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close this bookThe Courier N° 123 Sept - October 1990 - Dossier Higher Education - Country Reports: Barbados - (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)
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MEETING POINT: Salim Ahmed Salim

With decolonisation complete, with the ending of apartheid now certain, and communist hegemony in Eastern Europe in tatters, the OAU finds itself at a turning point in its history. What now, will be its raison d’e, its battle cry? What stance will its Member States adopt in the framework of the new international order? Will it become a more economic than political body, or will it be both? On a recent visit to Brussels the OAU’s Secretary-General, Salim Ahmed Salim, explained, with his customary frankness, his point of view.


BARBADOS: In a Caribbean of economic gloom, Barbados, in 1989, achieved its seventh consecutive year of growth with an economy based on tourism, sugar and manufacturing. This is the hallmark of good management which, more than ever before. will be needed in the coming years as tourism, the leading sector, falters and the sugar industry remains depressed.

SWAZILAND: A tiny kingdom, bordering on South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland’s traditional economic base, heavily agriculture-oriented, is now being complemented by an increasingly strong manufacturing sector. Though Government revenues are rising, the boom is being handled with caution. This is, after all, a time of change in Southern Africa.

DOSSIER: Higher education

Developments in higher education and in the related area of training in the ACP States, show that the situation in this field of economic and social life has deteriorated markedly in recent times. Do the ACP want to - and, if so, how can they - bring about the quantum leap that is so needed in the quality of their educational and training systems? Our Dossier examines some of the aspects of the problem.

Salim Ahmed Salim, OAU Secretary-General

“Individually none of our countries in Africa is in a position to have any serious, meaningful impact on the world scene”

During his recent visit to Brussels, the Secretary-General of the OAU gave an interview to The Courier in which he discussed the political and economic situation in Africa and looked to the future of the continent with a fair amount of optimism.

· Secretary-Gerneral, would you summarise the main objective and results of your visit to Brussels?

- Well, the objective of my visit in Brussels, was, first, to make contact with the ACP Group of States and the OAU Group here, with Belgian government officials and also to establish contact with EEC officials.

I had a very good meeting with the ACP Group and its Secretary-General, Dr Ghebray Berhane, with the Belgian Minister of Cooperation and the Foreign Minister as well as with the Director of the Centre for the Development of Industry, Dr Akinrele.

On the whole, I am satisfied with the visit in the sense that I am able to understand more about the sentiments and the priorities that I touched here in Brussels. I believe I was able, also, to project our own priorities and our own feelings about what is going on.

· On African matters, have you had specific discussions with either the Belgian Authorities or the EEC officials here, and what have you learned from those discussions which could prove useful for your future action?

- With both the Belgian Authorities and with the EEC officials we naturally discussed the changes in Europe and their impact on Africa, and what are the concerns of Africa in general. On both situations, both the Belgian Authorities and the EEC officials made it very clear to me that, with respect to a possible diversion of official assistance from Europe, or from the Community, to Eastern Europe, this is not in the pipeline. The assistance which has been earmarked for Africa will continue, but both also understood our own concern that really it’s not just a question of official development assistance, it is a question of attitudes and the whole perception that people have of Africa. I was told, for example, of something called - it’s the first time I heard it here “Afro-pessimism”, whatever that means. So, my point has been really that we understand, as Africans, that in the final analysis things will be better or worse off depending on how we Africans do - our own action. But we also understand - and it’s a point which has to be made - that Africa is not an island. It is affected by developments in the world, by decisions made by the world, and, to that extent, there are some decisions which are made which affect Africa and over which Africans have no control.

It is those decisions which really sometimes make a difference between the development or otherwise of our continent.

So while we Africans will make our own appraisal of the situation in the continent, and what is to be done to meet with the global changes, it is very important also that it is understood that some of the decisions which are made and which have a direct adverse effect on Africa are also responsible for some of the situations in our continent today. This has been my message here in Brussels, as well as in Paris, and in London, and it’s a message which I will continue to make because it is an important one. We have a problem in getting it through - people talk about the situation in the continent, the lack of democracy, of lack of human rights, the corruption and so on. People really tend to emphasise the negative aspects. I am not in any way justifying these negatives, but there are so many other things that are happening in Africa which are hardly reported or taken into account.

· Such as?

- Well, for one thing, the shattering of the myth that Africans don’t work hard - that if only we would work harder, things would be better. That’s a myth. Our people work hard - and I’m saying our people in every part of the continent. You go to the rural areas, you see how people work under the most difficult conditions and what is the result? Definitely, you have an increase in production, whether it is cotton, coffee, cocoa, groundouts, what have you. Sometimes you double or triple production and what is the result? You earn less, because you do not fix the price of the raw materials and of the commodities. And the reverse is not the case. You tell me if there has ever been an occasion in recent history where an African has been in a position to buy a tractor, or a spare part, or a car, or even fertiliser, at a lesser price than the price at which he bought them last year.

“Two factors have brought about the present changes in South Africa”

· One of the most important African problems is the question of South Africa. How does the OAU view the developments there and what can it do to help Nelson Mandela from now on?

- There are changes in South Africa which have to be encouraged. The release of Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC organisation, some of the steps taken by Mr De Klerk, are changes which Africa has welcomed; but these changes are not sufficient. They have not yet touched the fundamentals of the problem. The fundamental South African situation is a struggle to end a system which is anachronistic, and which has been characterised by the world community as a crime against humanity. A system where a person is judged not by his contribution but by the colour of his skin. And that system is intact.

So the struggle against apartheid is the actual raison-d’e of the international consensus behind the support for the nationalist struggle in South Africa. We must recognise the changes but we must also recognise what hasn’t changed. What hasn’t changed is that the apartheid system is still intact and that some of the trappings of apartheid, some of its consequences are now beginning to be redressed. But it is very important to maintain the pressure on the South African regime, so that the changes which have been started are not forgotten.

And these pressures include, first and foremost, the economic sanctions. Because what has brought about the present changes in South Africa has two factors: the resistance of the African people and the other anti-apartheid forces in South Africa, and the pressure of the international community. These two pressures must continue. It’s not simply a question of helping Mandela, it’s a question of continuing the struggle for which the world community as a whole has been striving. We have to maintain the momentum of the pressure against this regime. At the same time we have to create conditions which will allow the African National Congress, and other anti-apartheid forces to be able to operate effectively within South Africa in the new atmosphere. In other words, to give them the necessary backup, the necessary assistance and the necessary logistical support which is so useful now in order for this movement to operate as a political organisation in South Africa.

“A question of a system”

· Would you consider that Mr De Klerk’s words are “sweet-sounding words” still?

- The issue is not words. The issue is not whether one has confidence in someone. The issue is not even a question of the integrity of an individual. For example, with Mr De Klerk, Mr Mandela has said repeatedly that he thinks he’s an honest man - he is trying. But Mr Mandela himself has also said, and of course this is a point which has to be emphasised - that, it is not a questions of how good, or how well intentioned Mr De Klerk is; it is a question of a system.

The apartheid system remains, racial laws continue to prevail in South Africa; the various draconian legislations which keep the African people in what is considered to be their place - permanent underdogs, permanent underprivileged people in their own society. This is the struggle, this is the situation. So really what we are interested in is what sort of measures are taken to put into practice the declarations that are made. Mr De Klerk, I would say without any hesitation, compared to his predecessors has really made tremendous changes, but these dramatic changes are in the context of, and in comparison to, what his predecessors have done. In the context of the actual situation in South Africa, things have not fundamentally changed.

· What do you see as the principal preoccupation of your Organisation at present?

- The question of South Africa will continue to be an area of utmost priority and concern for the Organisation of African Unity, first, because without South African freedom, Africa cannot claim to be completely free; secondly, and more fundamentally, the creation in South Africa of a democratic non-racial united State will make a major impact on Africa’s other objective, namely the struggle for the development of our continent.

But apart from South Africa and with the independence of Namibia - the process of decolonisation in the continent is over, and this is one major achievement of the OAU. The major priority of our Organisation right now is the development of our people. That is where we have a very hard and challenging task ahead of us. So our Organisation’s priorities will be clearly devoted to the issues of economic development, the welfare of the African people, to ensuring that Africa is not marginalised in the context of the international scene. And we can only do this by ensuring that the declarations and the decisions which have been made by our leaders, in various fore, on different occasions, are put into practice and, more particularly, the thrust of economic cooperation into African cooperation and the eventual creation of an integrated African community.

To do so, also, we have to look inward and address ourselves seriously to some of the problems facing our continent, particularly the problem of inter-African conflicts. Internal African conflicts will clearly be to the forefront in the agenda of our leaders in our Organisation, because without peace and stability one cannot seriously talk in terms of development. So Africa’s, and the OAU’s, priorities will be to try and settle inter-African problems, to try and promote inter-African cooperation and to really try for the implementation of those decisions which have been taken by our leaders and which so far have remained unimplemented.

· But reports say that the OAU has not been really achieving so much in terms of solving internal conflicts between its Member States. How can you explain that? Is it due to the structure or is there another explanation such as ideological differences between the Member States?

- It is true that, on the issue of conflicts resolution, the OAU has not made the type of progress that we would have liked to make, and to that extent I think our Organisation has to face a serious challenge in this direction. Let me digress a bit. These issues of conflicts among African countries should not be exaggerated. I’m not saying that conflicts in Africa should not be resolved, but it should not be presumed that it is only in Africa where conflicts remain unresolved. There are also cultural conflicts in Asia, in Latin America, even in Europe and they do not stop economic and political cooperation and progress among these countries and continents. Having said that, I will put it to you this way: I don’t think that, as Africans, we can afford these conflicts.

Most of our countries are in extreme economic difficulty. Very little collective attention was devoted to what I would call a continental approach to the inter-African political problem. But also there was a question of one’s interpretation of what the OAU can do or shouldn’t do. In our opinion, with decolonialisation over, with the global changes taking place, with ideology becoming more and more irrelevant in the actual context of world situation and world politics, Africa has no option but to look inward and to try and resolve some of these problems. If we are to have a voice in the world, it is my firm submission that Africa cannot afford to be marginalised. By collective action, through African cooperation and unity, no country and no combination of countries can afford to ignore Africa.

“What we have to do now”

· Do you think that the OAU should now revise its structure in order to focus on economic issues, and should it try, particularly to smooth out ideological clashes within the Member countries?

- Different continents and different organisations have different histories and the OAU history is such that we had first to focus on the political matters, because we are talking in terms of freedom of our people. How could we talk in terms of unity and economic cooperation when at the time of the founding of the Organisation almost one third of the continent was under colonial domination? Clearly the focus was political ... a united position for the onslaught against colonialism. But even then the OAU Charter clearly talked in terms of economic cooperation among the African countries. Even then, there was emphasis on such areas as transport and communications between our countries, and even the creation of specialised Commissions - the Commission for Economic and Social Development, the Commission for Science, Culture and Education, the Military Commission as well as the Commission on Conciliation and Arbitration. The only thing that went wrong is that, because of the politics of the moment, the emphasis was almost exclusively put on the political field, while all these other institutions remain almost dormant.

What we have to do now - in the light of the changes in Africa itself, the changes in the world, the fact that we have to focus on economic development and technical and social cooperation - is to revive quickly the machinery which exists within the OAU to ensure that it functions and also to update it, and to make the necessary reforms which will take into account the reality.

We are now preparing a draft for the establishment of the African Economic Community. But the African Economic Community is going to be a product of a result of the many areas of sub-regional cooperation which are taking place. There is already a number of economic subregional groups such as ECOWAS, SADCC, the PTA, the ECAS in Central Africa and there is the UMA in the Maghreb. So really, since the focus is on economic cooperation, we’ll have to see also how the OAU institutions are structured in such a manner as to be able to face this objective.

“The African economies have been more or less mixed “

· What is your feeling about the impact of ideologies, different models of economic development, on the OAU’s action to achieve this very important economic objective you’ve just described?

- I don’t frankly believe the problem in Africa which has militated against African economic integration has been ideological at all. All African economies are either mixed economies or capitalist economies. They have never been any different. I don’t want anyone to tell me which African country could have been described as what I would call purely socialist, scientific socialist. There’s none. There have been declarations on marxism. There have been declarations on one type of political position. But essentially the African economies have been more or less mixed, a combination of state and private enterprise. So really that’s not the issue. The issue is that, all along, African countries have not really focussed seriously and meaningfully on the question of economic cooperation among themselves. We have paid more lip service to the question of economic cooperation than we have really translated into concrete action.

What I’m saying to you now is that we could afford to do that, maybe, in the sixties, maybe in the seventies, in the early eighties. Now we cannot afford to do this because the requirements of the situation in the continent are such that African countries, to be able to make meaningful progress, have to have their own rightful position in the world scene, they have to work as a cohesive unit.

· Do you think that the Lomonvention can help, to a certain extent, in the development of Africa?

- The Lomonvention is going to help us for another 10 years. Naturally, because we are committed to this Convention, we expect, and we have every reason to believe that our desire for intra-African cooperation, for economic integration of African countries, will also be seen by our partners in the Lomonvention as one of the important priority of focus in our economic cooperation.

There is no argument that we are bound by this Convention for the next 10 years, and our partners, also, are saying, notwithstanding whatever is happening in Europe, and in the world, things are going as far as their own commitments are concerned, to be there. So the question is within the context of these commitments. I would like to believe that there would be greater attention and a greater focus on Africa’s efforts towards economic integration.

· To what extent have you solved some of the Organisation’s internal difficulties which were in the headlines of the newspapers before your election - the financial issue for example?

- First, no single person can change an institution, or is required to change an institution. The process for the better is a continuous process. It started with my predecessors and I will continue with this process and my successors will follow.

What we have been trying to do in the last few months is to rationalise our own work programme’ to improve the working methods and efficiency of the Organisation. In terms of the present manpower allocation, we have also been trying to respond more favourably to the needs and requirements of the situation. Again, we have increasingly been impressing issues like economic cooperation upon our Heads of State and to a certain extent, the response has been quite encouraging. This is an African institution, voluntarily created by African States to serve African interests. It is a premier pan-African institution. It is the only institution where Heads of State meet at least once a year. And where foreign ministers meet at least twice a year. It embodies the aspirations of our people, and the collective decisions of our leaders.

This institution must be given the resources. If we are to appear serious to our own people, to say nothing of the outside world, we must first equip our institution with the resources it demands; we must take all our African institutions seriously. If we don’t want these organisations, we can decide to wind them up. But for as long as these institutions are there, they are supposed to serve African interests. And it is Africa’s obligation and responsibility, first and foremost, to ensure that the institution, which they have themselves created, must serve the interests of our people, and they can only do so by being given resources. The question of contribution is still not satisfactory, but there has been a marked improvement. Some Member States have been paying their arrears. So the contributions have been forthcoming, but I am still of the opinion that there is no reason whatsoever for anyone not to be able to pay his or her contribution.

Let me say I understand very clearly the very difficult economic situation which our countries are facing, but obligations are obligations, and this is an institution which was created by the Heads of State. I am confident that, as the months and years go by, more and more countries will live up to their obligations and more and more countries will live up to their responsibilities because, as I said at the beginning, we don’t have an alternative. The OAU is the vehicle which can serve pan-African interests. If we ignore it, if we do not equip the OAU, then we are talking in terms of acting individually - and individually none of our countries in Africa, not even the most powerful, are in a position to have any serious, meaningful impact on the world scene. But through the OAU, through the collective inspiration and expressions of Africa, no country, no power block, no combination in the world, no continent can ignore Africa.

Interview by

Symposium: Trade issues in the context of Lomé IV and 1992

The ACPs and the Community are wondering how to make a success of LomV, even before it takes effect, and with this in mind, a “ High-level Seminar on Strategic Trade Issues in the context of LomV and 1992” was held in Brussels from 9-11 July.

Many leading ACP figures were there, in particular more than 25 ACP Ministers, including Joshua Nkomo, the Vice-President of the Government of Zimbabwe. Some ACPs were represented by their Ambassadors in Brussels.

The Community representatives were Manuel Marin, Vice-President of the Commission, who opened the meeting, Dieter Frisch, the Director-General for Development, and Peter Pooley, Deputy Director-General. Dr Garret Fitzgerald, the Irish Prime Minister at the time of the signing of Lom (1975), also attended.

Manuel Marin said that the Community thought the Uruguay Round was a unique opportunity to lay down the basic rules for international trade in the future and that, naturally, the new agreement would have to take account of both traditional partners and the new economies which are just taking off, as well as the special problems of those countries which have not yet made a significant mark on the world trade scene. “We need to be aware”, he pointed out, “of the fact that the real problem facing ACP countries is not the erosion of preferences but rather the fundamental reasons which have prevented them from enjoying those preferences.

In fact, competition is the key word here. The ACPs will have not only to cope with the intensification of competition in their traditional markets but also seize the new opportunities offered by a dynamic world economy. In order to take up the challenge launched by this competition, it is necessary to abandon certain practices and develop new habits...

As for the trade system itself, the ACP countries need to be present in the Uruguay Round both individually and collectively... The Community can only do so much; the rest you must do yourselves through your representatives in Geneva”.

Joshua Nkomo said that Europe’s Single Market of 1992 was an unprecedented departure whose success was already apparent to everyone. But the best finest aspect of it was that it would be an example to “ those of us who want to work to create a unified market as part of the Lagos Action Plan. We are convinced”, he said, “ that the path thus traced will be worthy of being followed by other regional and international organisations. But we remain sceptical about our ability, as ACP States, to meet the standards laid down for the access of goods to the enlarged market. This will no doubt cause trade flows with various parts of the world, including countries and zones which have achieved a better standard of economic development than ours. The basic question is how can we survive the competition with which we shall be faced. The bulk of the products we export to the Community market can easily be replaced by products from the Community itself, from newly industrialised countries or from Eastern European countries in the throes of change”.

A thoroughgoing dialogue

Once each party had outlined its position, extensive exchanges of views were held on the GATT negotiations and the Uruguay Round, the implications of the Single Market of 1992 and relations between Eastern and Western Europe, the trade provisions of LomV and various questions related to ACP firms, employment and services.

The basic issue was why, when it came to trade, the ACP States failed to derive full benefit (or got less benefit than the Asian countries) from their privileged relations with the Community. Participants answered this with both well-worn and new (in the ACP-EEC context) arguments along two lines.

First of all, they repeated, the chronic ACP trade deficit with the Community was due to the constant decline in the price of ACP exports (commodities) and the dwindling investments which European and other developed nations were making in the Group. In addition, the manufactures exported to the ACP States were getting more expensive all the time, as a representative of the ACP Secretariat-General, in particular, tried to make clear. Although the rise (and fall) of commodity prices had never kept pace with that of industrial products from the developed world, it was not the sole reason, or even the main reason, for the ACP-EEC trade deficit today - a point which was illustrated by the ACPs themselves, in particular the delegates from Cd’Ivoire, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Siaka Coulibaly (Cd’Ivoire) that there was no point in having access to a market - in this case the market of the Twelve unless you had something to sell. In a market economy with free competition, it was quality and price which won the day and the ACPs and Africa in particular did not currently fulfil these conditions. The GATT agreements, he said, would only be of any help to the ACPs and Africa in particular in the long term, and only then if the Community realised that the real ACP problem was the weakness of the structures of their respective economies and not, in the immediate future, access to the markets.

The Dominican Minister, Mr Maynard, and the representative of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Sheelagh De Osuna, both underlined the contradictions in the various trade agreements between the developed countries and the Third World. The power of the developed nations and the weakness of the developing ones created a permanent state of imbalance, to the detriment of the latter, Mr Maynard said. The developing nations were asked to go in for full application of the rules of a liberal economy, but how could they compete if their markets were not protected, when the developed countries had a very efficient protectionist policy even if they did not call it that? Mrs. De Osuna pointed to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (the tax and customs facility package which the USA offered the Caribbean for exports of processed products to the American market), which was proving a failure because the Americans crossed all Caribbean products which were competition for US products, particularly textiles and sugar, off the list. These two outstanding ACP speeches suggested that the ACP States should rethink their whole system of production, marketing and management. It was the price they would have to pay if they wanted to keep their heads above water in international competition and take advantage of any trade agreements. The barriers to ACP trade with the Member States began at national level.

This was in fact the whole PMDT (processing, marketing, distribution and transport) strategy discussed at length during the LomV negotiations. The second area of discussion was world trade trends as a reason for the decline in the ACP situation. This was the line taken by Ireland’s Professor Dermot McAlesse, who reminded the meeting that manufactures represented 73 % of the value of world trade in 1988, an increase of 17% over 1980, when the figure was 56 %. Many developing countries had a worthwhile part to play in this, he said - by 1987, eight out of 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had gone beyond the level of their export earnings in the seventies. This, Peter Pooley said, was why, “ in the real world, where we all have to gain our living, a trade preference is only of value where a trade exists. The sad and solemn fact is that for very many ACP countries, the preferences accorded have little or no value, because a trade does not exist: or if it once did, it has now diminished”. As Manuel Marin had already said: “ There is no doubt that those developing countries which have had most success with their development are able to integrate themselves more closely in the multilateral system and to abide by the obligations resulting therefrom”.

The various points of view and the discussion they triggered - an interesting debate but with some surprisingly simple questions can be summed up in the following way: trade preferences, but to do what? In an international political reshuffle, can the ACPs just go on presenting themselves as the “ victims “ of an “ unfair “ international economic order?

Investment or rather disinvestment - in the ACP States, ACP financial transfers to the developed nations and the transfer of technology were also discussed. Investments were falling off because the ACP States were not creating the right conditions for profit (red tape and the lack of sound management were just some of the reasons) and ACP financial transfers were always being made to the benefit of the developed world. And, on the subject of the transfer of technology, it was Siaka Coulibaly again who said that “ technology isn’t transferred, it’s acquired “.

Trade at last!

Dieter Frisch, Director-General for Development at the Commission of the European Communities, and Mr de Carvalho Guerra, the Angolan Ambassador, wound up the seminar after spokesmen had reported on works of work of the four working parties (see box). The Angolan Ambassador said that countries with weak economies were unlikely to benefit from all the possibilities offered by LomV unless they went into partnership with European firms. “ At last we come to trade”, Dieter Frisch responded, welcoming the fact that the discussions had not “ skated over the problems, dealing with one-off questions”, as was all too often the case in trade.

“A return to closed markets” was in any case impossible, but it was important Mr Frisch said to “avoid any doctrinal responses to the question of whether the aim should be to integrate the ACP economies into the world economy”. Effectiveness was the most important thing and unduly open economies should sometimes be avoided. He declined to accept a “global analysis of the phenomena” which failed to take account of the extreme diversity of situations and thought that they should “ look very carefully to see just where a preference can help the ACPs”.

M.H.B. and L.P.

Extracts from the reports and recommendations

1. Practical obstacles to the effective use of the trade provisions of LomV.

The working party noted the “absence of awareness of economic operators... of the provisions of LomV aiming to stimulate trade development “, and the “ practical difficulties of beneficiaries in interpreting LomV”. They recommended that Governments: “define a consistent trade development strategy associating the private sector in the definition and implementation of the programmes”.

2. The trade environment

Working party 13 stressed the urgent need for “a more active participation of ACP countries in the GATT negotiations” and to systematically provide for “the possibility” in LomV, of reinforcing trade and support services internally and internationally”.

3. Key elements of trade and services development programmes

“All ACP States and regional organisations should consider trade and services as factors in overall economic planning”. The (trade development) programmes should be sector and market specific with quantified and qualified objectives established at the design stage... Programmes should... involve an appropriate private public sector mix and include (at this design stage) all the necessary support services (export credits, insurance, packaging, transport and warehousing)... Some countries and regions which are especially “ services “ sector oriented may regard development in such sectors (consultancy, telematics etc) as taking precendence over visible trade programmes... It was recommended that part of the resources of LomV be used to help ACP States and regions to decide the location of production units in selected product groups in order to avoid duplication of investment while satisfying market needs... “

4. Improving intra-ACP trade

“In view of the fact that the lack of a political will is a major obstacle to intra-ACP trade, it is recommended that the ACP States take appropriate measures and/or implement the resolutions adopted regionally concerning the free movement of goods, services and persons...

The transport and communication problems encountered nationally and regionally the lack of information, the absence of complementarily in the various productions. their limited competitiveness in relation to the rest of the world the investment problems and in particular the trade financing problems as well as the compensation mechanisms are recognised as being the main obstacles to the development of intra-ACP trade...”

Fisheries and aquaculture: new guidelines and new challenges

by Cornelia NAUEN

From modest beginnings, individual EC Member States and, since the 1970s the Community, on request primarily of its ACP partners, have become major donors in fisheries cooperation. Initially this coincided with the expansion phase of fisheries worldwide after World War II, when natural resources were far from being fully exploited except in a few areas. Local problems could, at the time, be overcome by geographical expansion which did, indeed, happen with development of long-distance fleets facilitated by low fuel costs. The oil crisis in the early 1970s coincided with changing exploitation patterns in that more and more stocks became fully exploited and in some areas signs of economic and/or biological overfishing became apparent.

An analysis of the fisheries sector worldwide suggests that the situation has changed profoundly since. The new challenges emerge from the fact that these natural resources are now fully exploited almost everywhere and that investment which was highly successful during the expansion phase of fisheries in the 1950s and 1960s, when resources were amply available, would now spell failure under conditions of full exploitation. The new ocean regime established through the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea has resulted in virtually all coastal countries establishing 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) which have been instrumental in redistributing the wealth of the sea and making possible the control of user rights vis-is foreigners. But this has not necessarily solved fierce competition among groups of domestic users (i.e. small-scale versus industrial fleets).

“Too many boats, too few fish “

Overexploitation in economic terms means that too many boats are chasing too few fish. In biological terms it may put the very existence of the resource at risk, either because too many fish are caught to maintain the size of biomass the environment could sustain or, even worse, too many fish are caught at the early stages of their life history before they have had a chance to reproduce at least once (recruitment overfishing). Indeed, studies have demonstrated for several countries that a reduction of total fishing effort and/or changes in exploitation patterns would increase the net benefit of this primary sector to the national economy. This could be achieved through suitable policy and management matched with monitoring, control and surveillance.

Against this scenario and across the continents, the Commission has committed some ECU 320 m to the sector over the years. In 1987 there was a general perception that some key parameters in the sector had changed or were changing and that it was time to take a critical look at project performance in a sectoral perspective rather than on a case by case basis. The task was assigned to a joint team of ACP and EC experts, on the principle that joint undertakings could only be assessed and improved together.

It turned out to be a valuable experience which has triggered a string of other efforts to improve project quality and performance in the light of the changes in the sector. In between, the team studied both EEC and non-EEC supported projects to capitalise to a maximum on all existing and documented experience, assessed several individual projects chosen to represent certain sub-sector aspects and submitted their findings and recommendations to a meeting of ACP and EC fisheries experts and evaluators held in April 1989 in Malawi. This meeting condensed its deliberations on the report into draft Basic Principles for the sector to serve as future reference material for better project preparation and implementation. What were the key features of the criticisms and suggestions for future quality improvement?

Weaknesses identified

Many weaknesses that had given rise to criticism were associated with insufficient project preparation which later gave rise to difficulties which could sometimes have been avoided. Insufficient integration into sector and national plans, where they existed was a further problem, and institutional support in the country often left much to be desired. A recurrent theme was that intended beneficiaries were not sufficiently involved in project preparation resulting in the need for avoidable adjustments later on.

There was a series of cases where commitments in the Financing Agreement, i.e. on counterpart funds, were not sufficiently respected, leading to an imbalance in project finance and to difficulties in viability after external support ceased. Time-overrun was also a common problem and the analysis suggested that unwieldly administrative procedures on either side of the administration often added to the problem rather than smoothing things out during implementation.

Not surprisingly, the role of individuals, whether nationals or expatriates working in and for a project, was seen as crucial. The common perception was that good experts could sometimes make the difference between a good and a mediocre project and that much depended on the commitment of the individuals concerned and their ability to cooperate with beneficiaries.

The team looked into different subsectors and pointed out problems relating to industrial fisheries, small-scale fisheries and aquaculture and their complexities and complementary or conflictual interaction which had often not been taken fully into account.

Trying to draw the lessons from this constructive criticism, the Basic Principles attempt to highlight aspects needing more careful consideration in future projects, particularly in view of the changes in a sector which is now in a phase of readjustment.

They highlight the need for careful project preparation formalised in appropriately detailed documents which should not only set out the technical aspects of a future project, but also all the general socio-economic context and national sector planning against which the principal intermediary objectives can be defined. Emphasis is placed on the need to quantify targets as the only way to achieve accountability.

Where databases are weak, phased approaches are preferable to immediate large-scale implementation. In the same vein, close coordination and where possible cooperation with neighbouring projects could shorten the trial periods and facilitate efficient use of resources.

The major sustainability factors for project appraisal serve as reference principles to monitor implementation. These are:

- government support to the project by practical measures throughout implementation;

- careful consideration of any positive or negative effects on the environment, including sustainability of resource use and management;

- clear identification of target groups and their involvement in the production system from catching/production to marketing, taking into account the structure of fishing communities including general conditions (health, education etc.), gender division of tasks, social organisation, etc.;

- judicious choice of technologies in compliance with risks beneficiaries can take and their aspirations;

- strong management and skill development at all required levels to ensure long-term viability at the level of beneficiaries and, where necessary, in strengthening competent institutions crucial to project and sector success; - financial and economic viability (ensurance of maintenance, flow of spare parts, operational costs etc.).

From the planning stage, appropriate institutional arrangements need to be examined for different project aspects and support envisaged to the public and/or private sector accordingly. The lessons from past handling of revolving and credit funds are manifold, i.e.:

- integration of traditional credit can be extremely effective at small-scale level;

- choice of production means bought on credit left as far as possible to beneficiaries will enhance their commitment to reimbursement;

- mobilisation of savings and cooperation with formal credit institutions where they operate in rural and fishing communities will enhance the chances of long-term survival of schemes which otherwise risk collapse at the end of external project funding.

Last but not least, formalisation of all stages of the project, including definition of appropriate performance indicators, is believed to be a prerequisite for proper progress reports to ensure timely help if difficulties arise, or through technical reports for wider distribution to share experience and capitalise on them.

All this has recently been presented to the Article 193 Committee of the Lomonvention. Its general work and particularly its continued striving for improved quality of cooperation in all sectors is well known to readers of The Courier. The Committee has deliberated on these Basic Principles and the ACP/EEC Council of Ministers adopted them at its most recent meeting in March 1990 in Fiji.

As readers may imagine, those directly concerned with the sector have not waited to adopt many of the recommendations of the evaluation report and the Basic Principles and have sought ways to become more efficient and effective. One practical step to improve the openness of EC fisheries cooperation to other countries and donors is through a special EC Fisheries Cooperation Bulletin which has appeared quarterly in English and French since December 1988.

Work has also continued on a more substantial follow-up of the sectoral evaluation and the Basic Principles, not only through regular exchange between fisheries officers in ACP countries and the Commission, but also with fisheries advisers of EC Member States. One result of these efforts has been more detailed draft guidelines on how to prepare fisheries and aquaculture projects to work upstream of the problems identified. They are a reaction to the analysis of changes characterising the sector in this decade of adjustment after the expansion and crisis of the resource and the industry.

That natural resources are becoming increasingly rare is not the least indicated by the slowing down of annual production increases of about 1% in the face of population growth outstripping it by far, and overall price increases of the commodity of around 4-5% per year.

Limitation of natural resources and capture fisheries increases the chances of aquaculture- and culture-based fisheries becoming economically feasible where it used not to be. However, the analysis calls for caution in avoiding the mistakes of the past, where ample assistance focused on bio-technical aspects, while constraints appear to have dominated on the socioeconomic side. In other words, successful introduction or strengthening of various forms of aquaculture hinge on a comprehensive analysis of the total production system, including people, their social organisation, land and water tenure systems, production conditions and access to markets and market conditions.

The guidelines try to address these challenges and offer a framework in which to carry out work in a more systematic way and, above all, to help fulfil a greater share of the sector’s substantial potential if it is properly understood and managed. Should this perhaps invite ACP and donor administrations to take a second look at their own fisheries department or service and their working conditions?



The coyness may sometimes be there in official circles, but Barbados is definitely a middle-income country, compares favourably in many areas with many a developed country and has an outlook that is unmistakably upbeat.

In 1989, Barbados recorded its seventh consecutive year of economic growth, 3.5%, and attained its highest ever GDP per capita: BD$ 11270 or US$ 5635 - a growth that is clearly reflected on the ground in the country’s sound social and economic infrastructures: a good health-care and social security system, educational facilities of very high standard, efficient public services and telecommunications network.

In a Caribbean of seemingly endless economic gloom, Barbados’ achievement, in the face of an unfavourable international situation, is without parallel. In a way, it fits in with that “ first “ or “ best “ image, that uniqueness that has always been associated with the island since the British claimed it in 1627. Geographically, it is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands (sitting pretty, as they say, in splendid isolation). It was the only island that was not disputed by the colonial powers.

Arguably the choicest of British colonial possessions in the region (certainly the most anglicised, a fact that has earned it the name “Little England”), Barbados was the first to establish a parliamentary democracy in the Caribbean. Indeed its Parliament dates as far back as 1639, the third oldest in the Commonwealth. It was here in the 17th century that large sugarcane plantations were first set up in the Caribbean, leading to the massive importation of slaves from Africa. (Previously indentured English labourers were used). This, it should be noted, was a momentous event for Barbados for it saw not only the squeezing out of smallholders and the consolidation of large estates, but also the drastic reduction of the white population. The slaves were freed in 1834.

The society which has emerged from these fortunate and unfortunate circumstances is one that is peaceful, enlightened, hard-working, fair-minded and friendly. Ninety-five per cent of the population are of African descent, the remainder European.

Although Barbados, in terms of natural attributes, is equally blessed with white sandy beaches and fine tropical sunshine like most of the other islands, it is believed by many to have an edge not only in beauty, but also in the pleasantness of its climate, constantly tempered as it is by the sea breeze. This makes Barbados one of the most sought-after holiday resorts in the Caribbean.

Small reserves of oil and gas, and 438 sq km of land are virtually the only assets with which nature has endowed the island. The greatest, however, is its human resources, about 250 000 people, 98% of whom are literate.

