In the 1960s, the economic development of African countries such as Ghana was on par with Asian countries like South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. Fast forward to the 2000s and a totally different picture emerges: Ghana lagged far behind its Asian counterparts in most development indicators, something that exemplifies the broader case of postcolonial African states unpropitious of development. Paradoxically, a new intellectual fad has emerged in the 2000s claiming ‘Africa is rising’, potentially, to replicate the development model of the Asian tigers. This discourse is based mostly on spurts of economic growth of African countries rich in natural resources like oil and gold, a growth driven by a spike in world market prices of these commodities in the second decade of the 21st century. When the world prices of these commodities plummeted precipitously a few years later, countries like Ghana, cited as signal examples of the ‘Africa rising’ mantra, went into deep economic crises. The IMF had to bail them out. Meanwhile, despite the global economic downturn, Ghana’s Asian counterparts managed to muddle through, still far ahead of it in most indicators of development. In contrast to the Africa Rising discourses, this paper draws on the insights of critical international political economy to leverage our understanding of the contrasting development paths African states and their Asian counterparts have taken in the immediate postcolonial period; and more recently, the period following immediately after the global economic downtown. Despite its weaknesses, indeed, despite the refutation of its cruder claims, we argue that dependency theory is still rich with useful analytical insights that can unravel the African development paradox in the 21st century vis-à-vis the development miracle of the Asian tigers.