Cover Image
close this bookAfrican Agriculture: The Critical Choices (UNU, 1990, 227 pages)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
close this folder1. The agricultural revolution and industrialization
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe failure of the modernization strategies
View the documentThe agricultural revolution, but how?
View the documentThe alternative strategy
close this folder2. The role of the export sector
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe decline in agricultural production
View the documentFailure of the export model
View the documentAlternative strategies: Algeria and Ethiopia
View the documentSocial relations and agricultural development
close this folder3. Food self-sufficiency: Crisis of the collective ideology
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe Lagos plan of action: A critique
View the documentWorld bank 'counter-plan'
View the documentThe United Nations' plan (PPERA)
View the documentFood self-sufficiency strategies: Problems of implementation
close this folder4. Algeria: Agriculture and industry
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe Algerian economy: development choices
View the documentIndustrialization: Effects on agriculture
View the documentAgriculture and industry: Interaction
close this folder5. Mauritania: Nomadism and peripheral capital
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentPastoral production
View the documentIntegration of the pastoral world into the market economy
View the documentEvolution of the social and political framework of nomadism
View the documentConclusion
close this folder6. Nigeria and the Ivory Coast: Commercial and export crops since 1960
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAgricultural production trends in both countries
View the documentIvory Coast: Development strategy and commercial and export agriculture
View the documentHow the state intervenes
View the documentNigeria: Commercial and export agriculture
View the documentConclusion
close this folder7. Ivory Coast: Agricultural and industrial development
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe role of agriculture in Ivorian industrial development
View the documentThe industrialization strategy
View the documentConclusion
close this folder8. Tanzania: Imperialism, the state and the peasantry
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentImperialism and rural development
View the documentRural development policies in Tanzania: Post-independence
View the documentSocial consequences of rural policies
View the documentFailure of villagization projects
View the documentConclusion
close this folder9. Tunisia: The state, the peasantry and food dependence
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe state and the peasantry
View the documentConsequences of state agricultural policy
close this folder10. The state and rural development 1960-85
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentManagement of rural development
View the documentStructural causes of the crisis
View the documentProspects for a different rural development strategy
View the documentConclusion
close this folder11. Agricultural development without delinking: Lessons to be drawn
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe nature of the problem
View the documentAlgeria
View the documentTanzania
View the documentExperiences of Algeria and Tanzania: Lessons to be drawn
View the documentConclusion
View the documentAbbreviations

World bank 'counter-plan'

The Lagos Plan, despite its omissions, marks an important date in the struggle of ideas in Africa. The theory of autocentred development that presupposes national control of the economy won a great victory over ultra-liberalism, which is why, in 1981, the World Bank published a sort of counter-plan.3 Obviously, behind the Bank must be seen the leading countries of the Centre, notably the United States of America, which are laying down the path to be followed. According to the ultra-liberal thesis defended in the World Bank document, food self-sufficiency is not a scientific concept but a politico-ideological one; it derives from nationalism and not from economic analysis, which teaches that the law of comparative advantage is the best guide in food matters as it is in other areas of economic activity.

According to the Bank, it is because African economies failed to apply this principle that they are in crisis; the post-colonial states had an industrialization policy, but it was one that extracted too large a surplus from the peasantry.4 The impact of this strategic orientation on the development crisis was seen as much greater than that of 'world market forces'. If super-exploitation of the peasantry, notably through the price mechanism, had not led to industrialization, it was due to protectionism by means of fiscal and tariff privileges, over-valuation of currencies and finally a mistrust of capital that leads the state to become a necessarily inefficient entrepreneur.

The food problem is presented exclusively in its economic form in the neo-classical sense of the term. For the Bank, each African state must specialize so that the optimum allocation of its resources procures it the highest possible level of income. This allocation consists in giving priority to producing what can be developed, first under private initiative and second without protectionism, according to the doctrine adopted by Reagan that was then currently being applied in the United States.

The Bank also exploited the second major shortcoming of the Lagos Plan: its ambiguity on the role of international official assistance. It went on to lay particular stress on the need to double this assistance in real terms between 1980 and 1990, despite elsewhere registering surprise that previous assistance had not contributed to increasing food output.5 This invitation to Western governments to step up their assistance was to work in favour of the advocates of ultra-liberalism.

Numerous seminars were devoted to the Bank's plan, whereas the Lagos Plan of Action lacked the means to become widely known, but the African intelligentsia, while holding the Bank plan to be useful for its empirical data, rejected its approach as neo-colonial. Initially, African states also treated the Bank's plan with suspicion. The fact that it was rejected by a Council of Ministers (but adopted by the Central Bank Governors) shows how much pressure had to be exerted (notably on states urgently needing to reschedule their external debts) to secure its acceptance. But the two problematics could not be allowed to coexist: the Lagos Plan of Action's, which cannot be put into effect without planning and hence the state playing a key role, and the World Bank's, which is incompatible with the concept of planning and presupposes no discrimination between national capital and foreign capital. On the specific level of food, the contrast was total.