Independent since 1966 and politically stable with its functioning democracy, Barbados has been able to capitalise on all the resources at its disposal, thanks mainly to the fact that it has had successive governments whose economic policies were fundamentally not different from one and another.

These governments have so far emerged from either the Barbados Labour Party, BLP (which was founded in the colonial days and led Barbados to independence), or from the Democratic Labour Party, DLP (a break-away faction of the BLP which is currently in government). There is now a third party, the National Democratic Party, NDP, which was set in 1988. It is also of the Labour family, having itself broken away from the DLP. This similarity and, as a result, more or less consistency in policies has created foreign confidence in Barbados, and a very healthy climate for investment.

There is no doubt that this factor has, to a large extent, contributed to the resilience shown by the Barbadian economy to the bouts of depression it has suffered since independence, the most notable being the setbacks caused by the oil crisis of 1973/74 and the world recession of 1981/82 which saw the virtual collapse of Barbados’ exports to Trinidad and Tobago. Despite these setbacks, Barbados maintained an average growth rate of 5.1 % in the ‘70s and 2.5% in the ‘80s.

In the crises, manufacturing and the sugar industry were worst affected, and it has been Barbados’ good fortune to have been one of the few developing countries to lead the way in reforms in the early ‘80s. Rather than wait for the Bretton Woods institutions to intervene, the government of the day carried out adjustments it considered necessary. These won the approval and the backing of the International Monetary Fund which provided a stand-by credit of $ 13.4 million in 1982. By the end of the following year Barbados was back on its feet and along the path of growth, with tourism expanding, the industrial sector moving into the new area of offshore business, and agriculture laying more emphasis on non-sugar production. These were in effect the result of concerted efforts at diversification of an economy that had been dominated by sugar.

Sugar: what future?

Sugarcane is, of course Barbados’ major agricultural crop. For long the the main, and currently the second most important foreign exchange earner, it is still in a state of profound crisis.

Since 1986 when -111 000 tonnes of sugar were produced, output has fallen as the acreage under cane cultivation shrank and two of the six factories closed: 83 000 tonnes in 1987, 80 300 t in 1988 and 63 600 t last year, earning respectively $71.2 million, $67.2 m and $52 m. The situation, however, would have been worse but for a guaranteed export quota of 50 000 tonnes on the European market which Barbados enjoys under the Sugar Protocol of the Lomonvention, at prices above those of the world and the US markets. Barbados however runs the risk of shortly not being able to supply its preferential markets, given its domestic sugar requirement of around 15 000 tonnes. Most telling of the situation is the rising cost of production: $1328 per tonne in 1987 and $1360 per tonne in 1988 against export prices of respectively $ 1040 and $1085 per tonne. The industry has had to survive in recent years more on public support, a tradition that was started as far back as the late 1930s following the Moyne Commission’s recommendations, which established the socio-economic link of the product.

The growing gap between revenue and cost of production of sugar, however, has raised the question of whether it would not be wiser to phase out its production altogether. Each time, the argument is advanced that “ the fates of sugar and non-sugar agriculture are too tightly linked to be separated”. As can be seen in the interviews (pages 17 and 22), there are rather powerful arguments in favour of maintaining sugar production, among which are the fact that the industry is a large employer of labour and that sugar is a commodity that cannot easily be replaced. The plan is to maintain a production level of around 90 000 tonnes at least and to earn between $60 million to $70 million annually from the industry. It is yet to be seen whether these targets can be met and how economically sustainable they will be.

Tourism, a driving force that is losing momentum

There is no doubt that Barbados owes much of its economic achievements of the past few years to tourism which has expanded faster than any other sector. In 1983, 328 000 tourists visited the island, spending a total of BD$ 503.2 million. In 1989 there were 460 000 and expenditures were just over one billion Barbados dollars. Contributing 14.3 % of GDP, tourism is, of course, the biggest foreign exchange earner. Its growth is not only a reflection of the boom in international tourism generally and the natural attractiveness of Barbados, but also a result of intensified promotion, backed-up with the expansion and improvement of facilities to cater for all classes of visitors mass, middle and up-market. In 1987, for example, a new port facility for cruise ships was opened in Bridgetown. There are now better road networks across the island and sports and cultural calendars have been introduced to provide tourists with a variety of recreational activities, in addition to the traditional sun, sand and sea.

A new marketing strategy has also been adopted involving the tapping of the United Kingdom, European and Canadian markets, with the introduction of such practices as package tours. The result has been an extension of the tourist season well into the so-called “ off-season “, i.e. April to November. The strategy now is to make tourism a year-round industry not only for foreign exchange purposes, but to ensure greater job security for Barbadians engaged in the industry.

Traditionally, the United States provided the bulk of visitors to Barbados, but their numbers have been falling in recent years, from a share of the market that averaged 41.2 % between 1986 and ‘88 to 33 % in 1989. Although these deficits have been made up largely by increased arrivals from the United Kingdom and Europe (from 22.4 % in 1988 to 26.2% last year), Barbados is clearly facing greater competition in the American market, particularly from other Caribbean resorts like the Bahamas, St Kitts and Antigua where, noticeably, arrivals from America have increased significantly in the past few years. At a time when Barbados is increasingly being seen as an expensive destination, this must be particularly worrying, although Minister of Tourism and Sport, Wesley Hall, feels confident that Barbados can hold its own by offering “value for money”. Observers, however, point out that if Cuba democratises and opens up realistically to international tourism (it has already indicated its intention to cash in on tourism), the competition is bound to intensify in the Caribbean, and particularly for Barbados.

So far this season, there have been falls in both arrivals and bed occupancy (see interview with Minister of Tourism and Sports, page 20) from virtually all the country’s sources of tourists. No doubt there is a need to step up promotional campaign - a fact already recognised by the Barbados Hotel Association (BHA) which has, this year, launched a tourism enhancement fund of BD$ 5 million, to be raised annually for promotional activities.

It is noticeable that, in order to recoup losses being incurred whether as a result of the demands for wage increases by the Unions or as a result of low occupancy, hoteliers have increased room rates this year. The extent to which this will affect overall income from tourism is yet to be seen, but it does not augur well for the “ expensive “ image that is being associated with Barbados.

Diversification, constrained by export markets

A declining sugar industry and a dominant tourist sector, whose faltering this year could spell trouble for Barbados, bring to the fore the issue of diversification which has been the policy pursued vigorously, especially since independence. As already seen, it has had a measure of success.

It is important, however, to note that, given its poor resource base and small domestic market, manufacturing in Barbados relies heavily on imports and exports (indeed if account is taken of tourism, the economy as a whole is dependent on the state of the world economy). The international scene has not altogether been favourable in recent years to Barbados, and if manufacturing, which was virtually non-existent 35 years ago, accounts today for a significant volume of exports light manufactures such as furniture, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, garments, electronics, chemicals, cosmetics, it is not for want of dynamism, it is constrained very much by export markets.

Manufacturing accounts for 9.9 % of GDP. It grew last year by 5.4 %. A good deal of the credit for this expension goes to the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation (BIDC), which was set up by an Act of Parliament in the late ‘50s to stimulate, facilitate and “ undertake “ the development of industry in the country. The BIDC goes out to Europe and America to identify companies that it feels can operate viably in Barbados and then persuades them to come either solely or in partnership with local entrepreneurs with a package of incentives: tax holidays, duty-free imports of all raw materials, production equipment and spare parts, subsidised factory shells and, sometimes, technical assistance, in addition to guarantees on the repatriation of dividends, property and capital. Every year one or two manufacturing units are set up in the country providing greatly needed employment opportunities.

Unlike manufacturing, the export-oriented service industry has had no problems. Indeed, its progress has been spectacular in the past nine years.

Whereas, for example, there were only two data processing companies in 1981, there are now 11 operating in Barbados. Manufacturing employs 13000 people (13% of the labour force).

Since the revision in 1977 of the International Business Companies Act, the offshore business sector has also been expanding. Many foreign insurance companies, sales corporations and banks are choosing Barbados as a base, attracted mainly by the tax treaties which Barbados has concluded with their home countries, aimed at ensuring that such benefits as they gain in Barbados are not lost at home through taxes. Barbados currently has tax treaties with the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Whether in manufacturing, in services or in off-shore business, Barbados is attractive to foreign investors because of the availability of skills, and a trainable workforce generally, as well as its political stability and good infrastructure.

There is now a drive for an all-round expansion of industry, but there are two major problems: wages are very high, indeed, higher than productivity - in the last 10 years, wages, according to some reports, have risen by 75%, while production has increased by only 10%; Barbados still has serious market difficulties.

The first is an issue which the government recognises but which it will have difficulty dealing with, as it adheres to the principles of collective bargaining (a democratic process, as the Prime Minister puts it), and the Trade Unions show no signs of moderating demands.

It is believed in some quarters, however, that the level of wages is directly related to a new industrial phase, that Barbados is no longer a country of cheap labour and that it is moving on in manufacturing to a new stage of higher quality products during which a few companies would be lost. These would be replaced, they say, by stronger, more competitive ones and, in time, wages will be aligned with productivity.

However plausible this theory, it assumes a recovery of exports. Barbados, biggest market is the Caribbean, but since the collapse of CARICOM’s Multilateral Clearing Facility (resulting mainly from the indebtedness of Guyana) and the imposition of import restrictions by Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago in the wake of their economic difficulties, Barbados’ exports to the Caribbean have been severely affected. Furthermore, the United States restrictions on the import of garments, an area in which Barbados had felt it had a comparative advantage, has brought the country’s textile industry almost to a standstill.

Although exports to the Caribbean Community rose significantly in 1988 and ‘89 (thanks mainly to a re-entry into the Jamaican market) they are far from returning to normal. The US and Canadian markets remain difficult to penetrate despite the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the CARICOM/Canada trade agreement (CARIBCAN) which were designed to boost Caribbean exports to these countries. It therefore, came as no surprise that Barbados visible trade deficit widened last year to BD$ 979.9 m from DB$ 809.7 in 1988, owing to high imports, mainly from CARICOM countries and the United States.

The United States remains by far potentially Barbados’ biggest export market, notwithstanding the restrictions on the import of textiles. BIDC officials admit that the problem is essentially one of a very small country trying to master the complexities of producing and exporting to a market as large as the US. But if Barbados is to have any sizeable earnings from manufactured products and succeed realistically in its diversification efforts it has to have access to that market and, on this, Errol Humphrey, Deputy General Manager of the BIDC, believes Barbados is “ in the process of learning how to assess it effectively “.

In a country where manufacturing has expanded and the number of cars on the roads has grown from just under 8000 to 18 000 in five years, Barbados has been fortunate in having small deposits of oil and gas which it exploits, thus reducing its dependence on oil imports - an important factor in the country’s import/export equation.

Non-sugar agriculture: still import-substitution oriented

Not facing any significant problem of export market is non-sugar agriculture, the diversification of which is dogged by a plethora of problems: access to land (emanating from the plantation system inherited from the slavery and colonial era), unfamiliarity with new crops and new technologies, and diseases.

Despite these handicaps, Barbados has achieved a good level of self-sufficiency, which in terms of import-substitution, is considerable - “ a positive foreign exchange step”, as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Warwick Franklin describes it (see interview on page 22). Barbados is not only self-sufficient in such items as yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, okras, beets and hot peppers, it exports reasonable quantities to regional markets. It is doing well in livestock production and, until recently, in fisheries produce.

A more significant, and indeed worrying, fact about non-sugar agriculture in Barbados is the decline in the area of arable land under food crop production. Last year, “a prolonged dry period,” according to the Central Bank 1989 Annual Report, “was one reason for the reduction in food crops planted, but farmers also appear to be converting arable land for housing development, in an effort to pay off debts.” The result was that food production in 1989 “ was no higher than in 1988 and way below its 1987 level. “ This meant that “regional and extra regional exports of fresh produce declined to negligible proportions. “

The fisheries sector, which grew rapidly between 1984 and 1986, thanks mainly to the Oistins Fisheries Terminal project financed by the EDF, has since been depressed, mainly as a result of difficulties being experienced by fishermen in gaining access to richer fishing grounds within Trinidad and Tobago’s territorial waters. Barbados is currently negotiating for that access.

Although Mr Franklin believes fruits and yams have great export potential, the development of cotton and the flower industries, in his opinion, will be the main focus of non-sugar agriculture as “ the major foreign exchange earners for Barbados in the next 7-15 years.”

Maintaining external reserves

Last year’s deficit in the balance of visible trade was the fifth in a row. For the first time, however, since 1981, Barbados had an overall balance of payments deficit of $70 million.

This, coupled with sizeable debt repayments and servicing (the heaviest the country has ever faced) and increased demand on foreign exchange (as the boom in the construction industry provoked demands for imports of materials and equipment), led to a dramatic fall in the country’s foreign exchange reserves in 1989.

Although credit restrictions imposed by the Central Bank resulted in a slight recovery, at only $269.5 million (3) Barbados’ foreign exchange reserves are worth only three months of imports. Experts agree that renewed pressure on reserves would throw the economy off balance if the foreign exchange earning sectors fail to perform adequately.

As already seen, the prospects are not good for those sectors. Tourism is unlikely to bring in as much foreign exchange as it did last year. This fits in with the forecast of the Central Bank in its 1989 Annual Report. The same report says that “ sugar exports”, will again stagnate while exports of manufactured goods are not likely to increase significantly,” concluding that “ without effective measures to arrest the strong growth in aggregate expenditure and to dampen the import surge, the pressure on the foreign exchange reserves will intensify.” Although debt-servicing this year is expected to be much lower than last, this is unlikely to reduce that pressure.

For the immediate future at least Barbados’ economic stability calls for fiscal prudence. The alternative will be increased external borrowing and probably the intervention of the IMF - an intervention that will inevitably lead to the devaluation of the Barbadian dollar which is currently pegged to the US dollar at two to one.

Barbados needs a stable currency. That is the view of the IMF, according to Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Delisle Worrell. And for a small country like Barbados, he says “the Fund believes that the best of possible options in terms of policy, to avoid devaluation, is to keep a reasonable level of exchange reserves and meet its debt obligations”. Barbados, however, has up till now risen to that challenge. It has regularly repaid principals and serviced its debt - a practice that has earned the country the rating of most creditworthy nation in Latin America and the Caribbean. A not altogether laudable feature of this reputation, however, is its tendency to borrow to repay debts. Although this is designed in effect to lengthen the maturity of its debts, it is simply postponing the days of reckoning.

Barbados has excellent relations not only with the IMF but also with other financial institutions, including the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, both of which have been particularly helpful in recent years in the financing of infrastructural development.

Experts share the Central Bank’s opinion that there can be only one sound economic course to take - and that is: cuts in expenditures, especially those with foreign exchange implications.

Stabilising the currency, on the other hand, means keeping inflation low, which is something that is difficult to achieve in an economy as open as that of Barbados. The best it can do is to “ keep inflation at least at the same level as that of the world’s rate of inflation”, according to Mr Worrell. At 6.2% in 1989, however, inflation is rising not so much as a result of higher prices in the countries which are Barbados’ major trading partners as of the government’s option increasingly for indirect taxes in preference to direct taxation to raise revenue. The government, as it were, is “ caught between two poles, “ says Worrell. “ To go further as far as indirect taxation is concerned, there is an inflationary impulse that has repercussions, but at the same time there is a strong public reaction against any further indirect taxations.” The only solution, in his opinion, is “ to try over the course of time to reduce the levels of government spending. “

So, from the point of view of both capital and current spending there is a need for cuts, certainly sooner than later. Last year, the Sandiford government successfully slashed spending by BD$ 55 million. The 1990 budget appears in that vein in being more modest than expected. The last before the elections, it foresees expenditure of about $1.3 bn against revenue of $1 ten. The government is expected, as usual, to finance the deficit through domestic borrowing, especially from the Central Bank.

The thrust of the budget is to maintain growth and create more jobs. It should be noted, however, that, despite the growth recorded in the past few years, the unemployment figure still hovers at between 16 and 18 %. Moreover, growth has been lopsided: electricity generation, and the construction industry, for example, accounted for the bulk of the growth in 1989. Aiming at a more balanced growth will not be easy. Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford predicts a GDP growth rate of at least 2% this year. This was based on the assumption that tourism and manufacturing will perform at least as well as 1989, but the trend so far will suggest a zero or negative real growth. Whatever happens, Barbados is certainly in for a leaner time.

For more detailed sectoral studies, see the interviews with the Ministers of Tourism, of Trade, Industry and Commerce, and of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. A historical, socio-economic analysis of Barbadian society by K. Sandiford is published on page 29.

Augustine OYOWE

An interview with Erskine SANDIFORD, Prime Minister of Barbados

“My particular objective is to have balanced growth...”

After several years of various ministerial responsibilities in’ the government of the Democratic Labour Party, Erskine Sandiford became Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Barbados in June 1987, following the death of his predecessor Errol Barrow. He had been Deputy Prime Minister for almost a year. Since then he has presided over the highest rates of economic growth Barbados has known. In this interview with The Courier, he talks of his objectives.

· Prime Minister, Barbados’ ambition, as revealed to “ The Courier “ nearly six years ago in an interview with the then Prime Minister the late Tom Adams, is the achievement of a standard of living more or less comparable to that of’ western Europe within 10 to 20 years. Are you on course to achieving that objective?

- There are certain situations which relate definitely to hopes and to ambitions, but these have to grounded in terms of what are the realities of the time - and also they are influenced by certain imponderables and uncertainties over which a country has no control. And if you are a very small country with limited resources, you tend to be a taker of situations, particularly economic situations, rather than a creator or influencer of those situations. And I think that is where Barbados finds itself. We have been improving our standards of living and, given a beneficent set of conditions’ they will continue to improve. We will certainly hope that this will mean better prospects for our people and better prospects for the world. So we are working along the line of continued improvement in our standards of living. Realistically we have a long way to go to catch up with Western Europe.

· Tourism continues to dominate the economy. Your efforts at diversification have paid dividends. Are you satisfied, though, with the pace of diversification?

- To be satisfied may indicate a certain measure of complacency. I do not think that we are satisfied, we always believe we can do better even if we have had considerable progress in terms of tourism and in terms of the diversification of our economy. My particular objective is to have balanced growth in the economy based on some leading sectors, but one that is not skewed unduly in one direction because we believe that a balanced growth, and a balanced economy are the best objectives for a developing country to aim at. So, while we note the growth that we have made, and this has been significant, we believe that there are areas in which we can improve both tourism as well as the other sectors; for example, we believe that there is scope for a better push in terms of our agriculture and there are certain adjustments that we have to make in that particular sector; our food import bill is high, and our exports are low compared to our imports. I think there is much scope for growth and development in the areas of agriculture and fisheries. In the area of services we have had some successes and we believe that there is more scope here for development. So I just mention those as areas in which we believe that there are opportunities for Barbados to develop further.

· One area where you have also been very successful is offshore business. Notwithstanding the treaty between Barbados and the United States, how serious do you view current US concern on the laundering of drug money and the possible effects it could have on offshore banking in Barbados?

- Barbados is, I believe, well positioned and poised to be a financial centre - a business centre - whereby those who see possibilities in that area can combine their business with rest and recreation and get a mix that is generally not too readily available in the high-pressure situations of modern cities. We believe that we can use our resources and endowments in that particular regard to develop as a financial and business centre, and the results to date have been encouraging. But we are not a tax haven, and we are not aiming to attract, we certainly do not encourage, any shady types of operations. We try to keep in place quite stringent rules and regulations, and procedures to avoid as far as possible any activities and enterprises which may remotely be concerned with the laundering of ill-gotten gains. So, we are interested in legitimate business.

· Wages in Barbados have risen far beyond productivity in recent years, clearly a disincentive to foreign investment. What measures are being taken to relate wages more to productivity?

- The major resource in Barbados is our people. We are not richly endowed with a diversity or a super-abundance of the minerals or other resources which constitute the more desirable trading commodities on the world market. For us it is our people and I think it is quite natural that people should seek through their unions to get the greatest possible return for their input into the productive process; it is for all those who are in management, in government, in the unions themselves, to realise the basic fact that productivity and wage settlements must have a direct correlation and if the wages aspect of it outstrips productivity, then the competitive nature of the goods or services that we produce would be lost, and the goose that lays the golden egg would certainly disappear. So I think what we have been seeking to do on all occasions is to moderate the demands and the aspirations of our people for standards of living that may not be immediately attainable, or attainable in the short term. And, you notice, that I am somewhat more modest than others in my projections for where Barbados will be positioned by 1992 or thereabouts as far as our standards of living, compared with those of Western Europe or elsewhere, may be concerned.

· So the idea of a wage freeze, as is being suggested in many quarters, is ruled out?

- My government and I haven’t spoken about any wage freeze. What we have spoken about is ensuring that labour gets a fair share of any increased productivity which means that if we have a growth rate of 3 %, no one should expect to get wage increases of 30% because that bears no relation at all to increased productivity. So we believe that when a product is manufactured there are certain inputs to it and there must be certain returns for the factors that make up that product. Now we have not spoken about a wage freeze but wage policies which relate such remunerations to the level of productivity.

· You are appealing to the good sense of the trade unions. If you really want to prevent wages escalating beyond productivity, as they are now, wouldn’t it be necessary to have a kind of incomes policy backed by law?

- We do have an incomes policy that is based on keeping wage settlements in line with productivity and this is done within the framework of collective bargaining, because we are committed to free trade unions and collective bargaining activities and the right of workers to get together to promote their interests. But as a government we have to look after the national interest. Our policy is to reconcile any conflicting demands through consensus government which is our philosophy as far as this particular area is concerned. But if it becomes necessary pursuing that particular objective, we will not hesitate to take the actions that are necessary if the demands are unconscionable or if they are way out of line with anything that is affordable. Where demands are such that they will have some deleterious effect on the economy generally, then we will take whatever action will be necessary to protect the general welfare.

· For Barbados, the World Bank has advocated caution on foreign borrowing, given its present debt situation. 1989 was a particularly bad year in terms of repayment and servicing. How great, though, is the pressure to borrow more abroad to finance the 1988-93 Development Plan?

- The World Bank quite wisely cautions developing countries about excessive borrowings because if your borrowings are high, that is a commitment to present and future generations to repay and you can only repay out of foreign earnings; and if the terms of trade are adverse in respect of the products that the developing countries have to sell, then that can create a further problem down the road which is at the root of the debt problem. The terms of trade are adverse in respect of the returns on the primary products and other goods that are produced. Sometimes there are difficulties in getting the semi-processed or manufactured products into the market even where there may be provision that they can be admitted; the legal framework may be different from access. So the developing countries still have a major battle to fight in terms of what they receive for their primary products and then also access for the processed products. I think developing countries should not have to wait for the World Bank to tell them that this is a problem or to be warned against it. But the situation is that most of the countries have committed themselves from past years to investment programmes that required considerable foreign investment, some of that investment coming from World Bank sources, other sources, and from multilateral agencies as well. And so what the countries find themselves doing is paying back to the multilateral agencies and to the private international banks sometimes more than they are receiving. This is a dilemma that countries have to face.

In the case of Barbados, there are requirements for public sector borrowing and our requirements relate not only to the servicing of existing debt, which has been built up from past years, but also for maintaining some kind of economic infrastructure and economic activities to help service that particular debt and to maintain standards of living. As far as Barbados is concerned, most of our debts are to the multilateral agencies and those are the ones which indicate that there is very little or no rescheduling; most of the rescheduling programme has been limited to the private institutions. But we are very responsible here. If we go to the market, it’s because that is the source which we have to tap in order to deal with our problems; we seek to manage our debt and our borrowings in a responsible way.

· Sugar continues to prove uneconomic to produce. Isn’t there a case for phasing out its production in favour of non-sugar agriculture?

- Barbados believes in both the private and public sectors; we have a mixed economy and the sugar industry is largely a private sector operation. We believe that the individual agriculturalist takes the decision whether to remain in sugar or not. Our cost of production of sugar is high but we produce a good product. We do not process that product, we sell it as a raw commodity, and largely as sugar and its by-products of rum and molasses. In that regard it is not very much different from the situation in a number of developing countries where they produce the raw materials which are sold in the markets mostly of developed countries - industrialised countries - and then they are processed there and sold at much higher prices than are paid for the raw material on the grounds of the value added. That is the reality of international trade.

We believe that there is a demand for sugar, we believe that it is a good product, it is one of the most important products traded. We have been producing this particular product for centuries. We have built up a knowledge and an expertise in sugar. We believe that the plant, the grass that is the sugar cane, is now well adapted to our environment and it serves as part of the conservation efforts as far as our soils are concerned: it is, for us, a good product. We believe also that being a natural product, it has much better prospects for the nutritional good of people than some of the artificial things that are being produced. We believe that if used in moderation, as anything else should be used in moderation, there are good prospects for it and we will seek to maintain a niche for sugar both in terms of our local needs as well as in terms of maximising our earnings of foreign exchange from it.

· The Grand Anse Declaration proposes a Single Market for the Caribbean, a very laudable proposition. Is there enough political will in the region to see this come to fruition?

- I believe that if you look at our past experience, the answer would be no. We have been talking about various forms of cooperation and integration over the past three centuries, almost from the foundation of the colonies in this region. We have gone from colonial status to independence most of the countries in the Caribbean - but we still have this problem, built up over centuries, of the diversity and particularism of the different territories. In a way this is good. Each person having been nurtured in a particular territory develops strong ties and patriotism, and love of country and so on for that territory - and that is good. I believe that that should be, not a source of weakness, but a source of strength towards building the new Caribbean.

Barbados is committed, and I am certainly committed, to closer integration in the Caribbean. There are ways and means, mechanisms and devices, whereby the particular insular or territorial interest of the separate entities can be combined with the overriding economic, social, political and cultural imperative of working closely together in a world that is developing into blocs. So in terms of Barbados, and in terms of my own hopes for the Caribbean, yes I am committed towards the development of a closely linked integrated movement in the Caribbean. It is something we have to work toward. It is not going to come in 1990; it is not going to come in 1992 like Europe, but I think it will come.

· But what are precisely the briefs of the Ramphal Commission other than widespread consultations?

- It is not just widespread consultations. It is to take a very broad look at the Caribbean and where we go as a people, taking into account our past history, our resource endowments and our place in the world. In other words it is a think-tank that is drawing upon the expressions of opinion and viewpoints in all of the territories of the Caribbean, putting these together and coming up with a broad set of recommendations in terms of where the Caribbean will position itself, the kinds of challenges it will have to meet, the possibilities and the realities of the situation; it is a very important work that has to be done.

· What are Barbados’ views on the Single European Market?

- Barbados’ view is that the people of Europe have spoken and they believe that they need a Single Market. I believe the imperatives of the economic and political situation indicate that the countries of Europe, which have been in conflict with one another from time to time, should seek to develop a larger market so that economies of scale and whatever other advantages may come from them, should lead to the development and improvement of Europe as an entity. I have no quarrel with that. If the Europeans wish that for themselves and for their betterment, that is their decision. My concerns have been that, in seeking to achieve a Single Europe, the action should not be inward-looking but should be an open arrangement that would lead to the furtherance of world peace, to freer trade and to improvement in terms of economic justice. It should result in a liberal beneficent kind of situation that will give the world a lead in these areas.

· What is your assessment of cooperation between Barbados and the European Communities through the Lomonvention? What impact has it had on the development of Barbados?

- The Lomonventions, the current and the previous ones, have all been very complex documents. We believe that these are important instruments to regulate the economic and social relations between Barbados (because you asked specifically of Barbados) and Europe - and by Barbados, you can read other developing countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. I believe that those Conventions representing, as they do, the distillation of high bargaining, many late night discussions and much give and take and compromise will never satisfy all sides. From the point of view of Barbados, we would hope that some of the problems that are being encountered, from one particular Convention to another, will be ironed out over time. But, as indicated before, we are supportive of the Conventions. We believe each one of them has provided an improvement on the previous one. They are by no means near perfection as far as Barbados is concerned but I believe that they are steps in the right direction. The Lomonvention provides a framework within which economic and social development can take place.

· Apart from the trade provisions and the Sugar Protocol, what do you think of the grant element?

- Grants do not constitute a very important element of the relations among nations, and certainly in terms of Barbados the grants are minimal. It seems to be a disappearing element in the economic relations among countries, and Barbados encounters the argument that we are one of the better-placed developing countries because of our per capita income - a middle income developing country - this presents us with some difficulties. But having said that, there are some grants which are provided and we seek to make use of those grants. If we can get through the difficulties of rules and the bureaucracy and so on, that tend from time to time on both sides to prevent quick disbursement, it will be a very welcome dimension. I must say that as far as Barbados is concerned we have had a good working relationship with the European Delegation and personnel here in Barbados.

Interview by A.O.

An interview with Wesley HALL, Minister of Tourism and Sports

Tourism: “Value for money is the name of the game”

In 1988 and ‘89 Barbados had a record number of arrivals despite a drop in the number of visitors from the United States, its traditional market. Last year it earned just over one billion Barbados dollars from tourism. Since the beginning of the current season, however, there has been a significant drop in arrivals. With competition intensifying in the Caribbean, can Barbados hold its own? Cricket star Wesley Hall, Minister of Tourism and Sports, believes it can and explains how. First, “The Courier “ asked him about the situation so far in terms of arrivals and bed occupancy.

- To answer that question, we have to speak from a background where, in 1988, we had record arrivals in Barbados - long-stay arrivals, of 451 000 visitors. And in 1989, we had 465 000. So, we broke the record in 1988, and then again the following year we established another record. So we are coming over high. From November/December last year, as we predicted, we had a decline in our arrivals. This was occasioned by the fact that the Americans have been looking rather inwardly and have been trying to get people to stay at home. And, in England, for instance, we’ve had a situation where high interest rates more or less forced a lot of the people also to curtail their travelling. And therefore we had projected that we would have a decline in our winter travel. But I would say, that in December, there was a 7.5 % decrease in long-stay arrivals. We had 41 632 arrivals, and in January, we had 37 740 which was a decline of 9.4% This is the norm really in the Caribbean, with a few exceptions. Cruise ships arrivals, on the other hand, have increased: in December of 1989, there were 39 757, up 32 % and in January 1990, there were 44 130, up 34%. The increases continued in cruise ships this year, up to the end of May, when it was up 14% So, the occupancy will obviously be in a decline, and what we have tried to do, is to brace ourselves for it in the winter months. December occupancy rate, about 63.5 %; January 72.7 %; February 79.9%; March 67.6%, and April 70.9%. Admittedly, these are a bit down because we do get the bulk of our visitors coming here in the winter

· As you have indicated, your main source of tourists is the United States. The numbers are down. To what extent have these falls been compensated for by European visitors?

- We used to have about 40% of our visitors coming from America, but this has gone down to 33 %. In the past year or so, however, we have intensified our market thrust in Europe. I must say that this was occasioned by the fall of the American dollar in October 1987. We went to Scandinavia, we have now gone into France, into Switzerland and into Italy. Now, these are more or less top of the market destinations - they are the very top of the market, and they obviously come to us only in the winter, but we have been able to go into the United Kingdom, also, and since then, there has been a gradual increase out of England, particularly, and I would say Europe generally.

· Prices are much too high in Barbados. Given the competition that is bound to intensify in the Caribbean, are you not in danger of pricing yourself out of the market?

- Well, my answer to that is that Barbados compares favourably with Antigua, St Kitts, Jamaica and Bahamas. Our problem is that we import most of our foodstuffs, and the prices of consumer goods are higher than in some industrialised countries because most consumer goods are imported, as I said, and this involves transportation costs. But I think to come to this, we have a very high level of social welfare services. We have a good network of roads, we have a good telecommunications system, and the electricity works, etc. People are very comfortable here. I do agree that one tends to get that impression of high cost. What we like to do is to give people value for money, and once that is done, I think that you will find that we will be OK. Value for maney is the name of the game, and therefore we are hoping, with a good product, that we will be able to make sure that our visitors continue to come. We had the label of high prices some four or five years ago, but we favourably compare with Antigua, St Kitts, and the Bahamas, and those are some of the major Caribbean destinations.

· Do you have sometimes the impression that Barbados has probably reached its peak in tourism. Do you still have room for expansion?

- Yes, there is room for expansion. We have about 135 hotels in Barbados; a good mix - some very expensive, some inexpensive, some middle of the range and some apartment hotels. So far, we have about 7000 rooms, 14000 beds. We feel that by the year 2 000, we will increase by about another 1 500. We have not built a lot of new hotels in the last six years or so. We have been on a programme of refurbishing. You see, in Barbados, a lot of the small hotels are owned by Barbadians - about 80% of them, and our position has been to encourage them to upgrade and thus, in doing so, the Government has embarked on programmes to help them with their marketing, with their accountancy procedures and, indeed, with the infrastructure. When this is all completed, we are quite sure that the smaller hotels will become more intimate; some people love small hotels rather than the conglomerates, and we think that this good mix is something that Barbados can well afford.

· What have you done to take care of the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of tourism in Barbados?

- We are very careful with the environment. Indeed this Ministry was once in the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, but the environment has been made a specialist ministry in the Ministry of Labour. We are very conscious of the sectoral linkages, not only with the environment, but certainly with industry with agriculture; we need to grow more food local food, so that we can reduce our import bill.

We are aware that as a small country in the Caribbean we are susceptible to many of the dangers that have beset some of the other countries. We are constantly looking at soil erosion, for instance. We are very diligent when it comes to the pollution of our waters and things like that. We need to sustain the marine life around our coastal waters. As far as the cultural aspect is concerned, we have tried to diversify as much as possible. We are very keen on festivals: the Oistins Festival, the Holetown Festival, for instance. The Crop Over Festival in July has now become the most spectacular, perhaps, in the Caribbean with the exception of Trinidad’s Carnival. And I think this is actually showing in our visitor arrivals in July. It has become our best month in terms of arrivals. So that cultural tourism, as we call it, is a very important aspect of our development and we are doing all within our power to improve it.

· How confident are you of making tourism in Barbados a year-round industry?

