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.


To develop Africa needs god

To which I ask which god and why?

This is a comment to  a response by Ikenna Okonkwo; To develop, Africa needs god, to a response by Leo Igwe; Africa needs development, not god on a post originally written by Matthew Paris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs god

My response to this post, in case the OP does not allow it to go through moderation is

There is no place in the world, that I know of, where people killed each other for being reasonable and as such to equate free-thought and skepticism to the ideologies of Stalin and Mao is to miss the point by a mile.
If as you imply Christianity provides the means for men to be good, pray tell me, why this is not reflected in the conduct of many of the leaders in African countries who identify as christian?
And why do you look down upon African traditions? Have you been so colonized in the mind to not notice that Africa lost so much with the coming of the colonialist? We had a rich culture and engagement with each other and the world, The language of a creator god who creates from nothing does not have a parallel in most African languages because it is far from logical.
What Africa needs is education and good education at that. She requires that governments expend money in ways that promote development and are accountable to the electorate. She must develop systems that are efficient. And she must be free from religion and its ability to numb the brain.
No one denies that the missionaries built schools and hospitals in many places in Africa. All we are saying is the African must begin to break free of religiosity that stops him from engaging rationally with his government, always resorting to prayers when firm action is required and to rise above the bigotry you are trying to spread here promoted by the christian worldview about gays, assisted dying, abortion among others.

Related reading


Some news from the neck of woods

Folks, whenever I write about my neck of the woods, am complaining about some church minister or the idiots sorry meant the politicians who hold the rest of us hostage so today I thought I could share about something where we lead the world or at least the world should learn from us.

Our cooperative[SACCO] movement has helped to alleviate several thousand out of poverty.

The next innovation where we have led is mobile money transfer. Mobile phones here basically are small mobile banks.

Related articles

Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?

An overview of SACCOs in Kenya [pdf]

A peek into Kenya’s SACCO sub-sector