Producing Nature and Poverty in Africa

Producing Nature and Poverty in Africa

Producing Nature and Poverty in Africa

Producing Nature and Poverty in Africa


Drawing on case studies from eight different countries, the con-tributors to this provocative collection of essays demonstrate quite clearly that environmental programmes often have direct and far-reaching consequences for the distribution of wealth and poverty and that they constitute one of the major forms of foreign and state intervention in contemporary African affairs.


Vigdis Broch-Due

... Geographers in Afric-Maps
With Savage-Pictures fill their Gaps,
And o'er inhabitable Downs
Place Elephants for want of Towns.

Jonathan Swift, 1726, On Poetry

The wild peoples of Eastern Africa are divided by their mode of life into three orders. Most primitive and savage are the fierce pastoral nomads, Wamasai and Gallas, Somal and certain “Kafir” sub-tribes: living upon the produce of their herds and by the chase and foray. ... Above them rank the semi-pastoral, as the Wakamba, who, though without building fixed abodes, make their women cultivate the ground. ... the first step towards civilisation, agriculture, has been definitely taken by the Wanyika ... and other coastal tribes.

Burton, 1872, Zanzibar: City, Island, and Coast

To behold the full perfection of African manhood and beauty one must visit the regions of equatorial Africa, where one can view the people under the cool shade of plantains, and amid the luxuriant plenty which those lands produce.... Their features seem to proclaim: “We live in a land of butter and wine and fullness, milk and honey, fat meads and valleys”.

Stanley, 1899, Through the Dark Continent

Man reclaims, disciplines and trains Nature. the surface of Europe, Asia and North America has submitted to this influence and discipline, but it still has to be applied to large parts of South America and Africa. Marches must be drained, forests skillfully thinned, rivers be taught to run in ordered courses and not to afflict the land with drought or flood at their caprice; a way must be made across deserts and jungles, war must be waged against fevers and other diseases whose physical causes are now mostly known.

Eliot, 1905, The East African Protectorate . . .

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