- I think one has to look back at our history. In Barbados 30 years ago or so, we were a summer-winter destination. The affluent would come here, they would come for long stays, they would come for three or four months, and people working in the hotel industry would obviously work in the winter months and probably look for another job in the summer because hotels will close. Now, when we had the seasonality problem about three years ago, we decided to have it alleviated simply by having non-scheduled flights out of, particularly England, and indeed Europe. Our programme really is one of steady growth, not dramatic one. We just want to have a sustained, moderate growth in Barbados, on year-round tourism. That is our goal, to make sure that our workers in the hotel industry have sustained employment and to make sure that the hoteliers are able to keep their heads above water throughout the year. It is no longer a case of making enough money in the winter months to keep you going for the rest of the year. What we need to do is to have a sort of summer programme which would allow hoteliers to employ as many people as possible, to keep their doors open and then find that the gravy, as it were, comes in the winter months. We fuse tourism with sports. We feel very strongly in this country that sports will complement tourism and not compete with tourism. As a result of that position we have encouraged many sporting groups to come to Barbados. You see’ there has been a change in the behavioural pattern and wishes of tourists. Younger people are travelling - people are travelling now at a tender age and they want to do things that they do best while on holiday. And therefore we have combined the leisure aspect of tourism with the sporting aspect, and the result is that we have been able to have people in all sorts of sporting activities, in cricket, football, netball, hockey, athletics, horse-racing, cycling. This has allowed us to improve our infrastructure because there is no point in us asking someone to come here if we do not have the facilities. For instance, if we had the Cameroon football team (by the way we are very impressed with their performance at the World Cup), we would want to put them in a good stadium to play football. If we are getting cricketers, we will want them to play in happy and congenial surroundings. So, really, it was very important that we in Barbados improve our infrastructure and that is what we’ve done, and this is something for the sports-tourism fusion. It is about the only fusion that I know of in the Caribbean, but I think that more and more, other Caribbean countries will follow that trend.

We are also very receptive to cruise ships, simply because we wish to think that when someone comes here for a day on a ship and falls in love with the country, he is a potential long stay visitor in the future. We would not have to spend a lot of much needed dollars luring him or her. You know, we feel that the word of mouth is one that has done well in the past. But we feel that one has to do a lot more than that in the future. So we encourage our cruise ship passengers, who are only here for a few hours, to come for longer stays in the future.

I am cognisant of the fact that the time has come for us to look towards exchange of visits with Africa. I mean I’ve had one or two ministers from Senegal and Sierra Leone. They have been here, they are our friends and we’ve all been very happy. I think the time is now ripe, indeed very necessary for us to look at this. When one considers the European market in 1992, when that comes to fruition, I think that, we in the Caribbean, of necessity, would be stupid not to really escalate our efforts to turn to our brothers in Africa. And that is one of my prime moves within the next two or three years. That is one of the things I really want to do.

· I note you say that Barbadians already have a lot of investment in tourism in Barbados - 80 % of small hotels, quite considerable. Are foreign investors welcome here?

- Oh yes. We welcome foreign investors, we’ve had investors coming here to develop luxury hotels and sporting facilities such as golf courses, and marinas and conventions. You see, our position is simply this: we do not believe that the sea, sand, and surf are the only attributes in going into the 21st century. We believe that we must have goal policy initiatives which will improve our competitive edge and help in our development. So joint ventures with local capital are welcome. We have the Hotel Aids Act which offers incentives to local or foreign investors and this Act just provides for duty-free imports of building materials, furniture, fittings, equipment for new hotel projects and permission to operate on a ten-year tax holiday. These are incentives that we give investors coming to Barbados in the hotel industry, and we are hoping that by so doing we will continue to attract investors.

Interview by A.O.

An interview with Warwick FRANKLIN Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

Diversifying agriculture: A major problem: “ unfamiliarity with new crops”

No other sector of the Barbadian economy has been the subject of so many studies and reports in recent years as agriculture. With the sugar industry still in the doldrums, diversification is more necessary than ever before. In this interview, Warwick Franklin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries reviews the prospects.

· Minister, sugar has dominated agriculture in Barbados for a very long time. Its production continues to prove uneconomic. World prices have fallen and production in Barbados has also fallen. Isn’t there a case for phasing out its production?

- No, not at this time, and not in the foreseeable future. There is no case for phasing out the production of sugar in Barbados. My opinion is based on the following reasons: firstly, the present acreage occupied by sugar, which is within the vicinity of 30 000 acres, is quite a considerable size to take into consideration in Barbados agriculture; and to replace that with alternate crops, we have not yet found a solution, and I don’t see us finding one in the foreseeable future; secondly, from an environmental point of view, sugar is very important in that it keeps about 30 000 acres of land under cultivation. It keeps the countryside tidy (it is a very important thing for us in the tourism sector to have a tidy environment). So, that plays an important part. Another factor is that it is still a relatively big employer of labour. The statistics vary, but I would say that as many as 7 000 people are involved during the crop season. In the off-season, they would be reduced to maybe 1500 to 2 000, or thereabouts; Another factor we have to take into consideration is that the kind of soils we have in Barbados are very thin, and as a result, they are prone to erosion. And the sugar cane-crop has always been a good one from the erosion point of view: it is grass which keeps those soils firm. Further along the plus factors - because I am looking at that first before dealing with the negative factors - sugar cane is a crop that the farmers have been cultivating for many years, and in our diversification programme we have discovered that one of the difficulties is unfamiliarity with new crops. The whole idea of getting farmers to accept new technologies, for new crops, etc. and keep abreast is difficult. One of the most important plus factors is that sugar has the capacity to earn foreign exchange, since at the moment it’s the only crop with an assured market. The problem we have may be related to price, but we know that the market is assured, it is there. And one of sugar’s strong points, as a foreign exchange earner, is the percentage we retain (ie the foreign exchange earned minus the foreign exchange spent on inputs). This is higher than most of the other sectors: non-sugar agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. So, sugar will still be earning us about $ 60 million or $ 70 million per year.

These are the main points which any government has to take into consideration. We have made a deliberate policy that we would keep our sugar production level at a maximum of 90 000 tons, hoping to get these from the 30 000 acres currently under sugar cane cultivation. So, we have no plans in the immediate, or distant future and I would say, looking down the road in the next 15 or 20 years - of phasing out sugar production. I think any administration has to look at ways to minimise the losses.

· Diversification of agriculture has been a policy of the Government for a very long time. How successful have you been in this area?

- I would not use the term “ for a very long time”, because any time you are changing your agricultural pattern, changing the whole method of thought and work by people, it takes a long time. As an official policy of government, agricultural diversification, I would say, has been going for eight or nine years. (There is a contention that there has always been some diversification, but what we had was a crop-rotation system over sugar. I wouldn’t take that as a deliberate diversification policy. That was a natural consequence of having too much sugar). The diversification programme has been looked at and concentrated on, I would say, in the last seven to eight years. We have had successes. In other areas we have not been as successful as we had expected, and there are very many reasons for that which we will get around to later.

Now, what has been the diversification programme under the present Administration in the areas we are looking at? The first thing we started to look at, were the areas that earn foreign exchange. Foreign exchange is a critical component of the economy of this country. It is a necessity. The present situation is that our foreign exchange earnings from agriculture, apart from sugar, are restricted to some of the crops going out to London and Canada - i.e. some winter vegetables. They are not considerable. On the other hand, I have always viewed foreign exchange saving as an earning, because if we can produce certain crops to prevent us from having to bring them in, that, in my opinion, is a positive foreign exchange step. So our programme has been successful in terms of import substitution.

Let’s look at some of the sectors very quickly. Take food crops. In terms of root crops we continue to do reasonably well in yams and potatoes. In fact in the last couple of years, we have been exporting a fair amount. Indeed this year we even have difficulties disposing of potatoes. We have a bit in storage and we have not been able to find buyers. Not that there are no markets out there. There are. The difficulty is competition. The cost of transportation to the market place as well as the cost of production in Barbados, compared with those of other countries, mean that sometimes we get into the market place at a price that is not always competitive. And when some of the big producers come onto the market and saturate it, we have a problem. With yams, we have had difficulty in that our main yam crop, lisbon, has been plagued by disease. Our researchers are looking at other varieties, and as soon as we are satisfied that they are suitable, we will go back and step up production. There is a good export market for yams, better in my opinion than potatoes, but the market we are familiar with is that of lisbon and not having it meant we’ve had some difficulty satisfying the market.

The other crops are the routine ones of hot peppers, okras, some squash, pumpkins, in not too great quantities.

From the local market point of view we are self-suffcient in root crops, and we are very much self-sufficient in vegetables. Over the last couple of years our production of vegetables has gone up considerably. Our farmers are turning more and more to drip-irrigation and, as a result, there is no longer seasonality in vegetable production as we had before. The main vegetable crops are: carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce. Occasionally, we have some vegetables coming in from our CARICOM partners under the CARICOM treaty arrangement.

With regard to meat and our proteins, we are doing fairly well. We are still not self-sufficient in beef, we still bring in quite a bit, but our beef production has been going up. With the advent of the new abattoir, the feasibility study of which we have just completed, and as part of the diversification programme, we are encouraging livestock rearing. I believe, objectively, that over the next five to ten years, we might be able to reach about 40 or 50 % of our requirements. The same, I would say about lamb, the production of which is also increasing. We are self-sufficient in poultry. As a matter of fact last year we produced, I think nearly I million kilograms of poultry meat. And what you must know too (a fact that is not generally known), is that Barbadians are the biggest eaters of poultry in the world, about 100 lbs of poultry meat per person, per year, as against the Americans who come second with 67 lbs.

The other major crop we are looking at, as a foreign exchange earner, although there has been a little bit of controversy about it, is Sea Island Cotton. In the last couple of years, we have been trying to bring cotton back as one of our leading export crops. The reason for that is simply that, in cotton, we have a product of excellent quality known to be one of the best in the world. Now, this is purely from the diversification point of view, but whenever we assess agriculture in Barbados, we come up against the problem of our cost of labour which is relatively high. When you compare cost of labour with those of Latin America and maybe some of the African countries, our cost of labour is high. So, it means that whatever we do, we have to have crops that are of relatively higher value. We have had up until now a preferential market for our cotton lint in Japan, but we have to go beyond the lint stage because our farmers are already feeling a little reluctant to plant because of the low returns from raw cotton.

· Talking about farmers, you are having shortages of labour. What is the attitude of Bajans generally to agriculture?

- This is difficult. One of the big problems in Barbados’ agriculture is the ownership aspect of the land. Unlike some of the other West Indian countries, Barbados never had a lot of Crown lands. The Government does have some now, but they are as a result of acquisition. It is interesting to note that the first set of lands the Government acquired were as a direct result of the crisis in the sugar industry, going as far back as the ‘60s. There were large tracts of land available and the Government came in and acquired them. So those are the only lands that the Government has. The other lands are owned by private enterprises which were derived from the plantation system mostly. One of the facts you have to face as a planner in Barbados is that 90% of the land for agricultural purposes is still in the hands of about 5 % of the population. Statistics vary. We have from 10000 to 15 000 peasant farmers. But who is a peasant farmer in Barbados? People with half an acre of land, a quarter of an acre of land, mostly as a result of the same plantation system where for subsistence they were given small plots of land to cultivate? So we really don’t have at this moment in time, a farming community as such. We have more or less an owner-labour relationship community in agriculture. As a result of that and it being mainly sugar cane, a crop that is closely connected here with colonialism, slavery etc. it is not usually the first call of the young people. We have, though, seen some of the younger people, those who have been able to have access to land, trying to make something out of it.

· What is the level of mechanisation now?

- The level of mechanisation in the sugar industry is quite high. I think about 70% of the reaping, is being done mechanically this year. The stories coming out are conflicting, though. I have been told that the cost of reaping by the mechanical system is not as low as we were hoping. When compared with manual labour, there is not much gap. But it would have to continue that way, because the labour shortage is continuing.

Interview by A.O.

An Interview with Evelyn GREAVES, Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce

Trading with the outside world

Barbados adheres to the principle of “ Free Trade “. With a very limited domestic market, a successful diversification of the economy will depend a great deal on the development of a vibrant export sector. But are the outside markets sufficiently open to Barbadian goods? In this written interview, Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce, Evelyn Greaves, explores the prospects.

· The collapse of the Jamaican, and Trinidad and Tobago’s markets in the early ‘80s adversely affected Barbados’ exports. How has trade with the two countries recovered following the stabilisation measures undertaken by them in recent years?

- If by stabilisation measures you mean fiscal, monetary and other measures (action) taken by these two governments to improve their foreign reserves and also increase productivity as well as to restructure their economies or sectors thereof, then the following comments can be made:

It is a fact that Barbados’ export trade to the region, and more specifically to Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, has been seriously affected from the early 1980s, owing to the severe effects of the 1981-83 world economic crisis which persisted in the region long after it had ended in the developed countries. But this was a factor not peculiar to Barbados, for intra-regional trade during the period 1983-87 declined significantly.

With respect to our trade with Jamaica, the serious foreign exchange problems which this country experienced in early 1983 and onwards forced it to operate import licensing and foreign exchange regimes which had a negative impact on intra-regional trade. Barbados’ export trade was severely affected as can been seen from an examination of the trade data. For example, Barbados’ domestic exports to Jamaica fell from BDS$ 18.4 million in 1983 to some BDS$6.8 million by the end of 1987.

We had a similar experience with Trinidad and Tobago starting from late 1983 when that country began to experience severe “ haemorrhaging “ of their foreign reserves owing to a decline in the price of petroleum, their major earner of foreign exchange. Trinidad and Tobago responded through the introduction of a comprehensive import licensing and foreign exchange control regime, thus severely restricting access to its market. And despite efforts at both the bilateral and regional level to persuade Trinidad and Tobago to relax the regime in favour of CARICOM trade, access to that market remained extremely restricted up to the end of 1988. Barbados’ domestic exports to that country dropped from BDS$ 79.4 million in 1983 to some BDS$ 16 million in 1987.

Despite the decisions taken at a Special Council meeting of Regional Trade Ministers in 1984, as well as the conclusions of the Heads of Government Conference in Nassau of the same year, no improvement in intra-regional trade was achieved until 1988 when it increased by some 18%. The increase was 27.5% in 1989. This performance during those two years was primarily due to a definite recommitment on the part of regional governments to the improvement of intra-regional trade.

Because of this commitment Barbados was able to achieve an increase in its domestic export trade to the region by 33.5% in 1988 and 40.4% in 1989. Our exports to Jamaica for that period increased by 15% in 1988 and doubled in 1989. With respect to Trinidad and Tobago, domestic exports during the period increased by 33.5% and 68.4% respectively.

Insecticides, chemicals, stationery, building materials, foods items and garments constituted our main export items to these countries.

· You have been quoted as saying that it was time the regional market was considered as domestic. Does this means that protectionism within CARICOM is a thing of the past?

- Let me state up front that I do not know of any economic grouping, including the European Common Market, where some form of protectionism does not exist. Indeed, I believe that “Europe 19927’ is an admission of this fact.

What I mean is that in terms of how we in CARICOM relate to the outside world our actions and decisions should be informed by the understanding that we are one market. Indeed this is what the Common Market is all about. Let me give you an example of what I mean. When we offer protection to products, say T-shirts or Shirt-jac suits, we are also granting this same protection in our market to similar products coming from any member state of CARICOM. Even in the operation of our fiscal incentives regime when we refer to an approved enterprise producing for the domestic market we mean the entire regional market - not just the Barbados market.

Of course in any economic grouping such as ours or even when one is participating in some special trading arrangement which is designed for the mutual benefit of the participants, there is always provision for safeguards. Articles 28 and 29 of the Annex to the Treaty of Chaguaramas are indicative of this fact. They provide for the imposition of some restrictions on intra-regional trade due to balance of payments problems and difficulties experienced by particular industries in any member state.

· An emerging idea from Trinidad and Tobago is for the introduction of counter trade within CARICOM. Do you subscribe to that?

- It depends on what Trinidad and Tobago perceives as “counter trade”. As I understand it, counter trade, in its simplest form, is actual barter - exchanging a good for another good or goods. No money is involved. It can become complex whereby a number of mechanisms/instruments are utilised in the facilitation of trade.

If the first concept is being used here I believe that we have passed the stage where we would have to resort to barter within CARICOM. You will recall that I referred earlier to the period 1983-88 when, owing to the serious shortage of foreign reserves within the region, intra-regional trade was severely hampered. This was compounded by the fact that the mechanism which we had put in place in the late 1970s to help us to cope with this problem had to be suspended in early 1983. I mean the Caribbean Multilateral Clearing Facility. But we weathered the storm during those most difficult years. And this was primarily due to the active and close co-operation of the Central Banks and Monetary Authorities within the region.

I believe that what we should be doing is actively encouraging and promoting this collaborative effort.

If by counter trade one is thinking of the utilisation or employment of various kinds of mechanisms for facilitating trade, other than barter, then I would not be averse to considering these proposals. Of course, they would have to be sound and effective proposals.

· Barbados has turned increasingly to markets outside CARICOM, particularly the US and Canada. How far have you penetrated those markets?

- First, in response to your statement - not your question - I would like to point out that given the size of the regional market (some five and a half million people), it is imperative for any country in the Caribbean that bases its economic development partly on international trade, to look to the extra-regional market. Therefore, Barbados should not be considered as an exception. At the same time, it should not be construed that we are ignoring the importance of the regional market.

Barbado’s total trade, 1980-1989 (millions of dollars) %

Now to your question. Despite the existence of preferential trading arrangements with Canada and United States, Barbados cannot be said to have been that successful in the penetration of these markets. There are several reasons for this:

- We have a narrow resource base from which to develop a wide range of goods at competitive prices for those markets;

- We depend heavily on foreign investment to enable us to capitalise on some of the opportunities offered under the above trading arrangements. But it must be recognised that we are in competition with developed as well as developing countries in attracting such investment;

- Despite the access which we are supposed to be enjoying under these preferential trading arrangements, it ought to be pointed out that what is actually lacking is effective access to the markets of these countries. In general, we do not have the capability to capitalise on the opportunities offered under these arrangements. I believe that most of these arrangements should have been accompanied by a well-structured package of technical assistance to their beneficiaries.

· Recently the Canadian Prime Minister announced a widening of the range of goods that can enter Canada duty free under the CARIBCAN Agreement. What effect will this have on Barbados’s exports to that country?

- I think that question can best be answered by examining the items that were originally excluded from CARIBCAN. These included textiles and clothing, leather products, footwear, handbags and luggage. Prime Minister Mulroney’s recent announcements as far as new duty-free items are concerned, included leather luggage and certain vegetable fibre products (still to be defined).

As you will note it does not include textiles and clothing which are of major interest to Barbados, and indeed, the entire Caribbean, since we do have some expertise and the installed capacity to produce and export these products.

To answer your question directly, I do not consider that the recent inclusions will have any effect on our export trade to Canada - certainly not in the short or medium term. But what I want to emphasise, however, is the point I made earlier with respect to the need for these preferential trading arrangements to be accompanied by an appropriate programme of technical assistance. The programme should include assistance such as marketing and product development. CARIBCAN is no exception.

· How crucial to manufacturing in Barbados is the question of management?

- Management - and I mean effective management - is a prerequisite for successful manufacturing in any country. Barbados is no exception. We have recognised that in certain areas of industry in Barbados this question needs to be seriously addressed. The Government is committed to assisting the manufacturing sector in overcoming any difficulties which it faces. This includes improving the management capability of the sector.

Interview by A.O.

Barbados-EEC cooperation

Barbados has always been one of the most active members of the ACP Group of States, and has played a key role during the negotiations leading up to the signature of the successive Lomonventions.

Given the country’s relatively small population of some 250 000 people, and the relatively high GDP per capita (US $ 5 635 in 1989) the total of Lom, II and III indicative programmes of ECU 11.36m is considerable. In addition, the European Investment Bank has pursued an active investment programme in Barbados, with approved EIB loans totalling ECU 21.2m since Lom. Furthermore, Barbados has derived substantial benefits from the Caribbean Regional Programme (totalling ECU 160 m under Lom, II and III) both through CARICOM and other regional institutions in the fields of trade, tourism, human resources, agriculture and transport. Barbados also continues to benefit from the Sugar Protocol (quota allocation of 50 312 tonnes) and the Rum Protocol.

At the end of 1989, financing decisions had been taken for 62% of the total financial allocation under Lom, II and III.

The chart on the right shows the sectoral allocation of EDF funds since Lom. The bulk of EDF resources has been devoted to agriculture and fisheries, with significant amounts also going to trade development, tourism, training, and health.

Agriculture and fisheries

Without doubt one of the most successful projects has been the Oistins Fisheries Project financed under Lom with a total EDF contribution of ECU 950 000. The project, officially opened in 1983, enabled the construction of a fishing terminal at the historic town of Oistins, on the south-west coast. Building on the traditional fishing industry the project assists fishermen and vendors by providing a small fishing harbour, including jetty, slipway, maintenance yard and fuel facilities, and simple modular stalls, with annexed vegetable stalls, directly accessible to the buying public. Since the commissioning of the new Oistins complex the annual tonnage of fish landed has doubled.

Sugar still dominates agriculture in Barbados, and remains a valuable source of employment as well as foreign exchange. However, efforts are also underway to encourage diversification, and these have received EDF support.

In the hills of the Scotland District in north-eastern Barbados a major land conservation and agricultural development project was launched in 1982, with an approved LomI Indicative Programme allocation of ECU I 225 000. Extensive conservation work, including terracing, contouring, dam and weir construction and tree planting was carried out to conserve both soil and water in this rugged and relatively undeveloped part of Barbados. Agricultural activities include fruit tree development, tree planting, livestock and irrigation projects. Feeder roads have opened up major parts of the district to local farmers, with the aim of encouraging increased agricultural production and improved marketing. Though slow in implementation this project achieved satisfactory results.

Lom-III Indicative Programmes: Sectoral allocations

The National Fruit Orchard Project (ECU 550 000) was also financed from the LomI Indicative Programme. Demonstration plots were established at Codrington Agricultural Station for mangoes, grapefruit, avocados and pawpaws. The project aimed to establish or rehabilitate up to 50 hectares of fruit orchard on selected farms. Assistance to farmers is provided in the form of short and medium term credit, administered through the Barbados National Bank.

Trade development

As a small country, Barbados is highly dependent on external trade. Since Lom the EDF has provided considerable support for export development, mainly through the Barbados Export Promotion Corporation (BEPC). Under Lom and II a total of ECU 439 000 was provided in three separate activities aimed at expanding and improving export promotion programmes, as well as improving the overall structure of the BEPC. Particular emphasis was placed on technical assistance to the garment industry.

Under LomII a total of ECU 1 845000 is being provided for export promotion. A significant part of these funds is being devoted to a project to assist with the marketing of Barbados rum in Europe. Barbados rum has been identified as a product with considerable potential, and the initial results of the marketing assistance are promising. Also, the improvements in the access for rum under LomV should help to ensure that Barbados rum exports reach their full potential. Assistance is also being given in the area of design. A design centre is being set up, initially within the BEPC. The aims are to increase awareness of the importance of design of goods, and of packaging, to train young designers, and to provide a much needed service to the manufacturing sector.

The potential of the manufacturing sector, which employs 12 000 people, is being assessed and recommendations are being made for the future development of the sector in a study which got underway at the beginning of 1990. The study is being undertaken by the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP).


Tourism is the most important sector in the Barbados economy. Receipts from the 500 000 annual visitors provide the main source of foreign exchange and contribute to the relatively high standard of living. The EDF has previously given support to the Board of Tourism in its marketing efforts, and has each year helped to finance participation in the major tourism fairs around the world. Currently a project for the construction of a badly needed new hotel training school is being appraised for possible finance from LomII resources.


The EDF has financed multiannual training programmes under Lom, II and III. The development of human resources is critical to the development of Barbados. Although training facilities are well developed, including the Community College and the University of the West Indies, specialised training may require a period of study abroad. Once the LomII programme of scholarships is implemented, over 70 students will have received EDF awards.


In the health sector the European Community financed under Lom, the Speightstown Health Centre (now renamed the Maurice Byer Polyclinic). Completed in 1978 at a cost of ECU 370 000, the Centre contains a small clinic (8 beds), a laboratory, a dispensary and facilities for public health personnel. The project provides both preventive and curative health care and dental facilities for the population of the northern part of Barbados, thus reducing pressure at the referral hospital in Bridgetown.

EIB interventions

Besides the projects summarised above, Barbados has benefited from EEC financial allocations outside the Indicative Programmes. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has lent over ECU 21 m to Barbados since Lom. Loans have been provided to the Barbados Development Bank for a total of ECU 10.5 m. These funds have been used for on-lending to small and medium-sized companies in the industrial and tourism sectors. The Barbados Light and Power Company received a loan of ECU 5 m under Lom for the expansion of electricity generating and distribution facilities. In addition the Barbados Port Authority received a loan of ECU 5.6 m for the improvement and expansion of the Authority’s container handling and transshipping capabilities.

EEC-Barbados cooperation-breakdown of allocations by sector and in ECU

Regional cooperation

Barbados is an active member of CARICOM and benefits to a great degree from the EEC’s regional programmes for the Caribbean. Because of its central position and the excellent communication links, a number of regional organisations are based in Barbados. Under Lom and II important projects were implemented by the Caribbean Food Corporation (CFC), the Caribbean Agricultural Trading Company (CATCO), and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO). In the areas of transport, LlAT, the regional air carrier, and WISCO, the West Indies Shipping Organisation, also benefitted.

Some of the more recent regional projects include:

CARICOM regional trade development programme

CARICOM has set up an office in Bridgetown, with assistance from the Government of Barbados, to coordinate trade development activities in the region. The EDF is supporting a three-year programme designed to encourage free trade, promote the use of regional goods, particularly through improved standards, and encourage extra-regional trade.

Caribbean Examinations Council

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is being helped by a grant of ECU 750 000 to upgrade its data processing capability.

University of the West Indies

Two major projects funded under LomII are currently underway at the Cave Hill, Barbados campus, as well as at the campuses in Trinidad and Jamaica. The first is a programme of support for infrastructure and equipment (ECU 6.2 m). The Cave Hill component comprises the expansion of the Learning Resource Centre and the establishment of a Central Analytical Laboratory. The second comprises the construction of student accommodation (ECU 16 m). Accommodation for 180 students will be provided at the Cave Hill campus.

Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)

CARDI has received support under Lom, II and III totalling over ECU 11 m. The current LomII project included the expansion of CARDI’s existing tissue culture laboratory facilities in Barbados. The main focus of the project will be the propagation of high-yielding yam planting material for use by farmers in Barbados and the OECS.

William MANNA,
Delegation of the European Communities, in Bridgetown, Barbados

Key facts on Barbados


Area and Geography:

430 sq km. Of coral origin. The most easterly of the Caribbean islands.

Brief history:

settled by the British in 1627, remained a British colony until 1966 when it became independent.


250 000, half of which live in or around Bridgetown; rate of growth 0.6%; overall density approximately 600 persons per sq km; literacy rate 98 %.




Multiparty democracy, the second oldest Parliament outside of England. Parliament is made up of an elected Lower House of 27 persons and Senate of 21 appointed persons. The Head of State is the Queen represented by a Governor-General

Mainstay of the


tourism, sugar and manufacturing.


Barbados dollar (BD$ = US 50 cents.


Mainly sugar, molasses and syrup, rum, food and beverages, clothing, chemicals.


Manufactured goods, machines and equipment.

Main trading


CARICOM, United States, Canada and The European Community (particularly the UK and West Germany).

Balance of

visible trade (1989):

- BD $ 979.9 million.

Overall balance

of payments (1989):

- BD $ 70 million.

Gross Domestic Product: BD$ 2.9 billion; rate of growth (1989) 3.5%.

GDP per capita (1989):

BD $ 11 270 or US $ 5 636.

Foreign debt:

BD $ 817.1 m (as at end December 1989). Total foreign debt servicing in 1989, BD $ 210.9 m.

Barbados then, and Barbados now


Now that Barbados is celebrating its 350th anniversary of continuous parliamentary government, I cannot resist the temptation to look at my native land from two different perspectives. The first is that of an angry emigrant who left over 30 years ago, determined never to return as a settled inhabitant there. The second perspective is that of an older, and I dare say, wiser, individual.

I was quite disillusioned with Bardados when I first left it, in 1956, to attend the University College of the West Indies at Mona. Since then, I have frequently returned for brief periods and have grown increasingly more respectful of that small island. I left angrily at the age of 20 because, in my judgement, Barbados had made too little social progress for 100 years. Slavery, it is true, had been abolished in 1834 and the apprenticeship system had been discarded in 1838. Blacks had won a certain degree of personal freedom, but they were still shackled by a host of petty conventions.

To understand this aspect of Bardados in the 1950s, one must remember that the country was the product of a sad colonial past. A small percentage of the population owned most of the colony’s wealth, while more than 90 % of the people laboured for very little in return. Economic deprivation was accompanied by social stigma and political oppression. Blacks as a rule had no social standing, no economic power, and no political rights. This was the situation as late as 1950.

I very deeply resented that situation. It was compounded even further by a certain Victorian kind of class consciousness which bred snobbery of the worst sort, and a distinctive brand of racism which left Blacks at the base of the racial pyramid and placed browns and mulattoes somewhere in the middle, but far below the whites and the nearly whites. Social climbers often tried to distance themselves from their own roots and a wide range of barriers were set up between individuals, families and groups. You had to know your place in that complicated class structure and often could depend only on school certificates to inch forward slowly up the social ladder.

The social structure was so rigid in those days, that connections were more important than brains, and shades of colour could transcend academic worth. My elder brother (Basil) and I had no illusion about our prospects. We were both at Combermere School in the early 1950s, but we knew that, because of our colour and our background, our only hope of economic salvation was a job in the civil service, or as a teacher, beginning at $40 a month.

The situation was so comical that my younger brother (Harry), who was a curious kind of “tumbric” colour had a better chance. He, in fact, commenced his career as a messenger with Robert Thom at the age of fourteen and almost immediately began to make a name for himself in the Bridgetown business world without any certificates whatever. It is true that he subsequently upgraded his qualifications and his skills, while demonstrating an acumen that belied his tender age, but his running start in the field of business was based, to a large extent, on the shade of his complexion. By 1967, still only 30 years old, Harry had already rescued Gulstone and Perkins from the inefficiency of their previous managers. Basil, at 33, had moved in the meantime at a snail’s pace up the lower rungs of the civil service.

This was Barbados then: a poor colony, too British for its own good, and dominated by Victorian values which even the British had already abandoned. Our school system, for instance was still patterned on nineteenth-century Eton and Winchester and the emphasis was still then very much on the four Cs: Cricket, Christianity, Classics and the Cane. So we learnt an enormous amount of unnecessary Latin and Greek, and no natural sciences at all. We learnt a good deal of British and European history and no West Indian sociology at all. We knew some European geography, and could recite all the major European capitals, but we knew very little about Barbados and less about the Caribbean.

Everyone recognised a sharp distinction between the first grade secondary schools and the others, and most families who considered themselves important sent their children to Harrison College, the Lodge School, or Queen’s College as a matter of course. No one instilled in us any pride in our own past or heritage. We were brainwashed into detaching ourselves from our African roots and all things African were regarded in a negative light. Africa was a continent despised, like the vast majority of her millions of children.

This was Barbados then. And I ran away from it as soon as I could. But I left while the island was beginning to change. The real revolution even though I could not appreciate it at the time - had already begun, with the rise (during the late 1930s) of the Barbados Labour Party and the Barbados Workers’ Union. These had become two very powerful instruments by 1950. They forced the minority of whites to revise the constitution and establish a system of universal adult suffrage.

The immediate result was a black majority in the House of Assembly by 1955. A legislature which for more than 300 years had catered to the whims of a small white elite was finally representative of the real Barbadians. Two Labour parties shortly emerged, both led by black individuals preaching similar gospels, and the old Progresive Conservative Party, the last political bastion of Barbadian whites, was stifled almost at once. The followers of Grantley Adams and Errol Barrow completely dominated Barbadian politics from the mid-fifties onwards.

Within less than a decade after the democratisation of the franchise in 1953, all the whites had been swept from political power. The repercussions were enormous. Not only did the complexion of Barbadian politics change, but laws against racial discrimination were introduced at long last, and private clubs that had once been exclusively white were now compelled to accept non-white members.

Amazingly, in a society with about five or six percent white, all the secondary school headmasters, with the exception of Hayford Skeete at the Boys’ Foundation School, had been non-black up to my own time at Combermere.

The two Labour Party governments quickly put that matter right. Stanton Gittens became the first black headmaster of Combermere School in 1961, and Albert Williams became the first non-white headmaster of Harrison College in 1965. By 1970, without exception, all the headmasters at every level in Barbados were black, and so too were the vast majority of headmistresses. Few white teachers were left in any Barbadian school by 1975. Similarly, Barbadians had adopted the habit of appointing black cricket and soccer captains.

This revolution was not confined to sports and education. Consider the clergy, for intance. Up to 1950, the majority of Barbadian priests had been white or nearly-white. By 1970, that was no longer the case. Black Anglican leaders, like Dean Harold Crichlow and Canon Seon Goodridge had emerged. Up to 1950, the only non-white head of a civil service department in Barbados (so far as I could ascertain) was Robert Clarke, the Post Master General. By 1970, it was difficult to find any whites at all occupying such positions of authority.

This, then, was Barbados in transition. Within two short decades, the old vanilla guard had been supplanted by the chocolates, and even the strawberries found themselves in trouble. Political, administrative, clerical, educational, and social power had come to the Barbadian majority at long last.

The question of colour gradually ceased to be important, and even the commercial houses had to recognise that they were likely to be better served by educated blacks than by untrained whites. Hence the frantic search for local expertise which began during the 1960s. The political leaders encouraged this trend by insisting that white foreigners should not be brought in to undertake professional or administrative tasks that could be performed by qualified natives. Parent firms in Britain and elsewhere thus had to engage Barbadian managers, directors, accountants and technicians to run their Barbadian branches.

When I went back home to Barbados for Christmas 1962, I found that it was not only the schools which were coming under the control of blacks, but the hospital staff had already begun to change its complexion. The old UCWI was producing new black doctors almost at the rate of a factory, and the Barbadian natives were beginning to return from Mona literally in droves. So medicine, too, was gradually Barbadianised at long last. By Christmas 1971, when I made yet another pilgrimage to the island, young black doctors, like Dennis Bailey, Belfield Brathwaite, Michael Clarke, Charlie Harris, MacMilla Hodge, Edson Inniss, Noriss Procope, Alfred Ralston, and Robert Thomas had come steadily to the forefront of medicine in Barbados.

