How Europe underdeveloped Africa

By Walter Rodney

I just started reading this book and it is one of those that need to be read with others, in community. It is not enough to read it alone.

Elsewhere on this blog, I have said education is the chief way we will address the challenges facing us in this century, in Africa and the world as a whole. What type of education? A problem posing, as Paulo Freire put it in the pedagogy of the oppressed. This, problem posing education, is, I aver, what has been lacking in our curriculum.

I digress.

This book first published 46 years ago today is still so relevant it makes me want to cry.

For example, Rodney writes

The incomes given to civil servants, professionals, merchants, come from the store of wealth produced by the community. Quite apart from the injustices in the distribution of wealth, one has to dismiss the argument that ‘the taxpayers’ money is what develops a country. In pursuing the goal of development, one must start with the producers and move on from there to see whether the products of their labour are being rationally utilised to bring greater independence and well being to the nation.

Elsewhere he writes, and it is true, painfully so,

It has been noted with irony that the principal ” industry” of many underdeveloped countries is administration. [……]the salaries given to the elected politicians are higher than those given to British MPs

And this, my friends, is just the beginning of the book and I am already annoyed.