledge that is relevant for African development in the twenty-first century African cultural context and to propose the paradigm for achieving such knowledge. To do this, it advances the view that the concept of twenty-first century in an African context must be located with the colonial and post-colonial challenges of the African world and applied to serve the African demand. Anchored on this position, the paper outlines and critiques the wrong assumption on which modern state project was anchored in post-colonial Africa and its development dividend to suggest that this is an outcome of a wrong knowledge design that is foundational to the state project and which the project did not address. It proposes a shift in the knowledge paradigm in Africa and suggests critical self-consciousness as a more desirable knowledge design for Africa. It applies the term ‘rational kingdom’ (defined as a community of reason marked by critical conceptual self-awareness driven by innovation and constructivism) to suggest this paradigm. ‘Innovation’ is meant as the application of reason with an enlarged capacity to anticipate and address problems with fresh options and ‘constructivism’ is meant as the disposition to sustain innovation by advancing an alternative but more reliable worldview that can meet the exigencies of modernity in an African cultural context. The paper then proceeds to outline the nature of the rational kingdom and its anticipated gains and outcomes. It applies the method of inductive reasoning to advance its position. To do this it invokes selected but crucial areas of African life to locate how the developmental demands of these aspects of life suggest a critical turn in African rationality.
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