The Economic Origins of Twentieth Century Decolonisation in West Africa
AbstractThis paper argues that the pattern of decolonisation in West Africa was a function of the nature of human capital transfers from the colonisers to the indigenous elites of the former colonies. Underpinning the nature of these human capital transfers is the colonial educational ideology. Where this ideology emphasized the notion of "assimilation", the system generally tended to produce elites that depended highly on the coloniser for their livelihood, hence necessitating a continuation of the imperial relationship even after independence was granted. On the contrary, where the ideology emphasized the "strengthening of the solid elements" of the country-side, the system tended to produce a bunch of elites that were quite independent of the coloniser and consequently had little to lose from a disruption of the imperial relationship at independence. The model raises several predictions based on a single assumption on the nature of the nationalist elite. The paper's contribution, is in providing a framework for understanding the different paths of decolonisation in Africa in general, but more specifically in the British and French West African empires, an approach which unites both the Eurocentric and Afrocentric perspectives.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 177.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
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Decolonisation; Human Capital Transfers; Eurocentrism; Afrocentrism; West Africa;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2010-05-15 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2010-05-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2010-05-15 (Development)
- NEP-HIS-2010-05-15 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2010-05-15 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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