My point about all this is not only to demonstrate what political power can accomplish, but to emphasise that such changes cannot take place in an economic vacuum. I stress this because even on my last return to Barbados during the winter of 1988, some of the new men were still complaining about economic inequality. They were still arguing that the Barbadian economy was dominated by the old planter class and that this could be proven by any study of the modern directorates in Bridgetown. It was this conviction which persuaded a number of blacks to make their celebrated (but unsuccessful) bid for membership of the Board of Directors of the Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society in December 1988.

I do not deny that a good deal of Barbadian money is still white, but I am happy to report that the complaints about white economic monopoly are exaggerated. In fact, after the restructuring of Barbadian politics, several white families preferred to emigrate rather than live in a true Barbadian democracy. Some of them sold their estates and took their money with them to Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. The business world of Bridgetown is thus no longer dominated by the planter class. Indeed, the old plantations have almost completely been broken up; and new business concerns have emerged. Most of these new business are largely run by the new men themselves, and even the old ones have been compelled by recent governments to employ local experts instead of foreigners.

Local lawyers and accountants have found many opportunities where none had existed in the 1940s. The young radical intellectuals at Cave Hill, who have struck so many telling and timely blows against the outrageous Anglo-Saxon mythology on which my own generation was weaned, are absolutely right when they advocate greater economic power for black Barbadians; but I do think they are quite wrong when they cavalierly dismiss the bulk of new black directors and administrators quite simply as “lackeys.”

The emergence of a powerful black elite is everywhere manifest, and most obviously so in the field of housing. Spacious mansions have been constructed all over the island and the vast majority of them are being occupied by blacks. When I first left Barbados 33 years ago, the bulk of the homes in such areas as Belleville and Fontabelle belonged to whites and mulattoes. The newer residential areas around Cave Hill, Clermont, Oxnards, and Stanmore are now occupied by the new black bourgeoisie.

I am not suggesting that the wealth of Barbados has now been evenly divided. There are still some rich white families, and there are still many poor black homes. Radicals and social democrats, like my good friend Dr. Hilary Beckles, must still continue their important quest for economic and social justice. But the situation is incalculably healthier in the 1980s than it had been during my childhood.

The root of our economic problem lies partly in our geography. Barbados is not blessed with abundant mineral and metal resources. Our soil is sufficiently fertile to allow us to cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but our domestic market is too small and we are unable to compete on the international stage with the large North American producers.

It is also unfortunately the case that Barbados happens to be in an American monetary orbit and must therefore manifest all the symptoms of a severe cold whenever the New York market sneezes. That, as is well-known however, is by no means peculiar to Barbados. Some so-called developing countries are at the mercy of the IMF and are even more unhappy victims of economic imperialism. Even so-called developed-countries are experiencing economic stress. No less unfortunate is the fact that Barbados produces more trained professionals than can be gainfully employed at home. Thousands of graduates leave secondary schools every year and cannot all of them be properly placed in a very limited job market. That is, of couse, a real pity - especially since so many modern countries have cultivated the annoying habit of restricting immigration.

What worries me more, however, than the racial or the economic situation now is the strictly social one. The gap between rich and poor blacks in Barbados has widened. There is a powerful upper-middle class black clique which seems to be running everything in the island. So the traditional habit of using (and sometimes abusing) the old-boy network has come into play. The Mona Men, as I have called them, dominate everything from the banks and businesses to the churches and the schools. They have the capacity, therefore, to do considerable harm. I am, of course, one of these Mona Men myself, and cannot escape an uneasy feeling when I consider how privileged a person I suddenly become from the time I enter the Grantley Adams airport, where I am often recognised even by the younger immigration and customs officers..

My hope is that such power will be wielded humanely. I know that it once was. During the 1950s and 1960s, most of the emerging civil servants and teachers in Barbados had come from modest origins. They could therefore identify most easily with the poor and the destitute. This made the bureaucracy in Barbados at that time much friendlier and less impersonal than the bureaucracy with which I myself have had to deal in countries like Jamaica, Canada, and England. In those days, you see, the Bajan bourgeoisie, was mainly first-generation bourgeois and could not, as they say, “play great. “

Amazingly enough, when I got to Mona in 1956, I discovered that almost all the Bajans there were very much in the same boat as myself. There were a few exceptions, but most of us were desperately poor. We had no money and no influential parents, and often no working parents either. We had all arisen through the scholarship system and this had been our only salvation. We could relate to poverty in ways in which our Trinidadian and Jamaican colleagues at Mona could never have done. Now, the problem is: how will our own children relate to their less fortunate countrymen? I am much bothered by that.

My concern, however, is tempered by the knowledge that, generally speaking, Barbadians have always responded intelligently to practical difficulties. We are not, relatively speaking, a wealthy community; and yet we have consistently handled our budgets much more skilfully than others in the Caribbean.

It is by researching these kinds of questions recently that I am finally becoming less alienated from my native land. I feel a lot more proud today of being Barbadian than I felt 30 years ago. Barbados now is so much better than Barbados then. Successive cabinets, since the introduction of ministerial government in 1954, have pursued a wide range of social and economic policies which have left the country with fairly efficient schools and hospitals, good roads and new highways, an excellent water supply, light and power systems which are the most reliable in the Caribbean, and a communications network which is the envy of the Western hemisphere.

This improvement no doubt springs from the creative uses to which political independence has just been put. And it is especially in its treatment of the important question of education that Barbados has set a sterling example to the rest of the world.

We place more emphasis on education than anyone else. We have been devoting consistently more than 22% of our gross national revenues to the upkeep of schools, colleges, and libraries. This is a miracle. The Americans, for example, often spend less than 5% on education. The result is that we have more schools per square mile, and more teachers per capita, than any other society of which I am personally aware. At the most conservative of estimates, at least some 5 000 private and public teachers operate in a community of just over 250 000. We have also updated our curricula and have come to pay more attention to such disciplines as agriculture, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

This magnificent obsession with education has paid off handsomely in the quality of our House of Assembly and our Senate. It has been reflected, too, in the astuteness of our electorate. The result is that there has been much less corruption and misgovernment in our recent history than almost anywhere else. Our elections are conducted with less violence than elsewhere and our electorate is one of the best informed in the world. The common people take a keen interest in public meetings and political decisions and have a much sounder grasp of Barbadian political realities than is the norm for modern proletariats.

It is the basic commonsense of the electorate which saves Barbados from the kind of political ruin which has befallen most independent countries. The Barbadian voters will simply not permit a ruling party, for example, to become too smug and arrogant. Hence comfortable majorities have suddenly disappeared during general elections, especially after the incumbents have already enjoyed two consecutive terms. Ever since the Barrow administration was allowed a third “ innings” in 1971, the popular wisdom has been that governments do their best work in about 10 years before becoming stale and complacent. There is no place in Barbadian politics for any monopoly.

Making miraculous use of sugar, molasses, rum, cigarettes, beer, tourism and minimal manufacturing, Barbados has increased its annual revenues from about $44 million to more than $700 million in just over 20 years of political independence. It has spent these monies so frugally, that the interest on its debt charges has never risen to the point where the repayment of loans has interfered with the proper management of the government’s budget.

And yet, since 1966, we have built modern hospitals, schools, government offices, roads, a cultural centre, and even a National Bank. None of the other West Indian nations, so far as I know, can boast this kind of performance in public works. A succesion of Labour governments from both sides of the fence have encouraged poultry and dairy farming and the gradual broadening of the agricultural and industrial sectors of the economy. Our record is so good that Barbados can seldom qualify for some of the external aid offered occasionally by the “developed” countries.

If this account appears too rosy at a time when my namesake, the prime minister, is under all kinds of fire for his monetary and economic policies, those partisans who complain about governmental failure and mismanagement should pay a visit, or a series of brief visits, to other “ developing” nations. It is not even necessary to travel as far afield as Africa and Asia. In almost every neighbouring Caribbean and Latin American country, where public buildings are in disrepair, roads are impassable, water is scarce, telephones seldom work, electricity and gas outages are frequent, the currency has been devalued repeatedly, and all kinds of important commodities are in short supply. Well-to-do persons from other West Indian islands have thus adopted the policy of flying frequently to Barbados to purchase even food and clothing.

Such conditions have done serious violence to the tourist industry in neighbouring countries. Barbados, on the other hand, has been able to retain its appeal as a tourist attraction. In fact, by developing a vibrant Crop Over festival during the past 10 years or so, the island has been able to draw thousands of visitors in July and August. A community so staid as to have been the laughing-stock of its neighbours, as late as 1966, has gradually cultivated part of the Trinidadian calypso and carnival tradition. In the mid- 1950s I myself would have regarded such a development as totally impossible. But young cultural leaders, like Elton Mottley and Trevor Marshall, have performed a minor miracle here. Bajan Yankees and Bajan Canucks have begun to plan their summer itineraries around Crop Over, and the tradition has already become so firmly established that it would now be extremely difficult to destroy it.

Crop Over has helped to make Barbadians more culturally alert. We are now more consciously aiming at composing our own lyrics, writing our own ballads, forming our own bands, and producing our own records. We have become far more interested in drama and theatre than we were during the 1950s.

There are more Barbadian artists, musicians, and writers than there were in my youth. Such gifted teachers as Karl Broodhagen and James Millington, who first emerged in the 1940s, have already left an indelible imprint on Barbadian art and music. And journals such as the New Bajan and Banja are doing much to encourage the growth of Barbadian literature. The establishment recently of a National Cultural Foundation was also a most fortunate stroke.

There is another positive feature of recent Barbadian social history with which, as a firm supporter of the female liberation movement, I am extremely delighted. It is the gradual, albeit grudging, abandonment of male chauvinism which so completely dominated the island’s ethos up to the time of my departure.

In 1956, Barbados still maintained a very sharp distinction between the sexes. Salary scales were different in most sectors of the public service and women were not expected to hold any positions of importance. Middle class wives were actually discouraged from working, and maternity leave was beyond our contemplation. Even the public schools were divided according to gender. After the publication of the Jacobs Commission Report in 1961, however, the government made a concerted effort to destroy the gender barriers in the teaching profession. Female salaries were brought into line with those of the men and co-education replaced the older Victorian norm. As it was impossible to treat female teachers preferentially, women steadily emerged to play a more prominent role in most areas of Barbadian life. Some of them have entered politics, medicine, law, and business. They have not yet won full equality, but they have certainly made huge strides in the past three decades.

What then can I say in conclusion? I may still not go back to live permanently in Barbados, having settled comfortably in Canada for almost 30 years. I have dug very deep roots here and my children are native Canadians. But I would certainly not be as unhappy in 1989 as I would have been in 1959 had I been deported and ordered back home.

I recognise, however, that we still have difficulties in Barbados. The unemployment rate, for example, is much too high. Our welfare system is not as sophisticated as the North American, some of our young adults are becoming too addicted to illegal drugs, and our health care system is still hamstrung by lack of funds. but these are not peculiarly Barbadian problems; most modern societies are currently grappling with similar difficulties. The Barbadian record is such, however, that we can rest assured that if any country can solve such problems, that country will be Barbados.



When the present King of Swaziland’s father, King Sobhuza II, died in 1982, he had occupied the throne for no less than 61 years and was, indeed, the longest-serving monarch in the world by far at the time of his death. The fact of his long reign is no mere historical fait divers, however, for Sobhuza, both before and after the country’s independence in 1968, enjoyed not only immense prestige but also great personal power. He had led Swaziland, as very much more than a figurehead, for more than six decades and his influence on the shape of the country today is immeasurable. First and foremost, he provided stability, through the years of British administration, up to and beyond independence, and beyond his death - by ensuring that the principle of a ruling hereditary monarchy remained an acceptable one in a world in which it was not simply fast becoming a rarity but had actually already become one. Secondly, the King was a great traditionalist, and not only ensured - by revoking the independence Constitution - that the Swazi concept of government remained highly traditional, but also, in a more subtle way, guaranteed a continuing feeling of comfortableness with traditional custom that is also becoming rarity. In present-day Swaziland, “modern” or “Western” is not necessarily better, it is merely different. This maintenance of stability and of traditional values was made vastly easier by one vital characteristic: the almost total absence in Swaziland of ethnic, religious or linguistic divisions.

It is truism, and every article or tourist guide on Swaziland will remark upon it, but this juxtaposition of modern and traditional is what distinguishes the country from much of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, to some extent the Swazi position is the reverse of the norm: much of the continent has espoused “ modern “ forms of government, while economies have remained strongly traditional; Swaziland’s government, on the other hand, is only partially modern in concept, but its economy is becoming increasingly oriented towards the modern sector, with some of its manufacturing or processing industries attaining a remarkable level of sophistication.

But first, a little background.

Swaziland is the smallest of the countries of Southern Africa, and is almost entirely surrounded by the Transvaal and Natal provinces of the Republic of South Africa. It also has a 100-kilometre border with Mozambique. Maputo, the Mozambican capital, lies some 80 kilometres to the north-east of the Swazi border, with Johannesburg 350 kilometres to the west. The country divides into four distinct natural regions, three horizontal strips of roughly equivalent size and a fourth, much smaller strip, the Lubombo plateau. To the west is the Highveld, mountainous and near temperate, with an average altitude of 1300 metres. It is known in Siswati, the national language, as Nkhangala (the treeless region) but it in fact now contains one of the largest man-made forests in the world. The west-central strip, the rolling Middleveld, is lower-lying and sub-tropical, and it is here that most of the country’s foodcrops and some cash crops are grown. The Lowveld, to the east, is hotter, flatter and drier and, because it is subject to periodical drought, has become a region for the cultivation of irrigated crops, sugar cane in particular. Finally, there is the Lubombo plateau, similar in climate to the Middleveld, with good grazing and some good arable land.

The word “Swazi” means “the people of Mswati”, the mid-19th century king whose name has been adopted by the present King. Mswati l’s ascendants came from the clan of the Nkosi Dlamini, and if a considerable number of people in positions of authority today are called Dlamini, including the present Prime Minister and five former Prime Ministers, then it is at least partly because the population is small and the royal family large. Swazi kings are traditionally polygamous, and their wives are never Dlaminis, and the absence of intermarriage, together with the fact that the successor to the throne must himself be unmarried (and therefore, preferably, young), combine to ensure healthy numbers of royal descendants.

The total population of Swaziland is put at around 720 000, some 30 000 of whom are temporary absentees working in the farms and mines “ over the border “, as the Republic of South Africa is invariably referred to. This number is balanced by the refugees from Mozambique and, latterly, following recent disturbances, from the South African homelands, and though the numbers are relatively small in comparison with, say, Malawi, they add pressure on a country which, as it is, has one of the highest population growth rates in the world.

Population growth: worrying implications

Swaziland’s economy has been growing at an average of 5 % per annum for the past four years, but growth has only just kept ahead of the increase in the population. In 1986, at the time of the last census, it was estimated that 47.3 % of the population was under 15, a statistic which means that the need to create employment, as well as the demands on the country’s health and education systems, will be enormous challenges in the not-so-distant future. In spite of the fact that the Ministry of Education is allotted 28% of the Government’s recurrent budget, its resources are still too limited to allow for the building of new primary schools. Efforts are concentrated on the construction of secondary schools, with the building of primary schools left to parents, often with outside help. Funding for teachers’ houses is also seriously lacking, but government is able only to pay for teachers’ salaries, and recognisedly modest salaries at that. Parents contribute towards the cost of schooling, including the payment of building fees, but, though education is certainly prized, the financial burden can be very onerous indeed. For rural families, it would almost certainly represent the largest single item of expenditure and might absorb as much as 80% of a household’s cash income. Some parents, particularly those who do not rely on the land for a living, consciously limit the size of their families so as to be able to continue educating their children. More often, however, particularly in rural areas where children help with cultivation or herding (and this represents nearly 80 % of the country), parents have to withdraw children from school because the total costs of fees, books, uniforms, bus fares and so on simply become too high.

Losses to “ greener pastures “

The Minister of Education, Chief Sipho Shongwe, sees this lack of funds as the overwhelming problem facing Swaziland’s education sector today. He would like, he says, to see universal primary education, but the money is not there. The inability to retain teachers is a further problem: turnover is high, because the salaries are low, and housing often inadequate and particularly because of the proximity of “ greener pastures “ where teachers can get double or more the levels government can afford.

This drain on Swazi brainpower affects all levels of the teaching profession, including university education. Professor Makhubu, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Swaziland, lost professors to Transkei and Bophuthatswana last year. The solution, she says, its of course to pay competitive salaries, but it is a solution which is unworkable at present.

Another characteristic of the Swazi education system which Minister Shongwe sees as a disadvantage has been its emphasis in the past on academic achievement as opposed to practical, vocational achievement, geared to the country’s manpower requirements. “We have not only to, educate “, he stressed, “ but also to meet specific targets, and we have not, in the past, met the expectations of the private sector”. It is not that vocational training establishments do not exist indeed there are some excellent ones but that the numbers of graduates produced are insufficient to meet the needs of a growing and modernising economy. Electricians, carpenters, welders and mechanics are all in great demand, as are accountants, statisticians, specialised lawyers, bookkeepers and the like. Professor Makhubu recognises that she has to be “...a developmentalist, clued up on how the country is going”, in order to shape the University according to the needs of the country, and to this end she plans to create a Business Studies faculty at UNISWA, within the next two years, to respond to the undoubted demand of the private sector. Fortunately Swazi/South African wage differentials are far less pronounced in the private sector than in the public sector, so that the danger of loss of these kinds of skills to other countries in the region is less great.

Approaching the “ mini-boo m “ with caution

The Swazi economy is, for a number of reasons, enjoying what the Minister of Finance describes as a “mini-boom”. Export revenue levels are high, due largely to steady production and healthy prices for the traditional exports, sugar and woodpulp, and soft-drink concentrates (coca cola) have entered the market as a major export earner. A new development is the emergence of manufacturing as the dominant sector of the economy, now accounting for 26% of GDP. Despite the substantial increase in foreign exchange reserves the boom is being approached with characteristic prudence, born perhaps of long experience of influential factors beyond the country’s control.

One such factor is the lilangeni, the national currency unit which though officially de-linked from the South African rand, in fact remains at parity with it. The effects of this are various, amongst which that Swaziland “ imports “ South Africa’s inflation (now running at between 12-14% per annum) and that the country’s debt service payments have increased. Elliot Bhembe, Acting Principal Secretary at the Department of Economic Planning, admits that it’s difficult to plan a nation’s economy when its currency is linked to that of a neighbour. But there is general acceptance, even so, that the system has worked well for Swaziland. For one thing, it has avoided considerable complications for trade. More than 80 % of Swaziland’s imports come from fellow Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries - RSA, Botswana and Lesotho - and a large percentage of the country’s exports (35-40%) go to South Africa. It is also attractive to tourists, particularly South African tourists, who still constitute the largest group, and, most importantly, it has meant that the lilangeni is, to all intents and purposes, a convertible currency. Actual de-linking could become desirable, nevertheless, if the investment climate in South Africa was to substantially improve.

The backbone of Swaziland’s economy is, and always has been, agriculture. It accounts for some 40% of exports, 23% of GDP and is by far the largest employer. The country’s agricultural activities take two distinct forms. Firstly, there is traditional, subsistence farming, whereby over 40 000 farmers are supported on smallholdings of less than three hectares on Swazi Nation Land. Here, rainfed food crops are grown for family consumption, with perhaps a little maize or cotton grown for sale. (Swazi Nation Land, which makes up over half the country’s total land surface, is owned by the monarch and held in trust for the nation). Secondly, on the remainder of the rural land, are farms owned by individuals or companies and growing sugar cane, pineapples, citrus fruits, cotton or tobacco. Here, the average holding is 800 hectares (though the largest sugar estate is more than 10 times this) and, while land use is varied, the farms tend to be market-oriented and highly mechanised.

Cattle-breeding and herding is another major agricultural activity: the country has a near 1:1 ratio of cattle to inhabitants - one of the highest ratios in Africa. Only a small percentage of the sector is run along commercial lines, however. As in much of Africa, cattle constitute capital; quantity tends to take precedence over quality, and slaughter only to take place on ceremonial occasions, or for ritual purposes or for family consumption. The pattern is changing only slowly. At the 600 or so diptanks around the country, through which herds have to pass weekly, the word is spread that there is money to be made out of cattle farming... but that herds have to be younger and heavier. The country’s abattoir, now upgraded and under new management, could slaughter many more than the present 80 cattle a day, and there is, after all, a market for the country’s beef in the form of the EEC’s 3 360 tons per annum - a target not yet being reached.

Sugar: major returns for government

The sugar industry is the country’s largest single employer and although Swaziland’s three estates and mills, Mhlume, Simunye and Ubombo, are all situated in the Lowveld, cutters are signed on for work from throughout the country and brought to the estates for the duration of the harvesting season. Labour is so plentiful and so relatively inexpensive that Simunye, the newest of the estates, having been 60 % mechanised in its first production year, has in fact now phased out mechanical harvesting altogether. Production topped 500 000 tonnes in 1986, but has averaged 450 000 tonnes or so for the past three years, and though further expansion of the estates would be perfectly feasible, the quota marketing system rules it out. The lion’s share of Swaziland’s production goes to the EEC, part of which - 117 845 tonnes of which, to be precise - at a guaranteed price under the terms of the Sugar Protocol. Canada is also a major buyer. The estates, like many of Swaziland’s large-scale agricultural and manufacturing enterprises, particularly the highly sophisticated ones, tend to be managed and part-owned by expatriate individuals or companies, but with the Swazi development corporation, Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, as a major shareholder. Ubombo Ranches, for example, is 60 % owned by Lonrho Corporation and 40 % by Tibiyo, meaning that the nation benefits far more by the industry than by employment opportunities alone. Earnings could be improved slightly, nevertheless, if the rail link to Maputo harbour could again be normalised. Last year, because of poor security and unsatisfactory rolling stock, the industry as a whole lost 10 000 tonnes of sugar between Swaziland and the Mozambican terminal, and 50 % of production now takes the much longer route to Durban, involving substantially higher transportation costs.

The same is true for what is now Swaziland’s second largest industry and third biggest export earner, the timber and woodpulp industry, whose transport costs rose by 18 % in 1989.

Forestry: a development success

Forests cover about 7 % of the country’s total land area, and are an unusual feature in Southern Africa. The reason is that they are largely man-made and are, in fact, amongst the largest man-made forests in the world.

Swaziland’s forestry industry is the stuff of which development dreams are made. Less than 50 years ago the hills of the Highveld and parts of the Middleveld offered little but poor grazing to the Nguni cattle and goats of the local inhabitants. In 1947, Peak Timbers, one of Swaziland’s oldest commercial companies, began producing sawn timber and in 1949 the Commonwealth Development Corporation, seeing the potential for forestry, embarked on a 50-million tree-planting programme. Peak Timbers is now a major producer of logs and sawn timber and The Usutu Pulp Company, established in 1961, aims to produce 180000 tonnes of pulp a year - nearly 20 % of total world requirements at its mill on the Usutu River.

Local resources as basis for manufacture

There are spin-offs in the form of manufacturing, too. Pine shelves are being produced for export by Swazi Timber Products, for example, a fast-expanding company on the main industrial estate outside Manzini. In three years, annual turnover has risen from E. 240 000 to E. 1 200 000, and the workforce has increased from 80 to 250, with more to be taken on this year. The company is of just the kind that the Minister for Commerce Industry and Tourism, Senator Douglas Ntiwane, “ loves most “. It is export-oriented, heavily labour intensive and local resource-based, with no less than 98 % of its raw materials of Swazi origin.

S.I.D.C., the national industrial development company, has had considerable success in establishing such enterprises in the past four to five years. After a slowish start, some 200 firms are now operating on the Matsapha estate, ranging from small workshops to huge factories employing up to a thousand workers. Growth has been so rapid in the late 1980s that existing infrastructure on the estate needs not only repair but also considerable expansion. South African-owned firms predominate, but there are also a number of major Swazi-owned enterprises.

A healthy investment climate and genuine market advantages

Like its competitors in the region, Swaziland offers the usual package of favourable leasing terms, tax holidays and other advantages to investors, but, in the Minister’s words, it also offers the “true face of a genuinely independent country”, and one known for its political stability. It has good communications, good labour relations and good market access, including access to the European Community. The country is landlocked, it is true, but Maputo (though admittedly a difficult route at present) is only 160 kilometres away, and road and rail links exist to the ports of Richards Bay and Durban in South Africa. Such port access is vital, because most of the industries at Matsapha are export-oriented. Indeed, with so small a domestic market, they need to be. NATEX, the ultra-modern textile corporation, which uses Swazi cotton, would take only four days’ production to clothe the entire nation! Its Managing Director, Peter Jones, is certain that investing in Swaziland makes good sense, particularly as opposed to investing in South Africa, and this from a number of points of view. In the first place, while there is great resistance to goods from South Africa in, for example, Scandinavia, West Germany and the United States, Swaziland is very much an acceptable source. (It has indeed benefited a certain amount from recent U.S. disinvestment in South Africa). In the second place, labour costs are not only very much lower, but labour relations are also very much smoother. Swaziland is entirely free of the tribally-based industrial disputes that affect parts of South Africa, and a firm like his, which operates 24 hours a day, 351 days a year, would not expect to lose any production at all through industrial action, he says, which in South Africa would be almost unthinkable. “Moreover”, he adds, “the government is very supportive. You are made to feel that they want you and that they need you “.

Lack of credit hampers expansion

Not all Swaziland’s manufacturing is as large or technologically advanced as the big boys at Matsapha. On the outskirts of the capital, Mbabane, is the SEDCO (Swaziland Enterprise Development Company) estate, which houses a number of small and medium-sized enterprises. Some of the businessmen or women who are established here, such as Mike and Thoko Mmema, who now have 23 women working for them, making school uniforms, have found good market niches, but find the estate too out-of-the-way. Others find the rent high, and a common problem - which causes many of the smaller businesses to stagnate unnecessarily - is the lack of credit. With out collateral, they are unable to obtain bank loans, and government credit schemes on soft terms are not yet available.

Infrastructure suffering from success

If the economy is working well, it is partly due to Swaziland’s relatively well-functioning transport and communications system, and if that system is now coming under increasing strain, it is because... the economy is working well. Traffic volumes, especially on the road between the two main towns, Mbabane and Manzini, which passes through Matsapha, have built up considerably in the past two or three years. Some stretches are carrying up to 14000 vehicles a day, and the congestion is such that the road now badly needs upgrading, probably in the form of widening.

Swaziland has more vehicles per inhabitant by far than any other SADCC country, but, in addition to its domestic traffic, it is a transit state for goods travelling in both north-south and east-west directions. Rehabilitation of the Matsapha-Goba railway line, to and from the Mozambique border, is under study and would link up with a similar project on the Mozambican side of the line. Infrastructure and communications, because of their role in attracting investment and in keeping the economy growing, are given high priority by government and get a handsome share of the budget. But major capital expenditure almost always requires some outside finance. The African Development Bank is a major funder of road projects, and the World Bank has been substantially involved in the past, though is less so now. The Works and Communications Ministry is hoping that the EEC will provide funds for the rehabilitation of the Matsapha-Mozambique line, as well as for the Mbabane-Manzini road upgrading, and that it will extend its assistance to the development of the airport.

Passenger traffic in Matsapha, the main airport, now stands at 80 000 or so annually, and has increased fourfold in the past 20 years. Long gone are the days when, if the air traffic controller was momentarily absent, a total ing - perhaps a cleaner - would answer overflying aircraft with a few set phrases, learnt parrot fashion. Nowadays there is a modern control tower, with sophisticated radio and navigational equipment, and expert controllers. The runway, 2600 metres long, is designed for the 737s typically used in regional traffic, but it can take larger cargo carriers. Freight volumes are low, however, because handling facilities are inadequate and apron space limited. Preliminary discussions are under way regarding the financing of further work on the airport (enlarging the apron and the terminal buildings) from LomV national and regional funds. If all goes according to plan, the improved facilities should be in place by 1994.

Tourism: steady growth

One sector that will benefit from the improvements will be tourism, because more apron space will mean more flights being able to be scheduled. Not that Swaziland is ever likely to become a one-stop destination for European or other long-distance tourists, but its attraction as part of a Southern African tour (combined with the nearby Kruger Park) is already well established. It holds attractions for the up-market traveller, including comfort, peacefulness and golf, and for the adventure-holidayer, and offers ample accommodation for both categories, and for many categories in between. Casinos exist, but the image of Swaziland as a refuge for afficinados of all that was outlawed in South Africa is a thing of the past. As would be expected, most of its visitors are from South Africa. The Sun Group, South African-owned, but in which Tibiyo has a major shareholding, runs three large hotels in the Ezulwini Valley, making up three-quarters of the country’s total hotel accommodation. Over 1200 people are employed in the Suns? and probably 2000 or so work in hotels and guest houses throughout the country. Many more are partly or indirectly supported in ancilliary services or in the handicrafts industry, for example, which produces attractive and good qualitity baskets, candles, pottery, glassware and much else for tourists, as well as for export. Government supports the development of the industry, even if it has not always been as dynamic as the private sector would have liked. It has just agreed, for example, to issue visas to visitors from EEC countries not enjoying visa exemption at border posts, free of charge, which will reduce delays and encourage greater numbers of arrivals. Another initiative which Minister Ntiwane hopes to bring into being, is a “ tourist village”, a representation of a traditional Swazi homestead at which visitors could not only see and understand the daily pattern of rural life, but could also witness, year round, the highly spectacular traditional dances such as sibhaca, umbholoho and the umhlanga (Reed Dance) that are now to be seen, in their traditional context, perhaps only once a year.

There is a paragraph in this magazine’s last country report on Swaziland, written in 1985, which now makes rather interesting reading. It concerns the country’s (then) future economic outlook, and reads as follows: “ The Department of Economic Planning and Statistics... forecasts real growth to rise by only 0.8% in the period 1984-90, because the factors that enabled earlier growth are unlikely to come into play”. Happily, this forecast (based largely on projected developments in the sugar, woodpulp and fertiliser industries) has turned out to be quite inaccurate, and proves what the Department nowadays readily admits: that there is high risk in even medium-term economic forecasting at a time, and in a place, where coefficients can change so radically, so swiftly.

Possibly this has never been so true for Swaziland as now. Political, economic and social change in South Africa, such as that now gathering momentum, is bound to have major repercussions on Swaziland’s economy. So, too, could change for the better in Mozambique’s economy, which was once a powerful force in the region, since greater regional security would ease the refugee problem and would bring obvious benefits to trade through improved transport links. But on whether the changes would benefit Swaziland in both the short and the long term, opinion is divided. Investment opportunities might well be lost to South Africa, and Swaziland’s customs revenues would decrease, but it might also be the case that the country would be carried along in the general upturn that the region’s economy would be likely to experience. Whatever the outcome, these changes are still a few years off, and the Swaziland government has time to refine and bring into sharper focus its overall development strategy. To continue improving the investment climate will surely be a pillar of that strategy, and one which carries few risks: it will pay dividends in both the “ worst case “ and the “best case” scenarios.

Swazis tend to refer to South Africa as “ greener pastures “, particularly in the context of higher wages for certain trades and professions. But the term, in any other context, is surely debatable. Swaziland after all, has a stable and widely supported form of government, a people undivided by language or ethnic origin, a fertile soil or, at least, a not infertile one-and, of late, a prospering economy too. Its pastures, both literally and figuratively, are at present pretty green themselves.


Interview with Prime Minister Obed DIamin on prospects for the 1990s

Obed Mfanyana Dlamini was appointed by King Mswati III to be Swaziland’s sixth Prime Minister in July 1989. Born in 1937 in the Shiselweni district, he held posts in teaching and banking before his appointment, as well as various positions of leadership in the country’s trade union movement, culminating in his election as General Secretary of the Swaziland Federation of Trades Unions.

As Prime Minister, Mr Dlamini heads the modern, as opposed to traditional, arm of Swaziland’s dualistic governmental system, that comprising a cabinet and a bicameral parliament, very much along the lines of the Westminster model, though with important distinctions. One of these distinctions resides in the prerogative of the Head of State, the King, to appoint the Prime Minister (as indeed all other ministers, and a proportion of both Houses of Parliament). Another consists of the tinkhundla election process, to which Prime Minister Dlamini refers below, by which individuals are chosen at tinkhundla (traditional meeting places of the people) to form an Electoral College which votes in members of the House of Assembly. At the same time, the monarchy is advised by a council of elders, the Council of State or liqoqo.

It was on the question of Swaziland’s concept of government, which is unusual in Africa, that The Courier first addressed Mr Dlamini.

· Swaziland’s system of government is authentically African and has certainly provided for political stability. Has a different system ever been considered?

- Our present system of government, which we call the tinkhundla system, is relatively new. It was introduced in October 1978, just over 11 years ago, following the repeal in 1973 of the Independence Constitution which was tailored on the Westminster model.

So far, no major changes have been made to the tinkhundla system of government. However, there is already a growing public feeling that this system is now in need of some modifications here and there so as to make it more responsive to the political aspirations of the people of Swaziland.

We are currently looking into all the possibilities and we sincerely hope that it will soon be possible to effect the suggested modifications.

· As a small nation, the fortunes of your much larger neighbours are obviously of great significance. What have been the effects on Swaziland of South Africa’s recent degree of “glasnost “ and what, in your view, would be the effects on Swaziland of peace in Mozambique?

The recent political events in South Africa are extremely encouraging. It would seem that a new era of peace is dawning on the entire Southern African region.

As you are no doubt aware, political violence in South Africa in the past used to spill over onto Swaziland and many Swazi nationals were killed or injured in the process.

Naturally, Swaziland is very pleased to see peace initiatives in South Africa replacing violence. We pray and hope that the current peace initiatives will succeed.

We are also hopeful that the end of apartheid in South Africa will bring about the lifting of sanctions against that country, the return of investments to South Africa and the end of South Africa’s isolation by the international community.

This, I hope, will bring about an appreciation in the value of the South African rend to which our own currency, the lilageni, is linked.

This would, in turn, ease the current burden of expensive imports on Swaziland resulting from the present unfavourable exchange rate for hard currency.

