The Economy of British Central Africa: A Case Study of Economic Development in a Dualistic Society

The Economy of British Central Africa: A Case Study of Economic Development in a Dualistic Society

The Economy of British Central Africa: A Case Study of Economic Development in a Dualistic Society

The Economy of British Central Africa: A Case Study of Economic Development in a Dualistic Society

Excerpt

By global standards, the territories now linked into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland are small. Their total population is less than 8,500,000 people and the land mass of roughly 488,000 square miles which they inhabit is only a small fraction of the world's total.

But British Central Africa now has a significance which far transcends its size. Since 1953 when the Federal Government was established, these territories have been embarked on a challenging experiment in social relations. The preamble to the constitution which brought federation into being commits its government to pursue policies which will 'foster inter-racial partnership' among the area's 308,000 Europeans, 7,980,000 Africans, and 39,000 persons of Asian or mixed race. This approach to the vexed questions of race relations was heralded as a new departure in the multi-racial communities of Africa and its success or failure may have a profound influence on the future course of events throughout the continent. Officially, the Federal Government has yet to spell out an unambiguous definition of partnership or to state specifically the steps to be followed in reaching the goal. One point, however, was clear to the British Government which authorized the Federal undertaking. The social structure originally envisaged under inter-racial partnership was to be sharply differentiated from the white-controlled apartheid practised in the Union of South Africa and from the black nationalism of the new West African states. Instead, a middle ground between these extremes was to be sought -- a ground on which members of all races could stand and live in harmony.

For students of economic analysis, the interest which this portion of the African interior holds is initially quite different. By the conventional measures of economic growth, the Rhodesias can rightly claim one of the highest rates of economic expansion among those territories now classified as 'underdeveloped'. This phenomenon, in itself, deserves close inspection. It is true that the Rhodesias have possessed an attractive endowment . . .

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