National Planning and Development in British West Africa

Topics: Africa, West Africa, Colonialism Pages: 13 (4558 words) Published: March 17, 2014
INTRODUCTION
Since independence, West Africa states have maintained close political and economic ties with their former colonial powers. During the colonial era, the colonial administrators successfully imposed and impressed their alien pattern and orientation in the socio¬-political and economic affairs of West African countries. West African economic affairs were distorted to an extent that two decades after independence, all the countries are very much dependent economically on their former colonial administrators. Post-colonial African economies are replete with the scars of the uneven and exploitative nature of colonialism. Despite the abundant resources of Africa, African countries are among the least developed and industrialized nations in the world. Thus, it cannot be denied that the post-colonial African economics are, by and large, a function of their colonial past. The colonial economics were directly linked to the economics of their respective metropolitan powers through an array of policies ranging from control of currency, trade policies and infrastructure. Thus after independence, one of the problems of the new independent states was the struggle to break the colonial economic system inherited at independence. Under the colonial economy, these states remained predominantly producers of raw materials for the manufacturing industries of the colonial powers and consumers of their manufactured goods. Again, the imported and exported trade of these states was dominated by the big trading companies of the colonial powers. However, West African government are very aware of the problems arising from the underdeveloped nature of their economy and that is why since independence, they have made concrete programmes to transform the economy and improve the peoples standard of living. The determination is reflected in the various development plans that have been drawn up by all the countries.1 It is at this juncture that this paper examines the various development plans drafted after independence, the objectives of the plans and factors that worked against the success of the plans. To illuminate these points effectively, it is important to identify the English speaking West African states. These are Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra-Leone,and The Gambia. Wholly, these states share the same history and this explains why they were confronted with the same problems after independence. OBJECTIVES OF THE PAPER

To provide a conceptual clarification to the concepts; National Planning and Development •Give an historical background of British West Africa thereby examining the antecedent of development plans in West Africa with the Colonial Development Welfare Act of 1945. •Highlight the Post-Colonial Development plans and critically elucidate the adopted Western Models in post-colonial British West Africa. •Examine the role of ECOWAS as a plan action in fostering National Economic Development. •Examine the aftermath of the adopted models as well as factors that militated against the success of the development plans.

CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION: NATIONAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
According to Diana Conveys, National planning is a continuous process which involves decisions or choice about alternative ways of using available resources with the aim of achieving particular goals at some time in future. It is a technique, a means to an end, being the realization of certain pre-determined and well-defined aims and objectives laid down by a central planning authority. The end may be to achieve economic, social, political or military objectives.2 The concept of development is relative and as such has many meanings. According to Toyin Falola, development can be thought of as a process of structural change and capital accumulation that moves a society closer to conditions in which the basic needs of the people are met3. To Akin Mobogunje, development is essentially a human issue, a concern with the capacity of individuals to realize their...
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