Equally, Swaziland would happily welcome the advent of peace in Mozambique. As you are no doubt aware, Swaziland uses the Maputo port facilities for its major exports, e.g. sugar. The fighting in Mozambique has been very disruptive to Swaziland’s rail links with Maputo.

· The refugee situation, described three or four years ago as having reached “ crisis proportions “ is now very much worse. How are you coping?

- So far, Swaziland has been fortunate in receiving substantial amounts of financial assistance from the international community. For instance, the EEC has just given us an amount of ECU 747665 to finance the expansion of facilities at one of the refugee settlements in Swaziland in order to cater for the accommodation and schooling needs of the growing refugee population.

However, unless the present rate of new arrivals is considerably reduced, the crisis will certainly get out of control. Hence the urgency for finding an early peaceful solution to the war in Mozambique so that the refugees from that country could return home.

· Swaziland’s own population is also expanding rapidly, such that the present high unemployment levels will rise unless steps are taken. Are attempts being made to reduce population growth as well as to create jobs?

- The rapidly increasing population and the growing problem of unemployment are, at present, the two major difficulties facing the country

In an attempt to address these problems, government has launched an extensive family planning compaign aimed at encouraging Swazi nationals to both space and limit the number of births per family.

We have also continued to create an investment climate in order to encourage investors to come to invest in our country, and are trying to diversify our economy in order to encourage a greater degree of participation by Swazis in the development process of their country.

· What is Swaziland’s economic strategy for the 1990s?

- The main objective of our economic policy is to improve the welfare of our citizens through the creation of productive job opportunities.

Our record on this during the 1980s was very mixed. The early part of the decade was characterised by slow growth rates. The middle years required a major programme of rehabilitiation from the serious effects of cyclone Domoina which struck Swaziland in 1984. The past two years, however, have seen significant growth, with increases in real GDP per capita. In each year from 1986 we have had an increase in foreign exchange reserves, fuelled by rapid increases in exports, notably sugar, wood products and manufacturing. Manufacturing is particularly encouraging as it indicates that the economy is diversifying. Indeed, manufacturing now contributes as much as agriculture to GDP, although it should be remembered that much of our industrial activity is based on the processing of our agricultural produce.

However, we are aware that the increase in investment that enabled this growth is partly fortuitous. Many investors have tried to distance themselves from the Republic of South Africa while gaining access to the EEC market and the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa.

These circumstances could change quite rapidly, especially if there is a peaceful transition to a non-racial democracy in South Africa. This is something we all hope for but it is outside our control and it must be recognised that such an event could place great strains on our economy.

Thus, the largest single impact on our economic future is something that we are unable to plan for and incorporate in our economic strategies for the 1990s. What we can do, however, is to ensure that Swaziland remains as attractive an investment area as possible. This involves, of course, offering some incentives, such as tax holidays and soon.

· Despite the considerable advantages it offers to investors, the manufacturing sector seems not to have expanded greatly. Is this in fact the case, and if so why? Has Swaziland been sufficiently actively “sold” as a prime location?

Firstly, the statement that the manufacturing sector “ seems not to have expanded greatly”, is not quite correct. In Swaziland, the manufacturing sector presently accounts for 25 % of GDP. This proves that it has experienced a substantial growth over the past few years. Indeed, in his 1990 budget speech, the Minister for Finance stated that, since the 1985 fiscal year, there has been an upswing in investment in manufacturing enterprises and growth of this sector is estimated to be about 10 % per annum over the last five years.

Agro-industries, including wood-processing, account for about 75 % of our industrial production. Commercial agro-processing involves sugar, wood-pulp, citrus, pineapples, cotton, maize and meat. And in addition to food processing, the manufacturing sector includes bricks, textiles and beverages, and much else.

As far as “selling” Swaziland is concerned, substantial efforts have been made to promote the country regionally and internationally. Indeed, a number of investment promotion seminar and/or conferences have been conducted in South Africa, Botswana, Canada and the U.S.A. The last seminar conducted has been recently held in Washington D.C. and was sponsored by USAID. It was directed by a highly-powered delegation which included the Ministers of Finance and Commerce and Industry as well as the Governor of the Central Bank and a number of prominent businessmen from Swaziland. The Head of State, His Majesty King Mswati III, has graciously accepted to become the country’s ambassador at the highest level for promoting Swaziland to investors worldwide.

Government has also established the Swaziland Industrial Development Company as the major vehicle for promoting new investment. Specifically, SIDC acts as the country’s first point of contact for prospective investors by offering them both financial and advisory services.

In order to encourage potential investors to come here, SIDC has decided in principle to establish investment bureaus in the European Economic Community and North America. Furthermore, I would add that on the occasion of an EEC-funded seminar in Lisbon in May 1990, Swaziland representatives made special promotion efforts to attract Portuguese investors to the country.

· Tourism has suffered in the past from competition from South Africa’s homelands. What can Swaziland offer the tourist that the homelands can’t?

- There was indeed a small decline in the volume of tourist flows from South Africa between 1975 and 1980 following the establishment of the Sun City resort in Bophuthatswana. However, as Swaziland is not wholly dependent upon South African tourists, the decline was small and was made up mainly of gamblers who were attracted to the new gambling facilities nearby in Bophuthatswana.

Following this decline, we stepped up our marketing campaigns in Western Europe and the decline was soon reversed.

Swaziland has a unique tourism package to offer. It has a monarchical institution which has long disappeared in most countries in Africa, and the rich and colourful cultural heritage of the Swazi people, their friendliness and hospitality are unrivalled tourist attractions.

The incwala and the reed dance, for example, which are held annually, are some of the old traditional values of this nation which are very popular with tourists. The incwala is a festive occasion for “ tasting crops of the new season” and is essentially a kingship ceremony which is held in either December or January each year. The umhlanga (“ reed dance “) is usually held at the end of August or early September of each year. This is a special ceremony for Swazi maidens who have attained marriageable age. The maidens gather at the Queen Mother’s residence, then set out to cut the reeds which end up being used as windbreaks for the Queen Mother’s residences. The process may take up to a week, culminating in two main days of singing and dancing for the public.

There are other minor traditional dances which also form an integral part of Swazi life. These include the sibhaca dance, with its stirring rhythms, dramatic movements and exciting colour which has gained it much popularity among our visitors and the traditional wedding which is almost as colourful as the incwala ceremony. These ceremonies have no fixed period.

Apart from being rich in traditions, the country has a super tourism structure that can suit any tourist from any part of the globe - reasonable hotel accommodation, adequate roads, sports facilities including the popular golf and the car rallies, wildlife, handicrafts and casinos - all within easy reach in this tiny kingdom.

And, above all, the stability of our political system, the favourable climate and the scenic landscape all combine to offer the visitor a glimpse of the imagined “ Garden of Eden”.

So as to facilitate the flow of tourists into the country, government now grants free entry visas to all European Community nationals. Other nationals who require visas to enter the kingdom can obtain them at all ports of entry to Swaziland.

· SADCC is celebrating 10 years of existence this year. How do you rate its achievements?

- I rate SADCC’S achievements in the past ten years very highly. We have, in the past decade, achieved a great deal in the area of transport, for example.

The successful rehabilitation of the Beira railway line and the port facilities at Beira are some of the most important achievements of our organisation.

Another important achievement has been made in food security. We now have well documented food requiremeets, consumption patterns and well researched food production strategies.

· What do you see, finally, as the principal benefit to Swaziland of being a signatory to the Lomonvention?

- Swaziland derives considerable benefits from the Lomonvention. I can mention for instance, the benefit of selling a predetermined quantity of its sugar at favourable and prearranged prices to EEC countries.

Interview by M.v.d.V.



Head of State:

His Majesty King Mswati III.

Head of Government:

The Rt. Hon. Obed Mfanyana Dlamini, M.P.

Form of government:

Monarchy, with democratic features designed to accord with Swazi tradition and custom


6 September 1968.


17 364 km².


Mbabane (pop. 38000).


Siswati and English.


681 059 (1986) growth rate: 3.4% urbanised: 29.7%


Lilangeni (plural Emalangeni).



Life expectancy:

55 years.

Infant mortality:

118 per 1 000.

Main crops:

sugar, cotton, citrus, pineapples, maize, tobacco.

Mineral potential:

coal, diamonds, asbestos, gold.

GDP by sector

origin (1988):

manufacturing (23.8 %); agriculture (23.3 %); government services(17.8%); wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurants (10.3%); transport and communications (6%).


sugar (35 %); woodpulp (18%); soft drink concentrates, canned fruit, citrus, meat, coal, asbestos, textile yarn


machinery and transport equipment (24%); minerals, fuels and lubricants (15%); food and live animals (10%); manufactures (13 %); chemicals and chemical products (7%)

Visible trade balance:

(E. ‘000) 202801 (1988).

Rate of inflation:

13% (1989).

Main trading partners:


Common Customs Area (i.e. Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa) 80%


Common Customs Area, United Kingdom

Swaziland’s coat-of-arms, depicting the Ngwenyama (Lion), representing the King, and the Indlovukati (She-Elephant) representing the Queen Mother. The motto Siyinqaba means “ We are a fortress “

Swaziland and the European Community partners in cooperation

by Kieran O’CUNEEN

Like many of the former British colonies in Africa, cooperation between Swaziland and the Community began in 1975, when an international cooperation agreement - the Lomonvention - was signed in the Togolese capital, LomThis, first, Lomonvention linked 46 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific with the then nine EEC Member States and was designed to last five years, until February 1980. At the time, the EEC Delegation dealing with projects and programmes in Swaziland was located in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, with a suboffice in the Swazi capital, Mbabane. A fully-fledged Delegation was opened in Mbabane in 1982.

Trade and aid were at the heart of the first Lomonvention, and of the three subsequent Conventions (Lom V was signed in December 1989) and considerable assistance to the social and economic development of the Kingdom of Swaziland has beer’ given in the years since 1975. To date, the total value of that assistance amounts to over 640 million Emalangeni at current exchange rates.


The Convention provides that the ACP countries, including Swaziland, have duty-free access to the 325-million EEC consumer market for virtually all their exports. This means, for example, that Swaziland pays no duty at all on its exports of tinned pineapples or pinewood furniture to the EEC, whereas neighbouring South Africa would have to pay a 20 % duty on the same products.

Sugar and beef

Levies are still payable, however, on a limited number of agricultural products exported by ACP countries to the EEC, particularly, of course, those which compete with Europe’s own produce. However, under the terms of protocols to the Convention, agreed quotas of sugar and beef, for example, can enter the Community duty-free (or near duty-free) and at guaranteed prices. Thus 116 000 tonnes of Swazi sugar enters the Community each year free of duty and at a price which for many years has been well above the world market price. Similarly, a quota of 3 363 tonnes of Swazi beef may enter the Community market almost levy-free (with a 90% rebate) at prices which, again, are generally well above those obtainable elsewhere. However, whereas the sugar quota is met, Swaziland’s beef quota (which calls for stringent slaughter, chilling and deboning regulations to be observed) is not yet filled, though the recent rehabilitation of the Swazi Meat Industries’ abattoir should make this possible in future. As a rough indication, the special arrangements for Swazi sugar and beef could yield up to E 50m each year more than the Kingdom would get by selling the same products at other markets.


Incorporated in the Convention is the Stabilisation of Export Earnings (Stabex) scheme, designed to assist countries when export revenues fall due to a drop in price, or production, or both.

Swaziland has benefited considerably from the Stabex system: under Lom, the country received three grants amounting to ECU 13 m (E 40 m) to help offset the effects of diminishing export revenues from iron ore mining. During the course of LomI (1980-85) the system operated again in Swaziland’s favour, this time for cotton production, badly hit by drought. Two grants, totalling ECU 8 m (E 24 m), were given to compensate for loss of earnings. Swaziland’s timber exports are also covered by the scheme.

Rise in exports

More generally, Swazi exports to the Community have grown remarkably in recent years: in 1981, for example, they stood at ECU 64.8 m; by 1985 they had reached a value of ECU 105 m and, in 1986, rose to ECU 123.8 m. The Community now accounts for almost half of Swaziland’s exports, compared with only 20% at the beginning of the 1980s. The country’s overall trade surplus with the Community rose from ECU 50.3 m in 1981 to ECU 112 m in 1986, representing an increase of 122 % over a period of five years.

Swaziland’s indicative programmes under Lom, II and III


On the aid side, Swaziland has received, from national and regional programmes, a total of ECU 73.5 m, or the equivalent at current exchange rates of E220m. Half this amount went to human resource development and training, which has a vital role to play in Swaziland’s progress towards self-reliance. The biggest beneficiary of aid in this field has been the University of Swaziland, with E 37 m provided in grants for the building of hostels, an assembly hall, the building and equipping of science laboratories, agricultural education units and for technical assistance, and it is expected that the University will benefit further under the programme for LomV which is shortly to be agreed with Government.

Other major training projects include the Ngwane Teachers Training College and the Vocational and Commercial Training College (VOCTIM) at Matsapha. The Teachers Training College has so far received assistance to the tune of some E 15 m, both in the form of buildings (classrooms and student and teacher accommodation) and in the form of scholarships for staff to upgrade their qualifications. The College, which has been in existence since 1982, has received funding under all three Conventions, and Government has expressed interest in further assistance from the EEC for, inter alia, the stocking and extension of the library. Some 120 students qualify each year from Ngwane, and, given the College’s high reputation, and the current shortage of primary teachers, all who graduate are sure to find jobs.

VOCTIM, located near the country’s manufacturing heartland at Matsapha, at present trains some 140 students in a variety of vocational skills, including building and construction, business administration, automotive and electrical engineering and woodwork. The Institute, which has just emerged from an independent assessment with flying colours, has an excellent reputation and, here again, graduates are in heavy demand in Swaziland’s expanding and modernising economy. To date, the Community has contributed some E 13 m to establishing and running the Institute.

Further contributions in the field of human resource development and training, at regional level, have been in the form of specialised training for Swaziland Railways, Customs, Posts and Telecommunications and the Institute for Development Management.

Rural development

The second priority area for EEC assistance in Swaziland has been rural development, for which a total of E 60m has been allocated over the years. Projects have included a Smallholder Support Programme (E 18 m), the Simunye Irrigation Project (E 10m). Rural Water Supply and Rural Dams projects (E 12 m each), and a foot-and-mouth disease barrier fence (E 3 m).

In addition, help has been given to stimulate trade and manufacture in the form of training and technical assistance to S.I.D.C. (the Swaziland Industrial Development Company), to an integrated Trade, Tourism and Handicrafts project, and funding for participation in international trade fairs.

One important aspect of Swaziland’s human resource constraints is the shortage of skilled professional manpower in the public service. To address this problem, the Community has provided substantial amounts of Technical Assistance to the Swaziland Government. Thus, experts have been provided for the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Economic Planning, Education, and Finance as well as to support the Swaziland Government’s SADCC operations.

A major engineering project, and one which is likely to continue to receive funding under LomV, is the national airport at Matsapha. To date some E 6 m has gone to building and equipping a new control tower and for the additional training of air traffic controllers. Continued funding would contribute to enlarging the apron and upgrading the terminal building, so as to relieve present congestion.

Microprojects: low cost, high benefit

An important characteristic of Swaziland’s cooperation with the EEC lies in the high proportion - over 15% - of the total allocation spent on microprojects, a percentage shared by only three other ACP States. An E 14 m Microprojects Programme, run by an EEC-funded Technical Assistant and his staff, helps local communities to develop piggeries, dairies, markets, vegetable gardens and poultry farms, as well as build schools, clinics, Bailey bridges, rural dams and footbridges.

Community development, such as organising women’s knitting or sewing workshops or youth groups is another activity. In the early phase of the programme the vast majority of the projects were educational: 39 schools were built, and only 10 of the projects related to agricultural development. Today, this ratio has been reversed. Communities contribute a minimum of 25% of the cost of the project (which should not exceed ECU 300 000 in value), and, though some cash might be provided, this contribution is often in the form of materials or labour. The greater flexibility in the implementation of the microproject programme is a welcome aspect of this form of assistance, and the benefits to the people of Swaziland, particularly rural populations, is of course very direct. At present the Microprojects Unit is implementing 75 projects, throughout the country.


Swaziland is, of course, a member of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC) and is responsible for the region’s Programme of Action in the area of Manpower Development. The Swaziland Government thus hosts the Regional Training Council, which is the coordinating body, and provides the RTC with a secretariat.

Under LomI and LomII the Community has supported the work of the RTC secretariat by means of technical assistance and has sponsored the development of a wide range of regional manpower and training projects. Under LomII, 17 projects have been approved with a total budget of ECU 10.3 million. These include projects such as the training of SADCC agricultural managers at the Mananga Agricultural Management Centre in Swaziland as well as major projects throughout the nine SADCC countries. At present a further 14 projects are under development with earmarked funding of approximately ECU 12 m.

Finally, Swaziland has benefited from a number of minimal interest rate loans from the European Investment Bank and from aid for refugees, partly in the form of food aid. The loans (totalling ECU 23 m) went to the National Industrial Development Corporation, Simunye Royal Swazi Sugar Corporation, the Luphohlo Hydroelectric Scheme, S.I.D.C. industrial building and to the Swazi Meat Industries slaughterhouse at Matsapha. Aid to refugees included E 23 m, spent partly on the building of the secondary school at Ndzevane, and the equivalent of E 4.5 m in food aid.

The projects and programmes to be supported from Swaziland’s national indicative programme for the fourth Lomonvention (ECU 30 m) will be agreed on with Government later this year, and, together with allocations under the Regional Programme, it is clear that the Community will be able to support the Kingdom’s development plans well into the 1990s.


Biennial of Contemporary Bantu Art: African art revived


In 1985, CICIBA (the International Bantu Civilisation Centre) launched one of the most important cultural events in Africa, the Biennial of Contemporary Bantu Art. The Biennial has now been held three times - in Libreville (Gabon) and in Kinshasa (Zaire) and has become a focus for observation of the development of art forms in West, Central and East Africa.

The word “Bantu”, hitherto the preserve of academics, entered popular vocabulary in the early eighties, coming into common use in 1982, when the plan to open an International Bantu Civilisation Centre was realised. The 10 African States (Angola, the CAR, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tomnd Principe, Za and Zambia) which signed the convention setting up the Centre in January 1983 confirmed the existence of the concept of Bantu civilisations and entrusted the new body with the important task of highlighting their characteristics - stating the obvious, of course, but freeing the “Bantu” idea from its linguistic cradle and expanding on archaeological, historical, philosophical, anthropological and anthropobiological considerations to take in other disciplines such as traditional medicine, ethnomusicology and the arts as well.

The challenge facing CICIBA was clearly that of seeking similarities and differences in the Bantu world through cultural events and research - the background against which the Biennial of Contemporary Art was born. The new expression, “contemporary Bantu art”, thus means all current plastic art and other works by Bantu artists or expressing the realities of the Bantu world.


Although the main aim of the Biennial is to highlight convergences and differences in the various forms of expression and plastic techniques, it has not only to emulate, but also to:

- present works showing the plastic creativity of present-day Bantu artists;
- back outstanding talent by awarding prizes;
- encourage contact, discussion and exchanges by artists (painters, sculptors, ceramic artists and engravers) by running workshops within the framework of ABAP, the Bantu Association of Plastic Artists;
- keep the best in the Contemporary Art collection of the future CICIBA museum, thereby making them available to the public.


CICIBA coordinates the Biennial, but other bodies - Ministries of Culture in countries of the Bantu zone, national associations of artists and academies of art - are also involved and this decentralised form of organisation - wanted by the artists themselves - has given rise to the network which forms the frame of ABAP, the Association which will be in real overall control of the Biennial in a year or two. In the meantime, CICIBA has arranged a free and open framework embracing all forms of plastic art, without any constraint as to subject matter.


The Biennial, a distinctive event in sub-Saharan Africa, has the constant support of the continent’s Heads of State and of various international organisations, companies and foundations. The Presidents of Gabon and Za, for example, have already put up prizes worth US$ 15000. Elf-Gabon backed the first Biennial with almost US$ 80 000 for organisation, the Rockefeller Foundation gave US$ 50000 to the third, and major prizes have been awarded by international bodies such as the Commission of the European Communities (US$ 3 300) and the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (two of US$ 1700 each).

Travelling exhibition

The recent scheme to take exhibits round to the various countries of the Bantu zone owes much to the success of the Biennial. After the first exhibition, people in Port-Gentil and Franceville (Gabon), Luanda (Angola), Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) and Lusaka (Zambia) had the opportunity to see samples of Bantu plastic art of the present day and the impact was considerable, as the exhibits were shown at the time of international conferences, national festivals and other festivities. More than 20 000 people visited the CICIBA stand at SIAC, the International Arts and Culture Salon in Luanda (Angola), in September 1989, for instance.

Schools, trends and styles

CICIBA’s three Biennials have all featured authentic Bantu works, the profound meaning of which will be lost on no art critic, as the creative skills of the Bantu artists have burst out in all their diversity and dynamism on these occasions.

Painting and engraving

The “naturists”

The personal touch of the Bantu artists bring out their love of nature, one of the dominant themes of their works, with great emotional force. In this school, we find the maturity and finesse of some of the naturist painters, such as those of Congo and Zaire, side by side with the hasty, lovely works of those of Sao Tomnd Principe and Rwanda. Vibrant greens, reds and yellows and subtle shading make these canvasses unforgettably bright. “ No blue. Above all, no blue” (for Africa), Gustave Hervigo used to say, but he is proved wrong by the enchanting figurative naturist and realist brush of Protasio Pina (with “ Pigo Papagaio “), Cupertinho and Cesaltinho of Sao Tomnd Principe, whose island views, fishing studies and even portraits are all against an azure background.

Other noted naturists are Iloki (“Les oiseaux”), Hengo (“L’antilope”) from Congo, Tibund (“ Sous-bois”) from the CAR, and Manzambi (“Paysanne dans le bois”) from Zaire. In Lubumbashi (Zaire), works of art have been produced by the skill and enthusiasm of Mwenze, famous for his streaks, and Pili-Pili, whose similar, but smaller, polychrome streaks have made him an international name. And many of these painters are familiar with the techniques of impressionism and will no doubt be giving us new means of expression.

The “ realists “

Realism in the Biennial is represented by the works of Tomas Vista (“A quitanda”), Augusto Ferreira (“Dande circuncistchokw148;) and Afonso Matondo (“Jovem muhuila”) from Angola, Fylla (“ M, fils et flamme “), Ngavouka (“ Guerri “) and Eug Malonga (“ Le musicien paralytique”) from Congo, and Cicero (“ Le gusseur”) from Sao Tomnd Princip

There are many outstanding works of this sort. There is “ Lundaba”, by Vaz de Carvalho (Angola), for example, a suburban view of the Angolan capital made attractive by the control and balance of colour. And there is the village homestead by Oubanga, the young CAR painter who won first prize at the first Biennial, and Daikou, his engraver compatriot, who specialises in rural scenes of life both of them artists of the naive school using refined techniques to portray humble scenes.

And there is the Zaan perfection of the almost expressionist work of Kond“Antente”), L (“Propulsion”) and Tschiboko (“Bonheur”), painters who, in their stylised manner, bring to life everyday events or ceremonies, portraits, market scenes, and hunting scenes.

A great draw in the CICIBA Biennial is the realist sensitivity of the popular urban painters of Kinshasa, the successful school of artists which includes Ch Samba, Sim Simaro, MokTuyindula, Bodo and Vuza-Toko, who have a critical approach and whose meaning lies in the imperturbable, caricature-like representation of the frenzied life of the capital. These Zaan popular artists, much admired by art-lovers internationally, have been labelled amateur and their pictures quite wrongly called naive. Although the school is not in the mainstream of conventional academic painting, its works are not without quality and its representation of society is intelligent. Moknd his fellow countrymen portray everyday life in Kinshasa with a sharp wit and an unrestrained eye and, as far as they are concerned, their audience can take it or leave it. They depict the mami-wata (African’s white-skinned siren), recent episodes in Zaire’s history, mythical subjects (chimpanzees on motor-bikes and animals of the forest playing in a band), religion revived by the country’s severe economic crisis (the red valley of purgatory and other apocalyptic visions) and sex (denunciation of the end of sexual taboos in out-of-control Kinshasa).

The “ symbolists “

The power of Bantu creation which the Biennial reveals in symbolist painting is both varied and complex and not confined to a particular genre or theme. The works encourage meditation, suggest the decoding of legends and generate optimism and they recreate subtle messages, communicating the artists’ symbolism in pictorial form, an echo of the souls of the Bantu peoples.

The troubled environment of Angola encourages the emergence of symbols, as is apparent, for example, in the powerful handling of the carnival figure at Luanda’s annual festival by Luzolano (he died in August 1986), who took third prize at the first exhibition. And traditional Cokwicture making is both inspiration and obsession to Jorge Gumbe (“Uma recep”), who, along with a number of his fellow countrymen, learned to engrave in Cuba.

The well-known Poto-Poto school, founded in 1950, by the Frenchman Pierre Lods, is a systematic coming together of popular plastic expression and that of the art school, and it is one of the major symbolist trends to be represented at the Biennial. The Poto-Poto painters - the first-generation, Ondongo, Zigoma, Iloki and Ouassa, and the up-and-coming Dimi, Bokotaka and Mpo Gerly - are all there, faithful to their particular styles in their masks and symmetrical patterns. But this school has seen its major developments. A peak has been reached and fresh impetus is called for, maybe from an independent artist such as Gotene, trained at one of France’s best art schools, or Mokoko, President of UAPC, the Congolese Union of Plastic Artists, or Hengo.

The works of those great hopes of African painting, the Gabonese artists Minkoe Minze, Ekornd Onewin (the last two won prizes at the first and third Biennials), are impressive indeed with their ritual masks and their representation of the ambiguity of Africa, the cultural drama of traditional and modern, and their deliberate limiting of the use of colour creates a sobriety symbolic of a Gabon as difficult to understand as it is deep in anthropological meaning.

Equatorial Guinea is represented by “Los Afligados”, a fine canvas from the brush of the young artist Menan, a Spanish speaker, who is greatly attracted by the work of Picasso. But the Bantu influence comes out more strongly in the work of Esteban Bualo, whose initiation rites are painted against a background reminiscent of the Equatorial Guinea’s great forests.

The Zaan symbolists show great mastery and clear technical maturity. The distinctive “sand artists”, such as Mukalenge and Tuzolano, stand out, with their “ little bit of sand, little bit of glue, little bit of paints and a lot of talent” and the originality of their attractive technique, “Sandism”, a new approach to picture making which is already a success in Central Africa is bound to grow.

Zaire, a country of constant artistic creativity, is the source of another original technique, too, that of paint scraping, the great exponent of which is Kamba Luesa, twice a Biennial prizewinner and a master of astonishing effects reminiscent of cave painting.

Sculpture and ceramics

Wood and stone and the more modern bronze, brass and aluminium all have their place in the collection of realist and abstract sculptures, inspired by traditional Bantu and contemporary European art, in which the Biennial highlights the dynamic approach of the Bantu sculptures of today. The time-honoured art of wood carving has been carried on here by Hakizimfua from Rwanda, Massongui (“Jeu de masques”) from Angola, Oemba (“Paysanne Ngbaka”), Djatao (“Statuette bicale”) and Mbotowo (“Factice kaloboungba”) from the CAR, Ndong Menzamet (“Prntation”) from Gabon and Zaire’s Mpane (with his wonderful sculpted ebony), Beya Tshili (“ Protection “) and Lubanza - who took the main prize at the second Biennial with his “La Pens#148;, symbolising the coherence, the balance and the anthropological dimension of Bantu philosophy.

Stone sculpture is a rarity at the Biennial, the only exhibitor being Aubin, the head of ENAM, Gabon’s School of Art and Manufacture. Gabon (using stone from the Nbigou area) and Zimbabwe (with the artist Munyaradzi) indeed seem to be the only Bantu countries which encourage this technique.

Liyolo (Angola) makes a great impact with the slender brass shapes of his “Mirage du Fleuve” and he and Temba, Lulu and Wuma have now broken through on the international scene.

Geometric stylisation and abstraction typify the work of Tela Mateta (Angola) and Makala Mbuta (Za) and impressive symbolism that of the outstanding Nginamau - three artists who are experienced in large-scale sculpture (decorating Za’s main public buildings), but who produce a range of smaller works too. Artists in the copper country have gone in for modelling in copper, of course. Lubumbashi is the domain of Kalumba and Chenge Baruti and the technique has been taken up in Kinshasa too, by Pemba (“La maise”) and Safu Mwanza (“Bifulusi”), and in Brazzaville, by Kitshiba.

The fascination which female beauty holds for ceramic artists, painters and sculptors alike is apparent in the female masks and heads exhibited at the Biennial. Woman as the positive symbol of life and the incarnation of beauty is very much linked to ceramic art and Matondo (“Jeune muhuila”) from Angola, Edou (“Source”) from Gabon and Mbaku Miamambi (“T ptienne”) from Za bring out the nobility of their clay in perfect aesthetic portrayals of women who are extraordinarily “alive”.

The centuries-old strain of artistic endeavour which has taken Bantu art to the peaks of achievement has not waned over the 20th century. The only change is in the motives behind it. Modern art has moved from religious to profane, to art for art’s sake, as it has all over the world, and the Biennial illustrates this admirably.

The panorama it presents does not yet cover the whole of the Bantu world, but it is given depth by the wood carvings of the Makondthe Tanzanian inheritors of Tangatinga and the Zambians inheritors of Tayaly, the firmly entrenched popular creation of “Chief twins seven seven” of Buraimoh, Jacob Afolabi of Nigeria and the rounded people of Valente Malangatana of Mozambique.

The Biennial has highlighted the various trends which have taken shape - the Barra in Luanda, the Poto-Poto School of Brazzaville, the ENAM colleges of Gabon, the Kinshasa school, a natural development of the art school which surpasses itself with the “avantgardists”, the “great workshop” which produced the “sand artists”, the highly modern “New Generation” and, of course, the school of Lubumbashi in South-western Zaire, all of them living side-by-side with a host of na and popular artists. And although these schools contain a wide variety of talents, their figurative tendencies and their immense feeling for colour and decoration constitute common ground, the result of culling their inspiration from virtually identical traditional social set-ups and - most of all - very similar training.

The Angolan artists all trained at the Kinshasa art school and use the same methods as the Zaans - Luzolano with his vibrant scraping of colours, Kabisi Remos (winner of the second prize at the third Biennial) with his sand pictures and Tela Mateta with his slender brass forms. And the Gabonese artists at ENAM have considerable affinities with their training school in Kinshasa too, Ekore and Aubin being outstandingly talented.

Artists do not stick to their schools come what may and exhibition after exhibition brings changes in style, with Viteix, for example, moving from oils to engraving, Kabisi Remos displaying as much skill with oils as with sand painting, Ekorncreasingly keen on realism rather than the symbolism of masks (even if his fans are unenthusiastic about it) and Menan veering in much the same way.

What Bantu works now have in common is that they derive their inspiration from purely African sources - proof that they are culturally tied to their roots, in spite of using the Western techniques which have enabled contemporary Bantu artists to create new aesthetic values.

The outlook for the Biennial is good. A special salon on anti-apartheid art, run during the third exhibition with the help of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity), won the support of public opinion and suggests that other displays on specific topics could well be a success. CICIBA takes its work for art one stage further with its two-yearly Bantu children’s art competition, an opportunity to pave the way for young talent in which thousands of school-children take part. Relations with artists of other backgrounds took practical shape when two Cuban engravers came to the second Biennial and this contact was followed up at the Biennials in Havana and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The involvement of American specialists - Susan Vogel and William Rubin, of the African Arts Centre in New York - was a very valuable contribution and will be built on, with CICIBA, for example, loaning some of its pictures to “ African Art of the Twentieth Century: Digesting the West”, the New York African Arts Centre exhibition due to open in January 1991.

The Biennial of Contemporary Bantu Art, is now established as a living picture of artistic endeavour unfolding before our very eyes.


European energy technologies - THERMIE Programme

by Michael GOWEN

For the past decade the Energy Directorate-General of the Commission of the EC has operated energy demonstration and hydrocarbons technology programmes as an integral component of its energy policy. Demonstration is the essential link between research and commercialisation. The aims of the demonstration programme were to support the initial commercial-scale use of innovative technologies where the inherent risks were perceived as being too high for commercial entrepreneurs, and thus to promote the widespread use of successful technologies in the market. The aims of the hydrocarbons technology programme were to enhance the development of technologies in order to reinforce oil and gas supply security for the EC.

During the course of these two programmes, EC financial support of more than ECU 1450 million was offered to 2 500 demonstration and hydrocarbons technology projects.

These programmes need to be seen in the wider context of the achievement of the Community’s energy policy objectives. The most recent Community energy objectives were adopted in 1986 to cover the decade to 1995 and envisage, among other things, continuous promotion of technological innovation. Encouraged by the progress in energy efficiency which had already been made, the goal was set of improving the efficiency of final energy demand by a further 20 % during this 1 0-year period. However, since then two critical new factors have radically changed the European (and world) energy situation. Firstly, the much lower level of oil prices in the second half of the 1980s, together with the decline in the value of the US$, has considerably reduced the financial incentive to conserve energy. For example, EC energy consumption actually began to increase again between 1984 and 1987 (by 7 %) after a substantial period of decline.

The second factor is public concern over environmental issues - acid rain, global warming, the greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer and the growing awareness of the major role played by energy consumption, production and transformation. This has given fresh impetus to the development of new, efficient, environmentally sensitive energy technologies, over and above the purely financial benefits of such developments.

Much remains to be achieved in relation to the implementation of new energy technologies in the Community. In anticipation of the expiry of both programmes at the end of 1989, the Commission had independent evaluations conducted on them. The conclusions from these evaluations reinforced the Commission’s view that a further initiative should be taken in this area, and the Commission therefore proposed to the Council a new single programme for European energy technologies: THERMIE, to run for the five-year period 1 990-94.

Why a new energy technology programme?

