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10 Does Africa Have a Future?

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Chapter Summary

The African famine of 1985 that engulfed almost half the continent was one of the handful of great watershed events since the Second World War. The vast majority had population growth rates that were outstripping their food production and half were experiencing the ravages of famine. Too many African countries thought their future lay in industrialization and this they attempted to do, creating inefficient, expensive projects behind high tariff walls. For the most part their products were shoddy and the overheads enormous. Colonial policy, which arbitrarily drew territorial dividing lines across the map of Africa, was a recipe for disaster. This chapter explains two stories which give some indication of the kind of progress African countries can make. They are the Tanzania of former President Ben Mkapa and the Nigeria of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Keywords: African famine; colonial policy; Nigeria; President Ben Mkapa; President Olusegun Obasanjo; Second World War; Tanzania



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