To understand whether Marxist theory of social development is relevant to Africa's sustainable development, one first has to know what this theory is.
Essentially, Marxian theory views social development as a series of class conflicts, which pit those who control the means of production against those who do not. Eventually, industrial capitalism emerges, which leads to the development of two classes—an industrial proletariat, or working class, and the bourgeoisie, capitalist business owners. Orthodox Marxism would tend to stress the ways that Africa has been exploited for its labor and its natural resources, which have been used to fuel industrial and economic expansion elsewhere throughout the world. Liberating Africa from economic exploitation would be a key step in its development and crucial to its long-term well-being.
At the same time, a Marxist interpretation would stress the idea that as Africa experiences economic and social growth, it would witness the growth of inequality. Some theorists of decolonization argued, after Marx, that places like Africa would have to experience a sort-of second wave of revolutions after liberation from imperialism. Because Marxism is fundamentally premised on the idea of class conflict, it would frame the economic development of Africa in these terms. Still, it can certainly be argued that Marxian-influenced theory offers a powerful explanation for the economic and social issues that continue to plague many African countries in the post-colonial era.