The movement towards the Single European Market has now become irreversible, but to take full advantage of it, Community industry must have access to secure and competitive energy supplies. Despite the present rather relaxed state of world energy markets (3), the Community’s energy situation remains inherently vulnerable, with over half of its energy requirements presently being imported (70 % in the case of oil), with a particular sensitivity to political tensions in areas of major oil production, to the public acceptability of nuclear power and to growing environmental constraints on the use of coal. To underpin the achievements of the Single Market, it is vital that the implementation of new energy technology be stimulated, in order to develop indigenous energy resources, improve energy efficiency and diversify energy supplies

The need stated in the Single European Act to strengthen the technological basis of Community industry, applies in the energy field as much as in any other area. If industry is to c gain maximum benefit from the Single Market, there must be free transfer of technology throughout the Community. In the case of energy technology, however, this is often not happening. It is necessary therefore to take an initiative to stimulate such energy technology transfer, especially across national boundaries, thus helping to remove trade barriers and to facilitate European integration. This technology transfer should also be extended to the Community’s Third World trading partners, to help in resolving the serious energy and environmental problems which they face, and to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which are emerging towards democracy, since their generally inadequate energy infrastructure is a major handicap to economic and industrial growth.

Energy technology also has a key role to play in meeting the environmental challenges, which have lately become of such concern worldwide. Almost 95% of air pollution comes from thermal combustion, and a substantial part of thermal pollution is created by energy consumption, production and transformation. Development of energy technology can play an important role in improving the quality of our environment, for example, by increasing energy efficiency and thus reducing SO2, NOx and CO2 emissions; by developing non-pollutant new and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and geothermal; and by reducing emission levels through fuel substitution (e.g. nuclear or gas). In this way the Community’s energy objective, calling for balanced solutions as regards energy and the environment, and the requirement of Article 130 R of the Single European Act to ensure a prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources, can be achieved.

The development and dissemination of energy technology also has an important role to play in strengthening economic and social cohesion within the Community, which is essential to ensure that all the regions share in the benefits of the single market. The new THERMIE initiative will help in transfering technology to the more disadvantaged regions, thus encouraging economic growth and confidence in these areas, increasing the efficiency of their energy use, and enabling them to exploit their own local energy sources, particularly the renewable sources which are often readily available in such areas.

Social benefits can also be obtained from the implementation of new energy technologies, in particular in the energy efficiency field by, for example, improving the thermal insulation of buildings occupied by low-income households. Furthermore, it has been estimated that increased efforts to save energy and to use waste heat and renewable energy sources could lead to the creation of as many as 530 000 supplementary jobs by the year 2000.

The scope of the new energy technology programme

It is clear that there are substantial benefits to be obtained from a new programme which promotes European energy technologies. The independent evaluations referred to above confirm the continuing need for such a programme at Community level.

The Commission accepted the conclusions of the evaluations, which indicated that a new programme should concentrate not only on promoting innovative technological development, but also on the dissemination of such technologies throughout the Community and beyond, encouraging investment in technologies which have been successfully demonstrated and publicising their results. In this way the new programme will reinforce other Community activities, such as those carried out under the SPRINT and VALUE programmes. The proposal therefore incorporates the following features:

(i) Innovatory projects to demonstrate for the first time that new technologies can be successfully exploited on a commercial basis.

(ii) Dissemination projects to encourage the wider use in the Community of new technologies which have already been successfully demonstrated.

Moreover, if the Commission establishes that there is a particular need for action in certain areas (e.g. where there are bottlenecks), it could itself instigate targeted projects seeking companies willing and able to carry out specific projects in these areas. This would be particularly appropriate for large projects involving a multidisciplinary approach and large sums of money; in all such cases these projects must involve cooperation between companies from two or more Member States.

The new proposal also enables the Commission to undertake “ associated measures”, to encourage the application and marketing of energy technologies. These could be carried out both within the Community and outside, with a view to industrial cooperation with third countries. As far as possible they would be carried out in collaboration with national, regional or local bodies.

They include:

- evaluation and analysis of market features and potential;
- circulation of information on the evaluation of energy technologies and the results of projects for wider dissemination;
- monitoring and evaluation of projects;
- encouraging greater exploitation of databases;
- organisation of technical seminars, workshops and conferences;
- provision of documentary and video material.

The THERMIE programme covers the following fields:

(a) Rational use of energy, in particular in:

- buildings;
- industry;
- transport and urban infrastructure.

(b) Renewable energy sources, in particular:

- solar energy, including both thermal and photovoltaic applications;
- energy from biomass and waste;
- geothermal energy;
- hydroelectric energy;
- wind energy.

(c) Solid fuels, in particular:

- clean combustion;
- conversion into gas or liquid energy products;
- waste treatment and usage;
- gasification integrated with a combined gas/steam cycle.

(d) Hydrocarbons, in particular exploration, production, storage and transportation technologies.

Preference will be given to projects which are joint ventures involving undertakings from at least two Member States: to small and medium-sized enterprises; and to the less prosperous regions of the Community. Financial support from the Community will cover up to 40 % of the cost of innovatory and targeted projects and up to 35 % of dissemination project costs.

In order to be eligible for the THERMIE programme, projects must:

- have a strong innovatory element;
- offer prospects of technical and economic viability and subsequent commercial application (in the case of success);
- offer appropriate solutions compatible with safety and environmental protection requirements;
- be difficult to finance because of major technical and economic risks;
- be proposed by persons or companies who are able to actively assist in disseminating the results of the project;
- be submitted by at least two independent promoters established in different Member States, for projects over ECU 6 million;
- in general be carried out within the Community.

All the technical aspects of the programme have been agreed by the Council of Energy Ministers and a positive opinion has been given by the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee. The only matter remaining to be resolved is the financial envelope for the five years of the programme - the Commission proposed an indicative figure of ECU 700 million for this period, but the precise delineation must await the revision of the financial perspectives for 1991 and 1992.


Higher education in the ACP States

Higher education and the related aspect of training have been the subject of many a study in the ACP States, but it is a problem for which no really satisfactory solutions have been found and one might well wonder about the various ways it is tackled. It is a vast question and the size of it is reflected in the range of reforms adopted in these countries and the varying fortunes they have known.

Roughly speaking, the ACP education systems have continued with the types of education and training they inherited, perforce, from the educational institutions of Europe. There have been attempts to break away here and there, of course, but they have failed either to adapt education to the economic needs of the States or to improve its form or substance in the way the Governments were quick to say they wanted. And for three decades, the ACPs have concentrated on “ administrative studies “, to the detriment of science and technology.

But the constraints and crises of the modern economy are such that more and more Governments are beginning to revise their traditional higher education policies. Parents, worried about an uncertain future, are encouraging their children to go in for technology and this also helps to enhance the technical element of higher education in the ACP States, particularly those in Africa. However, it would be wrong to make too much of this trend towards technology, as it is still far too small to be general.

But it nevertheless prompts a number of remarks. First, there is a need to recast the content and organisation of higher education, and of primary and secondary education at the same time, which means a lot of help from education and training experts and a fundamental debate on the targets in the States and regions of the ACP countries. The technical trend in ACP training courses also has a perverse effect in that it acts as a further cause of the brain drain in which people go abroad because they feel they are not being used (effectively) in the economy or indeed the civil service of their own countries. So higher education and training are faced with a twofold problem - that of their standards and usefulness in the present (or forthcoming) economic situation and that of the functioning of the States.

Another factor is the large amount of finance which uncompetitive universities and training institutions lead ACP States and families to spend on establishments in the developed countries - whose diplomas guarantee the holders a wider market in the professional world.

The answer to problems of higher education and training in the ACP countries is by no means an easy one. Many a developed country has similar problems when it comes to changing systems and outlooks and bringing establishments more into line with the demands of the modern economy. But before coming to the internal resistance which interferes with certain trends in the developed countries, ACP universities and training establishments will have to espouse the spirit of healthy competition which makes for emulation. This is still a long way off in many ACP universities, where the slack approach to recruiting students and staff and the system of awarding diplomas is damaging to the future of training in general. It is by putting priority back on educational standards that the universities in most ACPs will be able to play their rightful part in training people for the needs of the economy and society. They have to raise the standard of teaching if they are not to discourage the best elements and they have to improve conditions of access and of study for potential undergraduates if they are not to put students from poorer backgrounds at a disadvantage.

Our Dossier aims to generate thought on the various issues in higher education and training in the ACP States. Applicants are increasing constantly, but the universities are offering fewer places and lower standards all the time. And the safety valves provided by establishments in the developed world are ever more costly and inaccessible to ACP families and States.

The effort put into education and the progress accomplished are of course considerable, bearing in mind the extent of the problems at the outset, but, as the various articles in this Dossier show, the quality of the whole system has to be improved.

Community aid to the education and training sector has of course kept pace with needs - but without closing the gap. And LomV makes it a priority.

Is there any need to point out that the nations with the best performances are those with the higher education and training systems which make the most efficient job of meeting economic, social and cultural targets?


Higher education and development

Unesco’s action for the advancement of higher education and research in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

by Dumitru CHITORAN

The development of higher learning and the promotion of research through international co-operation have been major fields of action of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), ever since its foundation in 1946. As the specialised United Nations agency for education, science and culture, Unesco had its origin in the spirit of solidarity prevailing within the intellectual and scientific communities at the end of the Second World War. Universities played a leading role in the creation of that co-operative effort. In a very real sense, therefore, universities can be considered to be the Alma Mater of Unesco. Moreover, through their functions in teaching, training, research and service to the community, the universities cover the very areas which fall within the competence of Unesco and are, therefore, among its major partners in action.

In this special relationship between Unesco and higher eduction, the main shift of emphasis, by comparison to the period immediately following the Second World War, has been the orientation of the Organisation’s sustained contribution to the creation, strengthening and promotion of higher education and research capabilities in the developing countries. This task is particularly urgent today and was forcefully pointed out by the Director-General of Unesco when introducing the “ Priority: Africa Programme” at the General Conference of the Organisation in 1989: “ Unesco has a duty to direct its efforts first and foremost towards the poorest categories of humanity, those most in danger of succumbing to despair, those with least access to knowledge and those who are most vulnerable “.

The purpose of the present article is to outline succinctly the major problems confronting the countries of these regions, with regard to higher education and the training of highly skilled personnel, as viewed by Unesco, and to review briefly Unesco’s work in the field of higher education and research in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Finally, emphasis is placed on the need for concerted action by the international governmental and non-governmental organisations, development agencies and international aid foundations so as to assure greater efficiency of international effort.

The role of higher education in human resources development

In a world in which socio-economic development is becoming more knowledge-intensive and is relying increasingly on professional and managerial specialists with advanced training, the role of higher education becomes a crucial element for any development programme. This is especially true for developing countries. Higher education institutions play a key role in the advancement, transfer and application of new knowledge, in training the professional, technical and managerial staff, in forging the cultural identity and fostering democratic processes, while providing also an avenue for social mobility.

A recent World Conference on Education for All, organised jointly by Unesco, UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank examined the overall issue of human resources development and the role of education and emphasised the part played by basic education and literacy in all efforts for national development. Higher education, however, is equally essential to the development process in the modern world. Without adequate institutions of higher learning and research, without access to such facilities beyond national frontiers, the developing countries cannot hope to master and apply the latest advances in science and technology, let alone to make their own contribution to scientific progress. It is only through the development of local skills and competences that they can reduce the gap separating them from the developed countries and thus reduce their dependence on external technical assistance.


Surveys of higher education in the developing countries reveal a paradoxical situation: on the one hand most countries have succeeded in implementing fairly evolved systems of higher education within a very short period of time after gaining their independence; on the other hand, they are facing at present, dramatic declines in the quality of their institutions and a constantly widening gap vis-is the industrially developed world with regard to scientific and technological know-how.

On the success side, mention must be made in the first place of the increase in student enrolments and in the proportion of the age-group admitted to higher education. According to Unesco statistics, the total number of students world-wide was estimated, in 1986, at around 58 million, more than double the figure of 1970. The increase has been much higher in the developing countries: from over 7 million in 1970, to little less than 27 million in 1986. By regions, the increase in enrolments has been the fastest and most important in Africa, from 401 000 in 1970, to 2059000 in 1986, i.e. a five-fold increase. Over the same period, student numbers grew from 1 640 000 to 6 784000 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and from 6 886 000 to 20 111 000 in Asia and the Pacific Region.

Progress has also been made in the diversification of programmes and institutions, in quality of course content and in the training of national university staff and in better adapting higher education to specific national and local needs. Standards in teaching and research at a number of institutions in developing countries have won international recognition. All these and other achievements have been obtained mainly through the effort and the resources of the developing countries themselves. International co-operation and assistance have, however, played a valuable role in augmenting the outcome of national inputs.

It is important to mention the desire and readiness of states in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific to set up sub-regional and regional collaborative institutions and programmes. This capacity to go beyond national concerns is particularly valuable in the effort to raise the quality of higher learning and of research. There exist in Africa several regional and subregional research centres in key areas such as agriculture, health, teacher training, staff development and the production of educational materials. The University of the West Indies and the University of the South Pacific, are, in their turn examples of regional institutions created by a consortium of countries. They illustrate fully the great potential offered by regional collaborative efforts in higher education, wherever lack of resources, lack of critical mass of students, faculty, and above all, the limitations of scale imposed by the economic sector require such a solution.

The opening up towards regional co-operation has gone hand-in-hand with the preoccupation for nation building and the forging of the cultural identity of the newly established states as well as for fostering democratic processes in the respective societies. The universities in the developing countries have become powerful symbols of independence, and in that capacity, they have been called upon to play a major role in diversifying the intellectual climate of society, in instilling new values, and in providing independent and informed opinions to policy makers and the public at large. Throughout Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, universities have been and are fulfilling this mission with great dedication on behalf of students and staff alike.

Major needs and challenges

The positive developments mentioned above are, however, overshadowed by a decline in quality of dramatic proportions, and the search for remedies, which depends on a wide range of factors, is highly complex.

The first and most formidable challenge facing higher education in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (and this is true of the rest of the developing world) is to try to reconcile the constantly rising demands made on higher education with the diminishing resources placed at its disposal. Increasing enrolments are a positive trend, but the four-fold increase in the low-income countries, the ten-fold increase in the lower-middle income countries and the ninefold increase in the upper-middle income countries have not been accompanied by concomitant budgetary allocations. On the contrary, in many cases, the latter have been cut, sometimes drastically, under pressure for saving on public spending and as a result of the heavy burden of foreign debts. Existing resources and facilities have been stretched beyond the minimal levels of effectiveness, with declining effects on the quality of teaching and research. Universities are forced to function with larger classes and with inadequate facilities (shortage of books and journals, poorly equipped laboratories, etc.). Student/teacher ratios have worsened. Teachers have reason to complain about their status and salaries.

Much of the expansion has taken place in arts and social science programmes, simply because such programmes are less expensive to staff and cheaper to equip and run than science and technology ones. In fact, this trend has its origins at the secondary level of education where, because of a shortage of good science teachers and the necessary physical facilities, the schools prepare an overwhelming majority of pupils for higher education in fields other than science. The pressure of increasing enrolments and lack of funding, has also led to diversion of resources away from postgraduate studies and from research.

The prospects for the future do not give rise to much optimism. The young represent a higher percentage of the total population in the developing countries than in the developed ones. Increasing numbers of these young people successfully complete secondary education and seek admission to higher studies. However, the average annual rate of growth in student enrolments, despite the increases in total numbers mentioned above, has actually declined.

In Africa it has slowed down from 14.2% for the 1960-1980 period to 8.2% from 1980 onwards. Population forecasts, together with other demographic trends in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific indicate that the social demand for higher education in these regions will continue to grow.

Even those who actually pursue and complete higher education studies do not feel secure with regard to employment. Unplanned growth, coupled with the fact that curricula and research topics often lack relevance to the economic, social and cultural situation in the countries concerned, reduce the chances of employment. There is overproduction of graduates in some disciplines and underproduction precisely in those areas which are regarded as key factors to national development. A paradoxical situation has resulted whereby the number of unemployed graduates in Africa is extremely high, including medical, engineering, architecture, accountancy and education graduates. No wonder, then, that many of those most highly qualified seek employment elsewhere, feeding a brain drain which has assumed alarming proportions. Simultaneously there is large-scale employment of expatriate specialists in various sectors. In 1988, there were 80 000 foreign experts involved in technical assistance in 40 sub-Saharan countries alone. Conversely, it is estimated that, between 1984 and 1987, 30 000 African graduates left their countries and work mostly in the industrially developed countries.

UNESCO’s programme in the field of higher education

Most of Unesco’s programmes have direct links with universities or systems of higher education. It is difficult, in the limited space of an article to give a comprehensive review of all these links. What follows, therefore, is more a series of examples.

Unesco concentrates on promoting regional and interregional co-operation in higher education, through its own regional centres and offices and by helping launch various networks or consortium-type arrangements which operate under the responsibility of participating institutions or of nongovernmental higher education organisations. A separate set of activities concern specialised training and support for self-sustained development in science, engineering and technology. Unesco has decentralised many of its activities relating to higher education; this presentation will focus on Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.


In Africa, Unesco’s regional activities are carried out through its Regional Bureau for Education in Africa. In 1987, a Regional Advisory Committee on Higher Education in Africa was established. In the field of science, the Regional Office for Science and Technology for Africa (ROSTA) has initiated a co-operative network, the African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI), with the task of promoting training and research in the participating institutions. Some 20 sub-networks have been established within ANSTI, linking scholars in selected subjects. Staff training (through fellowships, seminars and workshops) as well as joint research projects and the publication of the African Journal of Science and Technology are among its main achievements. ANSTI has gained international recognition as an instrument for successful regional co-operation aimed particularly at enhancing research capabilities and developing postgraduate programmes on a subregional basis. In addition to Unesco’s funds, it is supported by UNDP and a number of international aid agencies and foundations.

A special programme for the countries of the Africa region entitled “ Priority: Africa “ was created by the twenty-fifth session of the Unesco General Conference held in Paris during October/November 1989. Extending over the period 1990-1995, “Priority: Africa” fits into the context of the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development (UNPAAERD) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1986, and is aimed at fostering the development of the Member States of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) within Unesco’s spheres of competence. Those African countries which have greater resources are expected to be associated to the programme not only as beneficiaries, but also as contributors in the context of technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC). The programme appeals for contributions from all Member States of Unesco, as well as from the funding institutions of the UN system, in particular the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“Priority: Africa” takes full account of the fact that young African universities have felt the full impact of the financial constraints of the countries in the region which are suffering from grave economic problems. Accordingly, it makes important provisions for assistance in the area of higher education. They are reflected in the Special Programme for the Improvement of Higher Education in Africa, which is currently under consideration by UNDP. The Special Programme is being designed as a set of activities to be implemented under a regional co-operation mechanism. By bringing modulated support to national, sub-regional and regional efforts, it seeks to encourage the pooling and joint utilisation of the skills and capacities of the African institutions of higher education.

At national level, the Special Programme for Higher Education seeks to strengthen national capacities for the preparation and distribution of appropriate study programmes and teaching materials, to develop and enhance human resources and to ensure the more effective dovetailing of training and research activities.

At sub-regional level, the Special Programme seeks to promote: improved integration of higher education into the economic context; specific training and research programmes taking as the frame of reference not frontiers and national states but major natural regions such as the Sahel, forest zones, etc.; the establishment of programme-based networks instead of institutional networks which will make it possible to bring together, around selected programmes, teams working in a number of countries on common global objectives. The Special Programme aims to strengthen the scientific and technological potential of a number of higher education institutions which already enjoy a certain reputation for their expertise in the relevant fields and can, thus, act as centres of excellence to foster common use of resources for training, for the production of teaching materials and for the development of interdisciplinary training and research activities. The Special Programme will, therefore, assist in the setting-up and operation of five programme-based networks, including two in West Africa (Sahel region and forest region), one in Central Africa, one in East Africa and one in southern Africa. Each programme network will be supported by a centre of advanced specialised studies and research possibly based around the Unesco chairs described further on in this article, to be established in the respective sub-regions.

The Caribbean

Unesco’s regional programe for this part of the world covers Latin America and the Caribbean as a single geographical region. The programme does take into account however the differences between the countries of Latin America and those of the Caribbean in a variety of ways.

Activities in the higher education sub-sector, reviewed both by the General Conference of Unesco and by the periodic conferences of the Ministers of Education in the region are carried out mainly through the Regional Centre for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CRESALC). The Centre’s programme, shaped following recommendations by its Advisory Committee involves distinguished academics and focuses on institutional development, technical assistance and information exchange. CRESALC co-operates closely with the university associations in the region, including the Union Universidades Amca Latina, the Organizacion Universitaria Inter-Americana, and the Association of Caribbean Universities Research Institutes.

Unesco’s Caribbean Network of Educational Innovation for Development plays a special role in helping link individuals, institutions and programmes in the countries of the subregion, while also facilitating their access to regional networks.

The Pacific Region

Unesco’s programme for the whole of Asia and the Pacific is carried out mainly by its Principal Office for Asia and the Pacific, located in Bangkok, Thailand. Higher education activities are heavily supported by UNDP and concentrate on case studies, on policies and practices in innovation and curriculum reform, distance higher education, further training of university teaching staff and training of university administrators. One of the most successful programmes has been the network linking 70 universities, research institutions and other higher education establishments in 17 Asian Member States, including countries in the Pacific Region. Since its inception in 1983, three consortia have been founded around three specific areas: innovation in higher education; policy, planning and management of higher education; and special research studies on higher education. A Unesco Office for the Pacific States, located in Western Samoa, covers higher education among its fields of action, and has focused on the particular needs of small states.

In the field of distance education Unesco was instrumental in the creation of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) with programmes serving several hundred thousand students in the region. The Regional Resource Centre in Distance Education and the bilateral and multilateral co-operation established between the member institutions of AAOU have facilitated the joint production of video programmes and the establishment of a Master’s Degree course in human environment. Distance education techniques acquire a particularly important role in assuring higher education training to young people in the Pacific Islands. Unesco’s constant support extended to the University of the South Pacific (in conjunction with the Commonwealth Secretariat) has the same purpose in mind.

The international dimension of higher education

Knowledge being universal, its pursuit, advancement and dissemination can only be achieved through the collective effort of the international community of scholars. Hence, the inherent international dimension of universities, as the recognised seats of higher learning and advanced research. International co-operation is a goal and a mode of action shared by the world academic community; moreover it is a sine qua nor’ for assuring quality and efficiency in the functioning of each and every institution of higher education. National authorities in charge of higher education and the institutions themselves are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages and, indeed, of the need for such co-operation as a way of sharing resources, of having access to and of bringing their own contribution to the advancement of knowledge, and of promoting the mobility of students, teachers and researchers. Inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations which are active in the field of higher education have, in turn, adopted programmes meant to encourage inter-university co-operation at the bilateral, regional and international levels.


It is in line with the above requirements, fully recognised by its Member States, that Unesco is launching a concerted international plan of action for strengthening inter-university cooperation, with particular emphasis on support for higher education in developing countries. The key feature of this plan is the development of a spirit of solidarity, based on twinning and other linking arrangements among universities. Hence the acronym chosen for the programme: UNITWIN.

The main goals of UNITWIN are: - to give a fresh impetus to twinning and other linking arrangements between higher education institutions in the industrially developed and the developing countries;

- to help establish sub-regional, regional and inter-regional networks of higher education and research institutions;

- to develop, by agreement among institutions in the developing countries and with concerted international support centres for specialised studies and advanced research which would serve training and research needs across national frontiers. Such centres of excellence will be built through networks of twinned universities, having a system of Unesco university chairs as their nucleus.

Some activities which are foreseen as components of UNITWIN have already been initiated. Thus a large-scale programme for research on higher education management and for the training of key university administrators has already been started, with Africa and the Caribbean regions being given priority. Unesco’s network for staff development in higher education for Latin America and the Caribbean (REDESLAC) will be reinforced and action is now directed in support of institutional and staff development in Africa as well, with the ultimate aim of setting up a similar network (or a number of interlocking subregional networks) in the region. Agreements for the establishment of several Unesco chairs have already been signed. One of them is the Chair in Nutrition, Health and Child Development at Kenyatta University, in Nairobi.

A large-scale programme (complementary to what Unesco has been doing in this field through its Coupons system and through the imaginative action of the Third World Academy of Sciences) is aimed at supporting university and scientific libraries in the developing countries with books, periodicals and other materials, and to develop self-sustainable capabilities in book production and teaching/learning aids in the developing countries.

Progress is also well underway in designing distance higher education programmes (the success of the Asian programme has already been mentioned), given the great possibilities offered by the very rapid advances in telecommunications and in information technologies.

Recognition of higher education qualifications

The mutual recognition of higher education studies, diplomas and degrees fosters mobility, allows for a more efficient use of training and research facilities across national frontiers, while also facilitiating the return to their own countries of specialists trained abroad. Since 1974 six regional conventions, which cover all regions of the world have been adopted under the aegis of Unesco (including Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific). Preparatory work is under way with a view to adopting an international convention.

The need for co-ordination of international development assistance

The difficulties facing higher education in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (and elsewhere throughout the developing world) call, in the first place for appropriate measures and efforts to be made by the respective states themselves. Beset as they are with serious socio-economic problems, bearing the burden of heavy foreign debts, these countries will not find it easy to divert significant resources towards higher education. And yet, there seems to be no other way. One of the explanations for the great disparity in economic and technological progress between the developed countries and the developing ones resides in the reduced educational opportunities and facilities of the latter, particularly at higher levels. Developing their own scientific and technological capabilities is one way of escaping dependence and reducing poverty for the developing countries. There seems to be a new convergence of thinking in the international community about the centrality of human resources development, as evidenced by the latest Human Development Report, issued recently by UNDP.

International assistance to the developing countries for enhancing their high-level training and research capabilities becomes, in light of the above, crucial for development programmes at the national, sub-regional or regional levels. Considerable international aid was granted to the newly established states in order to develop higher education immediately after gaining their independence. The 1970s and the 1980s then witnessed a decrease in such assistance. It is, therefore, most encouraging to see that the international community at large, the international organisations and the development agencies and foundations attach once again due importance to development programmes in higher education and research.

Moreover, there is growing awareness of the need to co-ordinate such international assistance. Since international aid programmes are very often complementary, they can be consolidated and expanded through co-operation. The advantages are obvious: the pooling of resources, particularly when they are as hard to come by as now; avoidance of overlapping and duplication; better identification of projects and increased assurance of their validity through collective agreement and review. More importantly, a multilateral framework of co-operation offers the beneficiaries a wider choice of inputs for particular projects, and reduces the danger of dependence on imported models.

Unesco is fully committed to wide co-operation with potential partners in assisting the developing countries in its areas of competence. In the field of higher education it co-operates closely not only with the other agencies of the UN system (serving for instance as an executing agency for a large number of UNDP programmes), but also with a wide range of inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations.

The LomV Convention includes provisions for assisting the States of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific in areas which are also the concern of Unesco and of other international agencies: enhancing indigenous capacities for scientific and technological development; drawing up and implementing research and development programmes, setting up and expanding training and educational establishments, particularly those of a regional nature; initiation of associations, twinning, exchanges and transfers of technology between universities and institutions of higher education in the African, Caribbean and the Pacific States and in the Community, etc. This complementarily provides a common ground for possible co-operation between Unesco, the EEC and the State Parties to the LomV Convention in the field of higher education, whose development is so important for the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Unesco is ready to co-operate closely with the EEC and with the State Parties to the LomV Convention, in these and other areas, with the conviction that it is only in that manner that the needs of harmonious development of the world can be served best.


The University and development in sub-Saharan Africa - the case of Makerere in Uganda

by Professor W.S. KAJUBI

In recent years, universities the world over and especially those in sub-Saharan Africa have been targets of criticism. They have been labelled as Ivory Towers: being in Africa but still clinging to the models of the former colonial powers; being citadels of privilege; sumptuous consumers of scarce resources; the elitist monopoly of a very few.

These are strong (one might even say harsh) words. In this brief article, I do not intend to support or refute them. Instead, I want to look at Makerere (one of the older University institutions in the sub-Sahara) as an example of an African University and discuss its origin, development, objectives, achievements and problems.

In doing so and in order to justify the title of this paper, I would have liked to assume observations about Makerere would also apply to its sister institutions such as Ibadan in Nigeria, Legon in Ghana, Khartoum in Sudan, all of them in sub-Saharan African, and others in the British Commonwealth such as Mona in the West Indies, but this would be too presumptuous. Except for their origins, by the initiative of the British Colonial Government, and their special relationships with the University of London, circumstances have changed since the early sixties when the “ Wind of Change “ created many independent states which have adopted various and different strategies towards the education of their people. Ibadan has nearly 20 sister University institutions to serve Nigeria; Legon has 3; and Kenya, which in 1964 had only one University College, now has four Public University institutions and Tanzania is planning for a third University not to mention the possibility of an Open University.

If what is discussed here about Makerere relates to situations in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, therefore, it will be only by the inference of the reader through his own knowledge and experience and not a result of my empirical study or experience.

Origins of universities

It should be observed that in the development of the Colonies and Protectorates in British Africa, education was not a priority, at least in the initial stages. In the case of Uganda, although the Protectorate was established in the period 1890-1900, the Protectorate Government did not intervene in matters of education until the period 1922-25 with the establishment of Makerere in 1922 and a Department of Education in 1925. The priorities of the Colonial Government at that time being, quite understandably, to ensure security and firm borders, to establish viable local administrations and a firm economic base by the introduction of cash crops (coffee, cotton, tea) and to open up the vast terrain between the Indian Ocean and the Mountains of the Moon necessitating spectacular ventures such as the construction of the Uganda Railways and later the Owen Falls - the hydro-electric station at the source of the Nile.

In the meantime, fortunately, missionaries had established a number of schools initially to vie for influence among the Princes and the nobility in Buganda, but eventually for the evangelisation of the whole population.

It must be said to the credit of the colonial governments that once they awoke to the role that education was to play, they embarked on this task with energy, so that by 1962 when Uganda became independent, there was a strong network of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions which had made Uganda one of the most literate and educated nations in Africa and an example of a harmonious partnership between the state and the missions in matters of social development such as education and health.


When Makerere was thus established in 1922, it was not to rival the mission secondary schools such as Namilyango, Gayaza, Budo and Kisubi which had already gained fame. Makerere was to be at the summit and it had stated objectives. First of all, it had to be a social melting pot; “a place”, according to Sir Philip Mitchell, a former Governor of the Protectorate and a strong supporter of higher education in East Africa, “where there shall be provision alike for the sons of the greatest in the land and the poorest”.

Very soon for Makerere that “ land “ was not just Uganda. It covered also Kenya and Tanzania and the Makerere University Register for the period 1922 - 54 is a “ Who’s Who” for East Africa and Central Africa and a portion of Southern Sudan. It includes big names in the cabinets, industry and public services of East and Central Africa.

The other objectives of Makerere were embodied again in a later statement by Sir Philip Mitchell. In December 1934, he was able to pledge that: “ ... as far as in us lies, we shall, under Providence, establish a College open to all of whatever race who wish to make use of it, in which the ideals of freedom and justice, of public service and scholarship may become securely established”.

In its over 65 years of existence, Makerere has pursued these ideals; it has been open to all comers who are qualified; it has dedicated itself to public service and it has pursued the ideals of scholarship. As for the “ ideals of freedom and justice”, let others in Africa throw the Biblical “ first stone “.

High-level manpower

In pursuance of these objectives, Makerere started as a technical school to train artisans who were very much in demand especially after the First World War, but very soon it became necessary according to its mission to be at the summit, for it to offer a variety of high level courses in education, agriculture, and medicine and to send the graduates of these courses to the various parts of East and Central Africa. They were not always accepted as equals to the European and Asian professionals but they made their significant contributions, especially in territories where racial segregation was not endemic. In any case, at independence, these Makerere men and women were available to man the Civil and other services. In retrospect, we now appreciate that Makerere produced too few and even today, for example, many years after medical education was introduced, there is in Uganda only one doctor for 13 500 persons and most of them concentrated in urban areas which account for only 7 % of the population. The pressure to increase output in these areas is great and it is not only doctors that are required. Uganda (and all Africa) needs agriculturalists, industrialists, educators, administrators. While Makerere makes efforts to train in all these areas, its resources are spread very thin.


From its inception Makerere appreciated the importance of research. It is through research that problems are identified, priorities determined and success or failure is measured. A national plan which is not backed by research becomes haphazard and directionless. Through various initiatives of Makerere its research projects in medicine, agriculture, veterinary medicine and the social sciences laid firm foundations for research in Eastern and Central Africa. The then Makerere University College created a Research Council which received funds through the college regular budget and this persists up to today. Also through the East African Medical Research Council, the Colonial Medical Research Committee, the Cancer Research Funds and the British Empire Cancer Campaign, an intensive programme of cancer research was initiated at the College Medical School in Mulago with important results. The Cancer Registry continued a full-scale survey of Kampala and continues its work at Mulago today producing statistics which have opened up many lines of research Mr. Burkett’s work on Lymphosarcomas became famous worldwide as did Professor Karim’s work on Postglandis. A lot of work has been done on malnutrition. Endomyocardial fibrosis was first identified at the Makerere Medical School and Bilharzia, which is a scourge along the Upper Nile Valley, has received serious attention at Makerere.

Similar initiatives and successes can be recorded in agriculture, agricultural engineering and the social sciences.

Current issues in higher education

If we turn to the very beginning of this article where we summarised the accusations against the present day University in Africa, we can also as we end the article single out the issue in today’s higher education. The examples concern Makerere and Uganda but they can be generalised to cover a lot of sub-Saharan Africa.

Access to higher education

I have already pointed out that even when we used to serve all East and Central Africa, we were sending out only small numbers and that even today we are not meeting the manpower demands of Uganda.

We are therefore a monopoly of a very few. We have an enrolment of just under 5000 undergraduate students. Although a second public University is being established in Mbarara, (Western Region), and an externally funded Islamic University operates in Mbale in the Eastern Region, in terms of size, scope, and international reputation, Makerere remains by far the most significant centre of higher learning to serve a country with 18 million people. We have cogent reasons for this stunted growth but the issue remains that we are too few for the requirements of the nation.

The Government of Uganda has just published “ Manpower and Employment in Uganda” (a report of the national manpower survey 1989) and on page XIV paragraph 13, it is stated that the total number of vacancies of skilled manpower, as reported by employers, was 33 448 “the highest number being in the skill category of technicians and associate professionals (38%) who normally are produced by the University and other tertiary institutions. Makerere has an optimum capacity for 10 000 students, but to reach there the capital expenditure alone (not to mention recurrent costs of salaries, wages, consumables) is way beyond the reach of the nation at the moment. The country will thus continue to depend on technical assistance from all over the world which is a very expensive mode of providing required manpower for Uganda or any other country.

Preparations are nearing completion for admissions for the 1990-91 academic year; from the schools we have 5000 prospective students (those who are eligible and qualified to enter the University), but we have room only for 2000 students. In this question of access to University education, there is the issue of intake for women. In the total enrolment of nearly 5000, we have only 1023 women students (a ratio of I woman to 4 men). The NRM Government has worked wonders in boosting the morale of women in easing access to Parliament, in the creation of a Ministry for Women in Development, and so on, but if the University is only producing 356 women degree holders a year, even in 100 years, women will still be behind in education and therefore other forms of development will be delayed.

Financing higher education

The African university has been accused of consuming scarce resources. This is true; in Africa, hard currency is a strategic resource even more strategic than a tanker or a gun and yet this is what the university exists upon. In the early days, staff were expatriate and the bulk of the salaries were paid in foreign exchange; even today most of our book requirements, stationery, all laboratory equipment and consumables not to mention vehicles, medicines and building materials require millions of dollars. With the falling prices of coffee, tea and cotton, the country will not find it easy to restore the university to its former heights, let alone to promote its expansion. For Uganda, because of our recent history, even the local currency is scarce and we do not always receive our budgetary requirements. We have just emerged from two strikes - one of students and before that, of members of staff. The students struck because Government had withdrawn pocket-money, travelling and stationery allowances. Government still pays a capitation grant of 2 billion shillings (at 40 000/ - or US$ 100 per student) to run the University. The Government thus meets full tuition and residential costs. The question in many African nations even to-day is: should the state bear this burden and alone?

The brain drain

The greatest resource of any country is contained in the brains of its trained people their ingenuity, resourcefulness and hard productive work. Since 1971, Uganda has suffered a crippling outflow of its high level manpower to other countries. During the past regimes, many professionals left not only because of insecurity and the lack of certain fundamental freedoms, but also in search of more verdant pastures - to get away from severe shortages of essential commodities and amenities. While by and large, peace and tranquility is being restored, economic problems are still looming large. For example, before the staff strike in the middle of 1989, a Professor at Makerere was being paid a maximum of Shs. 10000 (or US $ 25) per month at today’s official rate of exchange). The Government conceded that that was not a living wage, and in addition to the monthly salary of Shs. 10000 for a Professor an unpensionable allowance of Shs. 40 000 is also now payable (i.e. a total of US $ 125 a month). Although, the university in addition provides free housing, these emoluments are still depressingly low, and have led to a persistent brain drain.

It is the stated policy of the World Bank that African countries must be helped to make their exports (coffee, tea, cotton, copper, etc.) cheap and competitive in the world market but inadvertently the Ugandan academic is now among the cheapest export commodity, and this has brought about a brain drain which like the slave trade of old threatens the existence and survival of African nations. In the period 1986-89, Ugandan academics left the services of the university, 18 of them Professors; 34 of them holders of Ph. D. degrees and all of them leaving debilitating vacancies in critical areas in university teaching, research and service. The mere prospect of a Pajero Car and a few dollars have made our most valuable commodity jump out into the open world, some of them with UN agencies here in Uganda but the majority in other parts of Africa, Europe and North America. With Namibia, South Africa, and Eastern Europe opening up and all in need of qualified personnel, not only Uganda but all Africa must shudder.

We shudder but cannot despair. Our mission and raison d’e is to build for the future. We cannot afford to wait for the future to rebuild us. We need a “Marshall Plan” for the African University which is now a threatened species. Since 1985, with the emergence of the National Resistance Movement, there is now a firm national government. It is true there is still a limited resurgence in the North East but the rest of the country is calm.

Rehabilitation efforts

It is obvious that Government is using its resources to advantage; the trunk roads are now a pleasure to ride on; industries have still far to go but they are awakening to the market forces and potential; agricultural production is expanding and improving despite current unfavourable world market prices, but it has to be recognised that these growth areas cannot move ahead without trained manpower. Attention must therefore be paid to the rehabilitation of educational institutions and the starting point must be the teachers and workers in these institutions, including the University. An international policy which encourages an exodus of professionals cannot be tolerated.

In the University we are putting in motion measures which will increase access to university education by increasing intake in a variety of ways: we are restoring the 30% cut which was effected in 1982 because of the delapidated plant which could not carry the load at the time.

Major constraints of delapidated physical facilities and other resource inadequacies are being systematically tackled. The EEC has helped Makerere to make a major breakthrough with a programme focusing on the following priorities:

1. The rehabilitation of teaching and research facilities in the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Education.

2. Construction of new staff houses, revitalising the exchange of staff with other universities and also to attract and retain local staff.

3. The improvement of library resources for study and research.

4. Rehabilitation and equipping of the University printery with modern machinery.

5. Staff development programmes, and

6. Assistance to the university estates and works maintenance unit.

The current EEC project with Makerere involving, in all, ECU 8 m is an example of an integrated approach to rehabilitation and development.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has done a remarkable job in restoring not only the Faculty of Agriculture and its Farm at Kabanyolo, but the Agricultural Research Stations at Kabanyolo and Namulonge. Plans are afoot by the Government of Federal Republic of Germany for the improvement of facilities in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and its newly acquired farm at Buyana, and the Italian Government has started work on the Faculty of Technology.

Makerere, like many other universities in sub-Saharan Africa, was meant to be a residential university; this is a costly policy, and while we value the opportunity for Ugandans (of all religions and ethnic origins) to live together during the most critical and formative years of life, it is now policy that admissions will be governed by teaching and laboratory capacity and not residential capacity. We are thus now resigned to a large number of our students being non-resident although we know that Kampala for a long time will not be able to carry this load.

In order to increase enrolment, the University has decided to open up evening classes for residents of Kampala and its environs, for degree courses that are amenable to this mode of teaching. By October 1990, with the help of the Commonwealth of Learning we propose to start courses in Commerce and Education by distance learning. We need help from whatever other sources exist for the successful launching of distance education, for teaching materials, studies, travel and so on. The University Centre for Continuing Education is in charge of this Programme.

The paucity of women candidates entering the University is a serious problem which we also intend to tackle in this period. The University Senate has adopted some measures which should increase the female intake from the present 24 % to about 34 % but the problem is nationwide as schools must also increase their enrolment and output.


Higher education in sub-Saharan Africa: crisis in growth or structural crisis?

by Jacques GIRI

Spectacular growth

Higher education is certainly one of the fastest evolving aspects of societies in sub-Saharan Africa, with the 20 000 students of 1960 up to around 500 000 by the end of the eighties and almost twice as many teachers in African higher education now as there were students in 1960.

Over the last three decades, both states and aid agencies clearly put top priority on developing education systems in general and higher education in particular and, in this, the states were doing no more than reflecting that very common attitude of African societies whereby education on Western lines and higher education especially, are the keys to social success and high incomes. Paper qualifications were seen as the way into “ modern “ society and in particular in many countries, to that most coveted part of it - the civil service.

However, in spite of spectacular progress, the level of attainment (in quantitative terms) remains limited. While South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have populations of 40-60 million and more than I million students each, sub-Saharan Africa, with its 500 million people and 500000 students, lags far behind. Nor is the gap due solely to different levels of economic development; the per capita GNP in Thailand and the Philippines is comparable to that of Cd’Ivoire and Cameroon.

This twofold assessment reveals both the amount of ground that has been covered and the gap that exists between the sub-continent of Africa and the newly industrialised and industrialising countries of Asia.

Development fails to follow growth

This dual assessment is made in the context of the crisis economic first and foremost, but affecting many other aspects of society and posing many other questions - which has struck almost all African nations and from which there seems no clear way out.

The African tes which took power at the dawn of independence saw educational development as a necessary condition for a modern society and its economic foundation. But the considerable effort the continent has made with its education since 1960 has borne little fruit and it has been clear for some years now that the essential basis was unsatisfactory and that the effort has failed to generate the anticipated economic improvement. In the face of multiple short-term problems, most African states have, since the early eighties tended to put less priority on teaching but it is primary rather than higher education which has tended to bear the brunt.

The crisis has led African society to question the aims of the education system. Teaching is becoming less and less the gateway to modern society but the crowd of diploma-holders, graduates included, standing at that gateway is constantly increasing. Many families have made what are sometimes great sacrifices to have their children educated. Those without large incomes are now wondering whether there is any point if all they are doing is swelling the dole queue or turning out youngsters whose only prospects are jobs in the informal sector which bear little relation to the training they have received.

Is this an ordinary growth crisis? Is it wrong to expect the efforts ploughed into education to bring rapid results? Won’t they bear fruit in the longer term, once further progress has been made with school attendance levels? If so, then the efforts must be pursued.

Or is it a more structural crisis? Have the efforts been misguided? If so, the education systems will have to be rethought, perhaps radically.

Education systems too expensive and unsuitable

There has been no shortage of criticism of African education, particularly higher education, over the past few years. The complaints are, by and large, that the systems turn out too many graduates with doubtful qualifications of even more doubtful use and that they do so at a high cost that is beyond the means of the national economies. A common question is whether it is reasonable for most African states to spend around 20% of their education budgets on higher education courses attended by less than 1% of the student population. Might it not be more efficient to allocate resources differently?

Some observers say the African education crisis is only just beginning. The effect of the obvious decline in the standards of basic schooling in most of the countries over the past few years will be felt by youngsters embarking on higher education tomorrow, bringing about a decline in standards at that level, too.

Africa seems to be in a web of contradictions:

· It has a problem of financial resources. The states do not have the means to plough any more into their systems of education and they have the twin problem of the quantity (only a fraction of any age group is involved in education) and quality of the teaching provided. The answer to this is to increase resources. In the main, higher education budgets go on teachers’ salaries and student grants, leaving establishments with very little to buy and operate equipment: an increase in the latter is needed if standards are to improve.

· It trains technicians and teams who are suitable for modern, high-productivity economies but quite out of keeping with low-productivity economies where the informal sector is constantly gaining ground. Typical examples are the agronomists who fail to find a niche in low output agricultural systems. Their skills are unused, while dependence on imported foods increases all the time and Africa loses shares in world markets to South-East Asia.

The World Bank was no doubt right in its report on prospects in sub-Saharan Africa (published in 1989) to say that “radical measures” were called for, to raise the standard of education, lower the cost per student and per graduate, keep down numbers in disciplines which did not make for economic development and lighten the State’s load by obtaining a bigger contribution from recipients and their families. But will such radical measures remove the contradictions? And are African societies ready to accept this new aspect of structural adjustment?

Perhaps it would be a good idea first to try to understand the part played by the education systems set up by the colonial powers and considerably developed by the independent states and to see how this has differed from what has been done in other parts of the world.

A problem of society

It may be helpful to start by pointing out that economic growth in the industrialised world was the result of a host of minor improvements in productivity built up over decades. In the early days of the industrial revolution, education made but a small contribution to these improvements and innovations stemmed more from improvisation than from design. But there was at the same time a by no means fortuitous correlation between those parts of Europe with the highest literacy rates and those where the industrial revolution first emerged and spread.

In later stages, education systems provided people with a training which encompassed the advances in knowledge and know-how, making it possible to build economies in which techniques were increasingly complex and efficient, and paving the way for further improvements in productivity. Observers who have now been looking at the tie-up between education and the economy in most of the industrialised countries for more than a century have regularly complained about the discrepancy between the products of one and the needs of the other. But the gap has not, apparently, been unduly wide, as the economies have more or less continued to expand, irrespective of any shortcomings in the education systems. Education systems are the offspring of their own societies. They resemble them, reproduce at least in part their dis-functions and contradictions, and are involved in their movement, contributing to a greater or lesser extent to social change.

Some of the customers of the education system, higher education especially, are moved by a desire for greater culture while many others seek social promotion and a better income. The “ invisible hand “ described by Adam Smith has ensured that all these individual efforts have together resulted in the level of development we see today.

But matters were somewhat different in sub-Saharan Africa. During the colonial era, the elites were educated in Western systems. Members of such elites owed much of their personal success to their passage through such systems and it is easy to see why they placed priority on providing the next generation with a carbon copy of something which had served them so well. It is also easy to see why, after independence, priority was given, de facto, to creating education systems, and particularly higher education systems, along French or British lines.

It was not that there was a gap between education and society. There was an abyss - an immense abyss - between the education system borrowed from Europe and the long isolated, highly structured societies based on other values and ways of life which colonisation had barely begun to dismantle. It was greater, certainly, than in most of the Asian societies, whose history was different.

This education system produced scientists, technicians, economists etc., some of them properly trained and others less so, but in either case, trained for a Western-style economy geared to sustained development.

For a time, perhaps in the sixties and early part of the seventies, it might have seemed that such expectations were justified. Africa created authorities, banks and industries which opened their doors to the young professionals which the system produced. The movement appeared to be self-sustaining, calling for and employing the increasing numbers arriving on the job market. And it would have been reasonable to think that the very existence of more and more professionals trained to cater for the needs of the modern society would help sustain economic growth.

But this is not what happened. In the seventies, growth slowed in most countries and, in the eighties, the superficially modern societies of sub-Saharan Africa declined and in some cases collapsed altogether. Informal activity flourished in every sector - in trade, transport and crafts and even in small industries and banking. There was a burgeoning of initiative outside the formal framework and of low-productivity activities in general. Some of this work was survival activity and could not really have been formal, but others easily could have been and it was the people involved who deliberately decided to stay outside the existing framework. So now it is the informal sector which largely dominates employment in the townships of Africa.

These unforeseen developments meant that the education system was to some extent marginalised. The abyss between society and education prevented Adam Smith’s “ invisible “ hand from playing its part. Not only has the education system failed to lead African societies to economic growth. It is also increasingly divorced from social needs which have not developed towards the Western model.

What education for development?

Education systems cannot be reformed in Africa today without casting doubt on the plans African societies have made for themselves.

Over the past three decades, Africa has sought to build a modern society without really having the means to do so - i.e. without increased human productivity or at least without a sufficient increase. Its main aim has been to have the right image, to have the trappings of a modern society, with factories, infrastructure and public services, serviced by education systems which are more symbolic than practical as a means of boosting productivity. It has financed this with agricultural and mining income where it has existed, and foreign aid where it has not. The eighties provided ample proof that the seemingly soundest of incomes were fragile, that foreign aid was subject to fatigue and that neither was a basis for a modern society.

The real basis, whatever the type of society, can only be more efficient people - not just isolated individuals, but the vast majority of the population. The whole of the education system, from the basics through to higher study, has to be revised with this in mind, to bring it closer to society and to bridge the abyss which currently exists. And this means far more than just cutting costs or improving efficiency; indeed going as far as putting a great deal more emphasis on basic education and bringing it closer to the human communities for which it is intended.

Are the African elites ready to learn from the experience of the past three decades? Are they ready to undertake such reflection and question the types of society they have more or less implicitly formed over this period? Doubt has been cast on many things in sub-Saharan Africa in recent times, from the role of the state to the dogma of the single party. The projected reforms of education, higher education especially, have come up against particularly strong resistance - stronger than as regards other reforms provided for by the structural adjustment programmes. This is understandable since diplomas virtually legitimise the present ruling elites and their standard of living. It is easy to see why they are unwilling to abandon the system. And that is a key issue for the future of the subcontinent.


Education and training in the Caribbean

by Gerald C. LALOR

The region served by the University of the West Indies (UWI) extends from Belize on the Central American mainland in a wide arc, through the islands which delineate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, to Trinidad and Tobago just off the Venezuelan coast - and further south to Guyana on the mainland of South America. The total population of the region is only about 5.6 million but as shown in Table 1, many of the island countries are densely populated with; relatively low per capita domestic products.

The distances between countries can be quite large: Nassau, in the Bahamas, is 950 miles from Belize City, Belize, and some 1800 miles from Port of Spain, Trinidad. Transportation between the countries is reasonably good but can be time-consuming, even by air.

Recent years have been difficult for most of the countries and the level of external debt is very high indeed. Falling profits in the agricultural sector have been a burden and, despite heroic efforts, it is becoming no easier to meet many of the basic needs of the increasing populations. Prices for low technology products and raw materials are generally low and substitute materials threaten the markets for traditional products, while computer-assisted manufacturing and robotics erode many of the advantages of cheap labour. These all make quality education even more essential but problems of scale and inadequate finances have made its provision difficult. However, to some extent these problems have encouraged the sharing of educational resources at the university level across the region.

Caribbean educational systems

As a consequence of centuries of association with Britain, the education systems of the Commonwealth Caribbean are quite homogeneous. In each territory a Minister is responsible for the administration, operation, and overall development, of the system. All governments provide, at least to some extent, pre-school, primary, secondary, special, and post-secondary level education including vocational education, teacher training, and other programmes. In general, students in these countries read for the same examinations and seek entry to the same university.

Formal education begins at about six years of age. After five years at the primary level there is an 11 + examination which selects for the “ academic” stream of the secondary level. Another five years bring the student to the Ordinary level examinations of the Universities of Cambridge or London and, increasingly, of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) which has been set up to better reflect the needs and situation of the Caribbean. About one fifth of the candidates who have performed well at the ‘O’ level remain in school to complete the ‘A’ level which is a more specialised two-year course aimed largely at University admission.

Table 1: Some country indicators for the English-speaking Caribbean

The ‘O’ levels are, therefore, school leaving examinations for most of the students who then seek employment. Entry to the West Indian labour force with post-secondary education is very low and recruitment into public service, particularly in the smaller countries, is frequently done directly from the school system. The admission requirements to the tertiary colleges vary somewhat but are generally 4 or 5 CXC or GCE ‘O’ levels with some additional conditions.

Since independence, each decade has seen a very significant increase in student numbers and, necessary as this is, there have been problems. In some countries there are powerful statements about the low success levels and the poor quality of some programmes. For example, in Jamaica, mathematics and physics are reported to suffer greatly from an extreme shortage of qualified staff.

For most of the West Indies, education, particularly higher education, remains at a premium, and less than 1 % of the labour force are University graduates. Despite a population of over five million in the region, UWI has a student body numbering only 12 000 and this has only very recently been achieved. The numbers compare poorly with Latin America and South-East Asia, for example, and the comparison is particularly bad for the sciences and technology-based courses.

The shortage of middle-level technical and managerial manpower is a major constraint and so, too, is the scarcity of postgraduate and specialist level personnel needed to provide leadership and innovation, to ensure the efficient use of recent graduates, to aid in the transfer of technology, and to develop appropriate technologies. Training at this level is also inadequate. The need for more postgraduate training is felt particularly in the science-based and management disciplines where there is good correlation between the ability to advance scientific knowledge or to manage, and to use technology to generate national wealth.

The shortage of qualified personnel in the Caribbean is exacerbated by continuing migration. While the demand for education and training, both formal and informal, is large and continues to grow, expansion programmes are severely constrained by restricted finances and limited manpower. This must lead in some countries to a weakened capacity to generate new jobs, which in turn compounds the difficulties in retaining many of the best minds.

There is general agreement that all levels of the Caribbean education system require urgent attention, and the concern is how to manage the limited financial and human resources to maximise the efforts now being made and planned. In all this UWI must play a pivotal role.

The University of the West Indies

UWI is one of the only two regional universities worldwide. It is the successor institution to the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) which began teaching in 1948, in special relationship with the University of London, when 33 medical students entered the Mona campus, Jamaica. In the following year the Faculty of Natural Sciences admitted its first students and one year later the Faculty of Arts followed. UWI was designed as a very small elite school situated in Jamaica to serve the then perceived regional needs for medical doctors, teachers and the public service.

With independence, there were new opportunities and demands and the need for expansion was soon obvious. The former Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture at St. Augustine, Trinidad, became the site of the second campus in 1960. UCWI became the University of the West Indies in 1962, and the third campus, Cave Hill in Barbados, was established in 1963.

Table 2 shows the growth of student numbers. The breakdown by campus for 1989/90 is Mona - 5769; St. Augustine - 4166; Cave Hill 2264.

Table 2: Student numbers at UWI

These numbers illustrate the growth of student numbers and also emphasise the increasing significance of women in higher education. The percentage of female students overall is now 55% and there is every indication that this will continue to grow.

One consequence is that females greatly outnumber males at the secondary level in the teaching profession.


UWI now has eight faculties: Agriculture, Arts and General Studies, Education, Engineering, Law, Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences. There is considerable specialisation between campuses: Agriculture and Engineering are taught exclusively in Trinidad, and the second and third years of the Law degree in Barbados. Pre-clinical medicine is taught both in Jamaica and Trinidad, and Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine in Trinidad. Hotel Management and Tourism are taught in the Bahamas.

All the faculties prepare students for higher degrees including the Ph.D. Some masters degrees are by course work only, but others involve a considerable research element. Most postgraduate students are from the region but there is the desire to attract students from other countries.

In general the research patterns reflect the same specialisations but much effort is being made to encourage cross-campus and inter-faculty collaboration to strengthen the research base in areas such as agriculture, natural resources and environmental studies.


Continuing education has always been an important portfolio and is now receiving even more attention. The UWIDITE system, an interactive audio network supported by limited video, presently links the university centres in nine of the 14 contributing countries. This has made a great difference in providing credit and non-credit programmes across the Caribbean by allowing the beneficiaries to benefit without having to travel to a campus country. The provision of courses to teachers and trainers is particularly noteworthy. There are immediate plans for an upgrading and expansion of the UWIDITE system, both in technology and programmes to allow all the supporting territories to benefit and to place additional sites in the larger and/or multi-island states: UWIDITE will have a very significant effect on aspects of education.

UWI is involved in one way or other in most aspects of Caribbean education and particularly in teacher training. The University is becoming the hub of a network of the tertiary institutions and already the state colleges in the Bahamas, St. Lucia and Antigua are preparing students for UWI credits. This is expected to increase and it is expected, for example, that the Faculty of Agriculture will shortly assume close links with the various agricultural colleges of the region.

To support UWI’s outreach efforts, Offices of University services serve the non-campus countries. The Office in Cave Hill has a responsibility for the Eastern Caribbean states; the one in Mona deals with the Western Caribbean.

The financing of UWI

The university is funded through a University Grants Committee, and a Campus Grants Committee for each of the three campuses. The contributing governments pay by the number of students admitted on a per capita basis. Before 1984 the costs of students were averaged across faculties and campuses but since then, costs of students for each campus are calculated separately. These costs do not include indentifiable expenditures on research on special projects which are funded separately. The total budgets attributable to the governments, in millions of Jamaican dollars for 1989/90 are: Cave Hill: 125.311; Mona: 135.708; St. Augustine: 109.654. Total: 370.673.

The need for expansion

To date UWI has graduated 35 000 students - not a large number when the Caribbean population is considered. A large expansion of the undergraduate programme would require also the expansion of good education at the primary and secondary levels. But at present the applicants to UWI far exceed the number which can be accepted; in some areas the ratio of applicants to acceptances is as high as four or five to one. The need for additional educational opportunities at the tertiary level seems obvious. This cannot be met by UWI alone nor indeed is it likely to be met solely by conventional educational systems. The hub concept and UWIDITE are capable of real contributions but a great deal more will be necessary to meet the demands which the increasing population and the requirements of the next century will place on the Caribbean.

The role of the university

UWI is expected to do much more than serve the needs of the region for higher education. It is expected also to: contribute to the growth of knowledge and national and regional development; provide services of various types; and point the way to innovative solutions of problems.

One major priority of UWI is the application of science and technology to find appropriate solutions to the needs of the region. These efforts will include the development of science and enterprise parks in collaboration with the private sector. While the human resources available in the region for research is presently quite inadequate, UWI does possess significant staff resources and infrastructure in science, agriculture, and engineering. Collaboration with UWI is becoming more and more accepted and the Government of Jamaica’s recent Science Policy document states: “Thus effort will be made to harness the potential of university staff and their research students to produce data, methods, and information aimed at contributing to national development, and simultaneously to train personnel for continued development. Support will be given to the university to obtain funding for programmes, particularly those with regional impact.”

The governments appreciate the important role of the University and remain convinced that the regional nature of the institution should be preserved. Moreover, it must do so in a cost-efficient manner because the region as a whole is finding it increasingly difficult to finance even the basic needs of its people.

UWI has already made an enormous contribution to the region during its 42 years of existence. It has produced professionals of all types: teachers, medical doctors and support staff, clergy, lawyers, managers and staff of vital institutions including CARICOM; members of government including ministers and prime ministers and many others. Yet the conditions of the Caribbean are such that the job has really just begun. There is now a remarkable window of opportunity for UWI. If the University and the region it serves, including governments and the private sector, can rise to the challenge, it will truly continue, as the theme of its 40th anniversary celebrations puts it, to make a world of difference.


Trinidad and Tobago: the technical training institutes


Four hundred and fifty three man-months of technical aid to Trinidad and Tobago’s two state-controlled technical institutes were provided under the auspices of the European Development Fund (EDF) over the period September 1978 to June 1989.

This took the form of assignment of 12 technical agents: five to the John S. Donaldson Technical Institute (JSDTI) located in the capital city, Port of Spain, in the north; and, seven to the San Fernando Technical Institute (SFTI) in the City of San Fernando in the industrial south, roughly 50 kilometres away.

The latest model of SFTI which 50 its doors in 1980 is the successor entity of two precursor institutes. The first of these was the Junior Technical School which was transmuted as it were into the predecessor institute of its current version in the mid 1950s. Its northern counterpart commenced operations in the first quarter of 1963, long after it was built but less than a year after Trinidad and Tobago had achieved political independence. While perhaps not as spectacular a metamorphosis as SFTI the latter underwent significant physical and organisational expansion by way of absorption of the staff and facilities of the former USAID-sponsored Changuaramas Trade School in 1964, and later by the construction of a technical teacher-training facility opened in 1979 for teachers of so-called specialised craft subjects in the senior comprehensive schools of the general education system.

Both institutions fall under the direct supervision of an organisational unit of the Ministry of Education, namely, Division of Vocational and Technical Education and Training which also, in effect, functions as de facto secretariat of the National Training Board, a non-statutory body entrusted with a great deal of responsibility but with very little teeth.

In the early 1960s the institutes provided a wide variety of courses at primary (craftsman) and middle manpower (technician) levels, employing various kinds of vocational and technical organisation, e.g. full time, day release, part-time day, evening, and so on. These were principally in industrial and commercial and to a lesser extent in distributive and home-making occupations, but also included, in the case of JSDTI, was a professional course in land surveying, long since projected into the hallowed halls of academia at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.

What the course of education and training, not to mention industrial, development would otherwise have been, is perhaps a subject worthy of serious study by those who write about the history of education, and industrialisation, but suffice it to say that implementation of the new policy measures meant that the technical institutes were to phase out their craftsmen’s courses to the comprehensive school system and to expand and deepen technician education and training programmes. The technical institutes would have had to phase out their trade courses in any event as was initially planned, but in the new order of things, mirabile dictu, occupational education and training was to be incorporated into a general education milieu as a matter of policy.

This then was the backdrop to the advent of EDF technical assistance to the two institutes, sought in order to assist generally with the introduction of new middle-level courses, inauguration of teacher training at JSDTI and also to assist in the final commissioning of the spanking new technical institute of the industrial capital and to set it on a path of perdurable development. It was ushered in at JSDTI in September 1978, specifically for the design and conduct of an upgrading course for supervisors and engineering assistants engaged in the highway engineering section of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications and concurrently for the planning of an education and training course, for civil engineering technicians, not hitherto offered in Trinidad and Tobago. It began at the former SFTI in January 1979 when an instructor in welding technology assumed duties as a member of the teaching establishment there but who, in the circumstances of commissioning of the new institute, became quite heavily involved, more so than in teaching, in the work of supervising the selection, reconditioning and installation of laboratory and workshop equipment for practical work in welding and fabricating, and heat treatment technology.

By the time the last agent left more than 10 years later, the institutes between them had received in addition, but excluding technical teacher training, assistants in the following: architectural drafting, quantity surveying, automobile technology, industrial instrumentation, mechanical engineering, production engineering, civil engineering, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology and building construction.

Mandates of technical agents

Overall, the objectives of technical assistance were promoted on the basis of individual contracts between agents and the European Association for Cooperation. The relevant mandates reflected an interesting farrago of duties from which one common element emerged, namely, responsibility for teaching, but some agents were to become more heavily involved in this than others.

Other duties correlated with technology transfer were included to varying degrees. In the case of four agents, all mandated duties were exactly the same as those stated in the job descriptions of regular full-time teaching staff, and for these same agents there were no specifically assigned responsibilities for curriculum development; nor were there any indications that they had to train counterpart staff in any way whatsoever; they were teachers, plain and simple, according to their remits. The job outlines of six other agents included a specific responsibility for assistance with training either or both counterpart teaching and ancillary support staff, the latter being either laboratory technicians or workshop attendants; and they also had a responsibility for assisting with curriculum development.

The average period of attachment of the technical agents was approximately three years; the longest tour roughly was nine years. The contractual periods of five agents were extended on more than one occasion in the case of at least two of them. Although mandates invariably designated agents as being assigned to one or other institute, some agents undertook work in both, by request.

Impact of technical assistance

In the industrial cycle, raw materials are transformed into finished products by the application of capital and skilled manpower (engineers, technicians, craftsmen and the like). Considering an analogy of this dynamic cycle in the world of occupational preparation is the typical scenario: unskilled manpower (the raw materials) being transformed behaviourally into skilled manpower (finished products) by means of the employment of capital assets and the technical and technological capability (including the brains and the skills) of the instructional staff. Training may thus be regarded as part of the construct of the elusive concept, technology transfer. As in the case of industry, where efficiency of any particular technology may be assessed by estimating value-added for specific configurations of capital and manpower mix (typically, value-added per worker and value-added per unit of capital employed), we could similarly attempt to assess the efficiency of technology transfer in a training situation. This could be done by determining, say, output of skilled workers per man-hour of training, and numbers of skilled workers trained per dollar of capital employed or as in this case, per dollar or ecu of technical assistance provided.

The major benefits of technical assistance were projected to be derived from transfer of technology to the local trainers of the new courses being introduced. The kind of analysis referred to in the foregoing was rendered impossible, however, because, with the exception of a few agents who kept detailed records of their work, the necessary dates were unavailable. In the circumstances, therefore, only an account is given of those aspects of technology transfer as they relate to: (i) training of trainers and ancillary staff; and, (ii) training needs in terms of curriculum design and associated infrastructure.

Training of local trainers and ancillary staff

As far as limited institutional training resources permitted, technical agents were assigned local counterpart teaching staff or ancillary staff or both, sometimes even when this was not specifically indicated by mandate, but more often than not on the basis of Hobson’s choice. Suitably qualified staff to teach, let alone serve as effective counterparts were, to put it mildly, extremely thin on the ground. And in the majority of cases the local staff assigned had little or no industrial experience and hardly any practical skills. Under-staffing also meant that agents were frequently called upon to perform marathon sessions of classroom teaching, leaving very little time for anything else; so much “chalk and talk” that vital laboratory demonstration exercises for example had often to be cancelled. Altogether, 12 trainer counterparts were assigned but at the time of writing only eight of these were still in teaching at the institutes.

Constraints upon performance

The major factors which militated against the impact of technical assistance were:

Because of the unavailability of local full-time staff, caused by inability to fill vacancies or for other reasons, it became necessary for some agents to undertake substitute teaching apart from meeting their own teaching commitments, resulting in some cases in student contact instruction of 25 h-30 h per week. This excessive teaching load allowed little time for anything else, with consequent losses in transfer-of-technology benefits. Staff shortages also created difficulties with scheduling of training sessions with counterpart staff.

Because of either the unavailability of equipment or acquisition of unsuitable equipment, practical work including “ hands-on “ training suffered with resultant diminution in the impact of teaching and technology transfer. Training also suffered because of poor accommodation, specifically the northern wing of JSDTI.

The absence of a fellowship component operating in concert with technical assistance to supplement the work of technical agents with local trainers, resulted in delays in implementing proposals for succession planning - and deepening of the technology-transfer process.

Lack of coordination in implementation of technical assistance

Although there were present at the same time in Trinidad and Tobago and for fairly long periods of time several agents involved in the work of the two technical institutes, no attempts on the part of either governmental or EEC agencies were made to integrate their work in a coordinated frame such that the institutes might have derived the most from the efforts of the agents acting in concert as one unit as opposed to individual inclination. Two examples stand out: development of the education and training programmes for construction and air-conditioning and refrigeration. Such a mechanism might have undoubtedly reduced, if not altogether eliminated, the open conflicts between agents which arose in the field over a number of technical issues.

Problems arose where the contracts of agents whose responsibilities focused on teaching, ended before courses did, thereby necessitating approaches to relevant authorities for extensions which did not always come in a timely manner. Thus agents’ performances were adversely affected.

By any reasonable standard of assessment, it could be concluded that the John S. Donaldson and San Fernando Technical Institutes fairly benefited from the technical assistance sponsored by the European Communities over the period 1978 to 1989.

As these institutes move to the status of schools of advanced science and technology, there can be little doubt that further technical assistance from the EEC and possibly also from other multilateral and bilateral agencies will be required in order that they may be restructured.

The experience gained from this, the first wave of technical assistance, should serve as guidance for avoidance of glitches and pitfalls and suggests that in the mounting of successor schemes, planning and implementation should be done on the basis of a cooperative project involving the institutes, relevant governmental agencies, representatives of industry and the local office of the Delegate of the Commission of the European Communities, and which would include twinning arrangements with suitable education and training institutions abroad.



by BartholomMAT ARMENGOL and Jean-Pierre DUBOIS

Financial aspects and geographical breakdown

Education and training accounted for about 16% of total commitments to the Associated States of Africa and Madagascar under the 1st EDF, but their share had dropped considerably, to only 9 %, by the 4th EDF (Lom).

Under LomI, national and regional training schemes represented about ECU 268 m, i.e. slightly more than 8% of the 5th EDF (national and regional) programme funds, and there were training operations in some of the projects on top of this. But the vast majority (85 % of operations and 87 % of investment) was independent of projects and in most cases involved multiannual training programmes consisting mainly of study grants, seminars and tailormade technical assistance operations.

The situation in the different regions varied widely, with a high percentage of training schemes in Southern Africa and the Caribbean and a very low one in Central Africa and in the Horn (see box).

With LomII, the current total for known training schemes - i.e. both tied to and independent of projects and programmes - approaches the ECU 265 m mark, which is roughly 5.6% of (national and regional) programme funds under the 6th EDF. There is a difference with LomI here, in that this amount includes the training component of the major programmes and a reasonable assessment of the sums spent on education in the projects and programmes which went before the EDF Committee in 1989.

Regional differences persist. Although training schemes account for 5.6% of the 6th EDF programme funds overall, the Southern African percentage is far greater than that. The Caribbean figure is almost entirely accounted for by a heavy regional training component, as it was under LomI, while Southern Africa has a very large number of training (in the formal sense of the word) projects at both national and regional level.

And training represents a very small percentage of EDF-financed schemes in Central Africa, as it does in the Horn.

Lastly, the major training component in the coastal states of West Africa is very largely due to the emphasis on training schemes in Nigeria.

Multiannual training programmes are a thing of the past almost everywhere, but independent projects still account for a considerable volume of activity and investment and understandably so, since training programmes cannot just confine them-selves to the requirements of the focal sector, but have to bear general needs in mind too.

So, in financial terms, training schemes account for less under LomII than they did under LomI (ECU 265 m, or 5.6% of programme funds, as compared to ECU 268 m, or 8%).

This overall reduction works out very differently in the regions. Whereas the amounts spent on projects remain comparable in coastal and East Africa, there is an increase in Southern Africa and West Africa and a drop in Central Africa - a trend which has emerged among the funders too and in the countries South of the Sahara, which have been spending less and less on education over the past few years.

This decline in the amount the Community channels into training reflects the ACPs’ own reservations about their education and training systems - many of them seem to put no priority on educational support, in spite of the negative effect which structural adjustment programmes have on their education budget - as well as a change in the kind of schemes which it finances.

Sectoral aspects

The Community began by financing educational infrastructure and then gradually added to this, from Yaound onwards, by paying for study grants and courses, sending out teaching staff, running special vocational training programmes and, more recently, promoting cooperation between institutions and universities.

The percentage of financing spent on infrastructure has decreased over the various Conventions and that spent on technical assistance and grants considerably increased.

Since the 1st EDF, the Community has financed a large number of primary and secondary education schemes, mainly building schools and teacher training, and this has partly continued under Lom11, in particular with financing for microprojects and refugee relief programmes (Article 204 of LomII) and, in some cases, use of the counterpart funds accruing from the various instruments.

But the bulk of Community aid has gone into the tertiary sector, both (and above all) into building and equipment and then, under LomI especially, increasingly into support packages combining technical assistance with equipment, staff improvement programmes, study grants and building and rehabilitation.

This tertiary sector drive includes general backing for universities and more targeted support, particularly for vocational technical training, science and mathematics, management, statistics, rural development and animal and human health, and it reflects a general trend among the funders and the ACP countries themselves, all of which have channelled a huge percentage of resources into education and advanced training.

The inter-institutional and inter-university cooperation of which there were one or two cases under Lom has been stepped up considerably under LomI, the largest number of schemes being in Nigeria and the countries of Southern Africa. The Third Convention in fact emphasises the importance of this departure and the Community cannot but encourage it.

Community-financed technical cooperation has taken other forms too. Funds have been provided for one or two trainer-experts in education ministries to help with the identification and running of training schemes in Swaziland (technical assistance at the Ministry of Education), Nigeria (formation of a Training Support Unit taking in the National Universities Commission, the NAO, the Ministry of Technology and the Ministry of Education), Sudan (Sudanese technical assistance with running the training programme) and Tanzania (in the big ASSP programme). But this type of cooperation remains an exception as far as the Community is concerned.

More common is the support given to ACP training institutions, often in the form of internal technical assistance with management, teaching or staff improvement programmes, as follows:

- Management support for programmes to put people in the picture about anti-desertification in the Sahel and in the coastal states of West Africa.

- Teaching support for institutions - pre-university science and mathematics training in various countries of Southern Africa, support for the University of Swaziland, for the Veterinary Faculty of Zimbabwe University, for Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria etc.

- Staff Improvement Programmes - support for Makerere (Uganda), Uniswa (Swaziland), etc.

Another form of technical assistance involves organising ad hoc training courses locally, with European technical assistance, preferably as part of major programmes (such as the development of the Mono in Benin and support for training in the cooperative movement in Tanzania).

EEC and/or ACP consultants may also be sent out to identify training programmes, as has happened in Sudan, Nigeria, Swaziland, Uganda, the Solomon Islands, Benin and so on.

And there are the scholarship programmes. Although aid for training seems to involve a constantly dwindling number of study grants (this includes those for Europe), the decline is far from being as great as figures suggest, because LomII grants only began to be committed in late 1988 and the biggest commitments are yet to come.

The majority of ACP grant-holders in Europe study in the United Kingdom, followed by France and Belgium. This is easily explained by the traditional links with the former metropolises and by the fact that English-speaking ACP countries predominate. Language plays its part here, in spite of the effort some Member States have made with specialised (often post-graduate) programmes in English and/or French for developing country nationals.

Aspects of implementation

The Community began by financing training schemes, mainly through its multiannual training programmes - tailor-made study grant and technical assistance package.

LomII made an important change here and one which reflected an attitude which many funders adopted too. It involved focusing aid on certain sectors and, therefore, integrating the training schemes into the various programmes and projects, thus bringing the courses more into line with the specific needs of the economy and perhaps ensuring a better spread of training possibilities, to the benefit of informal and professional vocational subjects, so as to help make for greater democracy of opportunity.

The programming of programme-and project-linked training schemes fell badly behind under LomII. In many cases, the relevant training was not even identified, let alone provided, before the arrival of the technical assistance team responsible for running the programme, and some times not so for several years after approval of the programme by the Commission.

At the same time, specific support for national and regional training institutes is of course still possible under LomII and many such operations have been run. And there are training programmes which are based on studies of exact needs and better integrated than the old multiannual ones used to be.

The Community is now making a considerable effort to improve its identification and programming of training schemes - an effort which may help to explain the delay in financial commitments - but it still does not have the human resources it needs, either in Brussels or in the Delegations, to improve the quality and quantity of these operations. Accordingly there is no guarantee of proper follow-up. The decline in the relative value of training funds from Lom l to LomII in fact corresponds to a considerable increase in the number of training schemes, particularly in Southern Africa and Nigeria.

The various aspects of the volume of finance channelled into training schemes are not necessarily significant, although the decline in resources spent on education and training does not, of course suggest that it is high on the Community’s list of priorities. The decisive thing is the contribution which training makes to the viability of development projects and to the improvement of training institutes required for national development. This contribution will be improved by a more precise definition of training needs and by tighter contol at the stage of project definition.

This means that, even though the Community does not see training and education as a priority in its relations with the ACPs, its work in this field is vital nonetheless, bearing in mind the restrictive attitude of many of the funders and the reluctance of the ACP countries themselves.

The Community still has an effort to make here, however, as in many cases it has still not managed to bring in the training schemes needed to improve the viability of development projects.

B.A.A. J.-P.D.

Lomé II and III: funds allocated to training-related operations

The European Development Fund’s resources under the Lomonventions are allocated to national or regional programmes designed jointly by the Commission of the European Communities and its ACP partners. Where the ACP States so wish, some of the resources are spent on training in the individual countries or in a regional context, for example in cooperation with organisations such as the SADCC or specialised ACP or EEC training institutes. For the purposes of regional cooperation, the ACP States are divided into eight regions.

Regional breakdown of proportion of national funds under LomI and LomII allocated to training (%)

Regional programmes (%)

Training schemes can be part of other EDF-financed development projects, depending on sectoral priorities, or they can stand alone. Training components are supported by an array of accompanying measures ranging from construction work to technical assistance.

National Indicative Programmes

In none of the eight regions was more than 20 % of national programme resources allocated to training under LomI and LomII. East, West and Southern Africa and the Sahel accounted for 87 % of Africa’s share of training funds. Africa’s share of total training funds rose to 94%.

Though more resources were available under LomII, fewer funds were allocated to training.

Under LomI, 11% of funds went to training. This figure fell to just over 8% under LomII.

Central, Southern and West Africa and the Caribbean accounted for 90% of regional training funds.

There was no training component in the Pacific region.

Sectoral breakdown

Under LomI, all regions channelled at least 40% of their national training funds through comprehensive training programmes.

There was a trend under LomII to increase the amounts allocated to training components within other projects (up from 7 % to 3 1%). Reflecting the policy shift, more funds were directed towards agricultural projects, with a corresponding decrease in industrial investment. However, services still accounted for one fifth of the funds allocated to training.

Cultural projects came on the scene for the first time.


Purely agricultural training projects accounted for 5 % of total national training funds under LomI, with approximately one third of the projects in East Africa, but the percentage doubled when agriculture-related projects were included, rising to 33 % under LomII.


At least 30% of LomI training funds in East and Southern Africa went on industrial training and 17 of the 19 projects were in these two regions.

The same applied under LomII.

Other sectors

Training operations accounting for approximately one third of national training funds appeared under this “ mixed “ heading, showing a quantity of projects associated with various sectors.

Technical assistance, scholarship and infrastructure content of training operations (%)

Regional funds (%)

Level of training

The tendency, especially in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions, has been to concentrate on university or vocational training. However, operations at primary and secondary levels did increase under LomII (17 out of 131). This applied to regional programmes as well. Higher-level training often included a technical component.

It is often difficult to identify the individual components of training operations but the table below gives an idea of the breakdown.

When we consider that funds for national indicative programmes increased under LomII as compared to LomI, it is disappointing to note that expenditure on training in fact decreased, relatively speaking.

Generally, resources have been directed where the need is greatest and the trend has been towards integrating training into projects ab initio.

The links between training and production: the example of Senegal

Educational reform was undertaken in 1971 and 1972, but its failings, particularly on the technical and vocational side, were such that a general conference on education and training had to be held in 1981.

After this, the National Reform Commission invited the Education Ministry to set up the “ New School “, a new departure which, according to the country’s 7th Development Plan, was aimed, inter alia, at extending vocational education and bringing the quantity and quality of vocational training more into line with the needs of the employment market.

The schemes involved here include the creation and development of CRFPs - Regional Vocational Training Centres - in the interior, to promote economic activity in all branches of the modern, traditional and informal sectors which either presently exist or which could be encouraged in the rural areas.

The 5th EDF has financed a detailed study of two regions - Saint Louis and Ziguinchor - where the problem of tailoring training to present and future employment is particularly acute.

Saint Louis

The Senegal Valley development policy, involving the gradual development of irrigated farming and directly and indirectly allied activities, was the cause of some upheaval, particularly on rural life, in the St. Louis region. It resulted in concentration of population in areas by the river, development potential for agro-food industries, activities prompted by the increase in irrigated crops and a change in traditional methods resulting either in unemployment or emigration.

The education system had to meet the demands of this situation and ensure that the extension of irrigation and improvements to growing methods would indeed make it possible to reactivate the economy and encourage other development possibilities (in fishing, craft linked to production systems, intensive animal rearing and so on).

Surveys of businessmen, producers (in the modern sector) and operators in the craft sector (masters, qualified craftsmen and apprentices) revealed that there were considerable needs to be met at virtually every level. Technical training for specific posts and a higher standard of literacy in the modern sector, as well as training and advanced technical skills in administration, financial management and production organisation in the craft sector were called for.

General training (in French and mathematics) for apprentices is seen as a priority (being the stepping stone to technical qualifications), as is a more specific grounding in general mechanics, metalwork, welding, furniture assembly, clothing manufacture and electronics.


This area has very sound physical and climatic potential when it comes to the sort of development that is focused on agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism.

Surveys suggest that requirements in the modern sector hinge on improving general and technical knowledge, perfecting work organisation and developing in-service training.

Professionals consulted in the informal sector stress that training arrangements should be compatible with craft production methods (and involve evening classes and crash courses). Priority for apprentices is on literacy and training in technology, followed by mechanics and electrics.

The whole idea of the CRFPs is to set up decentralised training structures that are flexible and can be constantly adapted to the needs of the economy in the regions concerned. In practice, this adaptability is achieved, in particular, by having all the region’s economic operators (administrators, professional organisations, businessmen and the users themselves) involved in defining the training schemes.

It is the CRFP’s job to assist the aforementioned category of young person, namely those already outside the school system or taken out of courses by an apprenticeship.

The beneficiaries of the scheme are craftsmen and manual workers, people in charge of groups and associations (of women, youngsters, villagers etc), apprentices, lower secondary school pupils who cannot follow vocational training courses, small bosses in trade and industry and women (additional training and job creation).

On offer are technical, practical and theory classes (in construction techniques, ironwork, woodwork and mechanics) for craftsmen and manual workers, additional training (in literacy, current events etc), educational training for selected craftsmen with a view to passing on technical skills to apprentices, basic training for apprentices and courses to bring young people in a learning situation up to standard.

The training schemes are designed to cater for needs, in the light of local resources and in coordination with the other people involved (businessmen, professional organisations and so on), and they can therefore be altered or amended from one year to the next to provide the best possible response to the demands of the labour market and the sectoral policies of the Government.

General principles of training

The Centres’ educational principles involve ensuring a constant link between training and production, which of course means developing the sort of educational engineering which will provide permanent diagnostic, design and evaluation facilities.

Other, equally vital principles behind the coherence of training and production include alternating theory and practice, producing utilitarian objects in the workshops, getting teams of teachers and students to fit out their own workshops, access to local workshops and, lastly, issuing formal qualifications in the light of the profession’s recognition of skills actually acquired. If there is no reference to national diplomas, then there will be no slippage into fields already amply catered for by the surplus diploma-holders turned out by many conventional training institutions.

Education and training schemes under Lomé IV


Articles 150 and 151 of the new Convention (in annex) describe priority education and training schemes.

Education and training needs are to be identified at the programming stage (i.e. in the indicative programme), a requirement which also applies to projects and programmes to be financed from the counterpart funds. They are to be geared to the sectoral aims of the indicative programme and are therefore linked to Community aid - a LomV innovation which should make for the fastest possible implementation of training schemes.

These training schemes may be clearly identified, integrated programmes and preferably run in focal sectors, although this does not rule out those in other sectors too.

All major development programmes will have to have training sections which start up, if possible, before the programmes themselves and not several years afterwards as was often the case under LomII.

Level of education

Article 151 of LomV contains an important change in that it puts priority in this field on support for primary education and literacy schemes - a response to what is a totally reasonable request from the ACPs, bearing in mind the general state of their primary schools. This is another of LomV’s innovations.

Nevertheless, in view of the Community’s present experience of higher education and technical and vocational training, some importance must be placed on continuing support in these two areas, with local training courses in ACP institutions still to the fore and regional training institutions getting priority.

The Community’s support for higher education and technical and vocational training will still be geared to:

- keeping the teachers in their jobs and improving the intellectual and material environment of teaching in various ways, with staff improvement programmes, management support, research support (particularly in libraries) and help with building accommodation for teachers;

- regional training institutions, perhaps with a grants fund (supplied by the regional funds and allocated for courses in regional institutions), and inter-university cooperation;

- rehabilitating buildings and equipment.

Education and the social aspects of adjustment

Education may be an essential part of the social dimension of adjustment policies and one which the Community may want to single out with the World Bank - i.e. where appropriate, to discuss projected adjustment measures and reforms affecting the whole of the system of education with the World Bank and the ACPs concerned. This is something which did not happen under LomII and it is the most important innovation of the new Convention.

The Community could run a basic sectoral dialogue here, on the country’s education policy, within certain limits and with a view to two kinds of financial support:

(i) to formulate particular aspects of the education policy envisaged within the framework of an adjustment programme. This could be in the form of technical assistance;

(ii) to encourage particular schemes. This could be combined with technical assistance.

Given its limited human and financial possibilities at the moment, it can only hope to have such discussions with a limited number of ACP countries. Most of its training schemes, in fact, will be a continuation of work done under LomII.

And it will have to adopt a very gradual approach to commitments in this limited number of countries, initially only agreeing to the possible financing of some aspects of the educational reforms which the ACP and the World Bank propose if these aspects are in line with Community objectives.

With education policies, it has to be realised that the effect of measures which are proposed to, forced upon or chosen by a country is never the anticipated one, as the following example show:

- It may seem legitimate, as the World Bank systematically suggests, to support primary and secondary schooling to the detriment of higher education, although without always asking why attendance is poor.

- Another problem is that a number of funders systematically support educational reforms which put far more stress on technical and vocational training than general courses. Is this effective when it comes to looking for a job? And is it financially justified?

The Community will be especially careful to take the individual features of the various education systems into account, as their costs (of salaries, supervision etc), for example, may be made up in different countries in different ways. And it will be sure to go for the restrictive measures that are socially the least difficult to apply.

The Community might envisage an educational SIP (Special Import Programme) under certain conditions, a useful instrument, particularly when it comes to delivering the teaching materials and equipment that are vital to the running of all or part of an education system.

It is important to realise that the Community does not have the human resources to start up a proper dialogue on these issues with the ACP institutions.

So the first risk it runs is of wasting these meagre resources in its relations with other funders, some of whom, the World Bank for example, are in a de facto position of dominance. The Community’s relations with this body are in fact outpacing its relations with the ACP countries, perverting LomV dangerously and entailing a real political risk.

The second risk is that of forcing the ACPs to undertake educational reforms without an adequate knowledge of their institutions and without a thoroughgoing dialogue with them. So the ACPs have to know what they want and to tell the Community so.


Jamaica: developing sheep and goat farming

Jamaicans cannot live by rum alone; at least part of their income derives from their goat herds. One Jamaican farmer in three owns goats, and the country as a whole boasts a total of some 250 000 heads. (Sheep on the other hand are rare, with only 2000 or so on the island). Goat meat is in high demand: curried goat (reportedly delicious) is a national dish, and cuts fetch the same sort of retail prices locally as beef or pork. Neither the sheep-meat nor the goat-meat produced locally is sufficient for local consumption, however, and 20-30 % of both types of meat are at present being imported. The EEC-funded Sheep and Goat Project, initiated in 1987 and set to run until 1995 or so, has its objectives to reduce these imports, permit better use of skins, upgrade small farmers’ incomes, and generally improve the sector’s economy.

Jamaica’s goats are bred principally for meat, with only a few (Anglo-Nubians in particular) kept for dairy purposes. Goat-owning farmers usually work very small acreages (two acres or so, often including rocky lands), and the goats rarely constitute the farmers’ principal source of income. Jamaica has only one state farm, Hounslow, producing milk which is processed by Dairy Industries Jamaica Ltd. Of the island’s total herd, some 185 000 are breeding does, producing, on average, four to five kids over two years, with the kids sold at about 10 months.

Farmers associations formed

The Sheep and Goat Project covers the whole country and, through a network of local associations, a maximum of farmers are involved. The associations (often built around existing “ micro initiatives “ involving goat rearing in one way or another) are designed to be as self-reliant as possible, dealing with their own administrative matters and development with a minimum of outside help. They consist of between 15 and 60 members and cover an area of some seven miles in diameter. Bigger groupings are impractical: transport is scarce, and the farmers, who are often very poor, have to walk, sometimes barefoot, to association meetings. When the groups are formed, five or six members are elected as an “executive” and standard statutes are adopted. A stock of basic medicines, worth some Jam. $ 1000 is given to them, and one of their responsibilities will be to manage the stock in common to their best advantage.

By the end of November 1989 some 49 associations of this kind had been established in the island, with a total membership of 1418. Numbers were growing rapidly, and in April 1989 a National Association was formed, with each local association sending a delegate with voting power commensurate with his or her association.

A key element in the project has been Hounslow Farm, a state farm created in 1983 from a nucleus of 70 dairy goats imported from Canada. Hounslow Farm’s role is to produce improved breeding stock for farmers and to provide training facilities. The farm now has 200 breeding does and, despite a considerable shortage of both funds and equipment, the animals are kept in reasonable health.

Practical help

The Jamaican breeders receive practical assistance in a number of forms. Firstly, there is the batch of medicines mentioned earlier, which the Association buys wholesale and sells to its members at a mark-up of some 30 %. The medicines include vitamins, disinfectant sprays, an antibiotic, drugs for use against external parasites, syrups and syringes. Field days are organised during which the medicines are delivered and their use demonstrated. This kind of assistance is perhaps the most useful that the project provides, because the vast majority of Jamaica’s goat breeders have never before treated their animals, nor made use of the services of vets. Now, through the associations, they have easy access to medicines, in appropriately small quantities, at reasonable prices.

A further initiative has been the tattooing programme, the object of which was to permit individual goats’ performances to be monitored, such is already the practice at Hounslow. Farmers have shown great interest in this possibility, though not always, it has to be said, for the intended purpose, but rather because tattooing helps in the battle against goat stealing, which is a major problem on the island.

A recent survey conducted within the project showed that only 13% of Jamaica’s farmers owned a goat-house, even of the most elementary kind. It seemed useful, therefore, to devise a simple house, suitable for humid conditions (with a slatted floor, for example) and made with inexpensive materials, whose construction could be demonstrated to farmers by means of a scaled-down model, since farmers often found plans difficult to decipher.

A further area in which the project sought to make progress was nutrition. The south coast of Jamaica, in particular, experiences a shortage of fodder during the dry season (January to April), and the hope had been to devise means of providing adequate supplies of feedstuffs year round. Experiments are being carried out with storing some of the rainy season’s excess grass in small containers, but more experimentation is needed to find the optimum solution to the dry-season shortfall.

Finally, the project provides for the demonstration of proper slaughter and skinning methods, and training in leathercraft has been on offer. The latter took the form of two 3-week courses which were attended by association nominees. Those who had attended the course were asked in turn to train the other members of their association.

An objective about to be achieved is the publication of a three-monthly newsletter, “ Jamaica Sheep and Goat News”, which will carry technical articles, news about local developments in the field, advertisements and space for members to write of their own experiences or preoccupations.

Though the project is, by the admission of those running it, “still far from perfect”, its structure is well established and the goat farmers are well able to manage it themselves. Priority areas for future assistance include animal nutrition, the development of small-scale goat milk production and the reshaping of the tanning and leathercraft businesses. But, with its wide impact on Jamaica’s farming population, the project is already achieving many of the objectives it set itself.

Human Rights - equal ones!

In 1948, the United Nations adopted an International Bill of Rights laying down the fundamental human rights to which every individual is entitled and all the members of the Organisation agree with the principle of them. But although all the countries in the UN subscribe to the Declaration of Human Rights in theory, do they do so in practice? This is a question which anyone can answer, regardless of degree of development or instruction.

The prime intellectual and human concern of peoples and individuals in many parts of the world is their fundamental rights, which, contrary to what some say, come before all others - the rights to food, to clothing, to shelter and so on. The events in Eastern Europe in 1989, the permanent state of affairs in Central and South America and the tides which are beginning to turn in Africa reflect people’s increasing awareness and maturity about their claim for human rights.

Look at the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and you may well wonder why there are still places where these natural and seemingly obvious rights do not apply. But there are...

The end of the ‘80s and the beginning of the ‘90s have been, typically, a time of great concern about getting human rights recognised in parts of the world where they have long been denied. There is a manifest desire for this elsewhere, too, and the UN is hopeful about this wish - everybody’s wish - being granted one day.

A constant concern of the Lomegotiators has been the “promotion” of human rights and, after an opening in LomI, the subject was taken up in LomII as being inseparable from the aims of development. It comes into its own in LomV.

In view of the way in which Lomas evolved, we print the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.


Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

1. Everyone has the right to own property alone, as well as in association with others.

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realisation, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organisation and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised.

Article 29.

1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

2. In the exercise of these rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Religion in Africa

by Bernard Nkuissi

Periodically, African religion hits the headlines, usually because of the appearance (or disappearance) of personalities such as the “prophetess” Alice “Lakwena” in Uganda or sects such as Joseph Kony’s “Army of the Holy Spirit”, another Ugandan phenomenon, but with “guiding spirits” from elsewhere - two Sudanese, a Zaan, three Americans and two Chinese. Many of these sects tend to mix forms of belief.

Another side of African religion is its cultural appropriation from non-African faiths. The “ Zaan rite”, for example, long posed a problem to the Catholic authorities until, in 1988, a decree from the Curia of Rome recognised most of its liturgical practices - dancing (by priest and congregation alike) during the mass, the playing of instruments like gongs and tam tams (but a ban on ceremonial spears), the inclusion of “ righteous “ ancestors in the litany of saints, pagne cloths used as liturgical garments, and particular positions adopted (not standing up for the gospel, for example, as in Europe, but remaining seated, as if listening to the words of a traditional chief).

There are two barriers to the study of traditional religions - the absence of written sources and the close link between local faith and tribe. As J.S. Mbiti said, “There are about a thousand African peoples and they all have their own religion”. Faith and everyday life are indeed so closely linked that any investigation of religions must take in all the individual, family and social practices as well.

But it is worth the effort, apart from considerations of philosophy, theology or sociology, for religion affects the economic, social and even political life of the nation. As the geographer Daniel Dory said, religious factors “ help shape the land and carve the landscape... There is a correlation between religions and settlement (types of housing, the rural exodus and urban development), the overturning of the productive forces and changing socio-economic relationships (the introduction of a money economy, changing agricultural techniques, industrialisation)... It is interesting to see the effect Christianity has had on the process of modernisation in contemporary Africa. Although much has been made of its role in health and education, far less attention has been paid to the ultimate consequences of such things as the encouragement of smaller families (by abandoning polygamy) and the emergence of individualism that is at variance with traditional community behaviour “.

Lastly, the link between religion and politics is clear. It was apparent at the time of colonisation and at the time of independence and it is apparent again now, in such things as the action of the churches in South Africa.

This, then, is the scene in which the following article by Bernard Nkuissi is set.

The old idea that Africa, particularly Black Africa, is a continent steeped in religion and that the Blacks are incurably religious should be taken with a large pinch of salt. It would in fact imply something else, that Africa is (still) the last bastion of religion, with all the pejorative connotations that go with it - which is why it seems advisable to make a preliminary remark on the religious phenomenon in general, a better grasp of which can be obtained by dividing human life into the profane (which man masters through science and technology) and the sacred (which he neither understands nor controls but is influenced by), two concentric circles, with man in the middle. When the profane circle tightens around man, he comes into immediate and permanent contact with the sacred and when, thanks to progress in science and technology, the profane circle expands, the sacred withdraws and fades into an ever more distant horizon, although without disappearing altogether. And as it withdraws, the demarcation line (the circumference) between the sacred and the profane gets longer and the sacred is less present and less pressing, but vaster. Religion (from the Latin word “ religare”, to bind) has to manage relations between the sacred and profane, providing a response to man’s deep-seated aspirations as a complement to or replacement for the solutions put forward by science and technology.

It would be wrong to approach African religion as something to be eradicated. This would be failing to understand that the religious phenomenon is at the heart of the human phenomenon. All civilisations and all continents are marked by it, in different but very real ways. Religion is not a temptation, but a demand. Many an atheist is the Monsieur Jourdain (a posturing character in Moli’s play “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”) of religion. The problem is not knowing whether to be religious, but how.

This article sets out to give a picture of religion in Africa today and to highlight one or two strategic questions related to it. There is little choice but to give a brief outline of what is a highly complex matter. The subject of religion is complex, individual religions are complex and Africa is - or maybe the Africans are complex, and such things as messianism and sects are worth more than a few lines.

Traditional religions in Africa

The piecemeal nature of culture and religion in traditional Africa is too obvious to deny, but there is some degree of religious unity, as modern Africa specialists are increasingly willing to admit, and we have it as our basic principle. What is it based on? There are several valid expressions of and approaches to it, but we have taken life itself as the unifying factor of the traditional religions of Africa.

Religions in Africa

“Vitalism”, the basis of traditional religion

Religion is often said to permeate life in Africa to the point where it is difficult to separate sacred and profane, and the reason for it is that the quest of the African soul is focused on life, a life that has to be preserved, extended and transmitted. This is vitalism or even pan-vitalism and it can be elucidated by reference to a number of its basic tenets.

1. Everything is life. Life is being. Inanimate beings and the dead are also living but otherwise. The way, the quality and the intensity of their living is different, but the life is identical.

2. Life is shared among individuals. Life is not a formless mass. It is divided into parts which individuals take and these individuals have features which distinguish them from each other, so they can be split into different categories and classes (tribes, races, etc.)

3. Life is never still. It moves among individuals, regardless of what species they may belong to, creating permanent solidarity. There are rules governing this movement - of which the various human activities (culture, feeding, teaching, curing, dying etc) are aspects - and they must be known and respected if disaster is to be avoided.

4. The aim of both the individual and society is to preserve life as well and as long as possible. This means being in the centre of a favourable network of solidarity - with the physical world and the cosmos and with the ancestors and the descendants - and using the appropriate techniques to close any gaps in it.

5. Religion is needed for two reasons - to manage the vital flows between sacred and profane and to make up for the shortcomings and inadequacies of profane science and technology. Myths and beliefs supplement or replace science, just as liturgical rites and magic supplement or replace technology. And sometimes, because prevention is better than cure, religion alone is used to ensure certain knowledge and effective action.

Elements of African religion

This basic element which defines African religion can be used to derive others reflecting other aspects such as beliefs, practices and organisation.

1. Belief in a Supreme God (Using the word God, Supreme Being or any other word is not important). All communities have one or more terms for this Living Reality which is looked upon as a person who is ultimately responsible for life, the Life Supreme, let us say, both the Distant One, the Transcendent and the Invisible, as well as the Near One, who can hear a murmured request and change life flows.

Religions in Africa

2. Man, who has a special, privileged status. The universe, i.e. the cosmic geographical space that this community has appropriated, provides him with elements which can be used a profound humanism to which rites and practices have blinded some European observers. These elements (air, fire, minerals, plants, animals and so on) are vehicles for or receptacles of vital energy. They are useful, but they can be dangerous and harmful if they are manipulated clumsily or with ill intent.

Man goes through several conditions of life successively, and sometimes simultaneously. He has a life on earth and a life beyond, before birth or after death. He usually lives his earthly life in a human body, although he may also live it in an animal body (totem), a plant body or no body at all.

The unity of the individual is fundamental. In some mysterious way, everything which has ever belonged to him maintains its links, which is why it is possible to affect someone from a distance, through things (blood, sweat, hair or possessions) taken from him, harming the living by violation of ancestral remains and disturbing the dead by doing evil to their descendants.

Man’s profound aspiration is life, a life of quality devoid of all evil, a long life on earth which is prolonged by the ancestors on one hand and the descendants on the other.

3. Evil - everything which interferes with the quality or the length of life. Quality of life may be impeded by sickness, hunger, some physical or mental handicap, natural disasters or ignorance (about, say, what has caused something bad) and length by dying young, dying suddenly without the opportunity for last words for people to remember you by, or dying without offspring or not knowing one’s ancestors. There is always a religious explanation for evil, encompassing and transcending the purely rational (valid, of course, but too short) explanation. The main causes are: punishment by god, vengeance by ancestors or the dead, ill will on the part of people or spirits; and it is important to see exactly what each cause is so that it can be remedied and prevented in the future. Religious and moral behaviour hinges on a search for the cause of evil and salvation (being kept or saved from evil).

4. Moral and religious practices. The effectiveness of all human activity depends on both the rules of the particular activity and moral and cultural precepts being respected. He who, say, tills his land on a forbidden day will have bad harvests or harvest evil, and techniques and know-how will only work if they fit in properly with moral and religious behaviour.

God and ancestor worship

a) Worshipping God. This is based on the feeling that God is absolutely transcendental and that man is entirely dependent on Him, but confident in His goodness and justice. It is also based on the need for protection against the precarious nature of the human condition. Worship, first and foremost, is prayer, calling on God to witness, praising Him and asking for His intercession. Ritual sacrifice, the counterpart of what man has received or expects from God, completes and accompanies prayer.

b) Worshipping the ancestors. This popular cult polarised all religious practices in many tribes, to the point where it became one of the biggest obstacles to the spreading of the word of Christ. It expresses the profound, permanent solidarity which exists between the living and the dead. There are indeed reciprocal duties, the living having to maintain their dead (with sacrifices and offerings), keep their relics, respect their last wishes and give them dignified funeral celebrations, and the dead ensuring the prosperity of the living and communicating their power and wisdom in dreams or through seers, magicians and healers.

The two cults are so closely linked that, in some tribes, God is considered to be the First Ancestor.

5. Organisation and ritual. Traditional African religions tend not to have separate hierarchies empowered to speak on behalf of the whole faith. Political leaders and heads of families also have religious power, although some jobs will sometimes be done by specialists (seers, healers, witches, priests etc). Monuments for ritual purposes are rare and the ceremonies are held on the public square or at a sacred natural site.

There are many rituals to mark the main stages in the life of the individual and important events in the history of the community - birth, for example, weaning, initiation, marriage, widowhood, burial and enthroning - and everyday activities such as eating, welcoming visitors, working and so on.

Importance of traditional religion

1. Numbers. There are an estimated 200 million people, slightly more than 33% of the population of the continent, following traditional religious practices at the present time - although, as with other religions we shall be looking at, these are only rough figures (the population of Africa was 555 million in 1988).

2. Influence. The idea that traditional religion was disappearing under the combined effects of Islam and Christianity was premature and, although some myths and rites have gone once and for all, it has to be admitted that traditional practices still have considerable influence. Islam and the African beliefs have had to support each other to ensure success and the Christian policies of today mixing deeply with local cultures - are working along much the same lines. Many a politician has seen traditional religion as a source of arguments with which to shape his doctrine and rally his compatriots.



The penetration of Christianity in Africa can be divided into three periods.

· 1st period: Antiquity. Christianity was practised in Egypt from the 1st century AD onwards and Christian fervour was considerable because of the troubles caused by the marginal sects (the gnostics) and of the dynamic nature of orthodoxy. Monachism first emerged in Egypt and Alexandria (made famous by Origene. St Cyril and St Athanasius) became the rival of Antioch and Constantinople, the other Christian capitals of the Orient. This church, the Coptic church, looked to itself after refusing the doctrine of the Council of Chalcedonia (in the year 451). By the 2nd century AD, Christianity was well established in North Africa (present-day Tunisia). Its leading lights were St Donat, St Cyprian and St Augustine and its main centre was Carthage the primate city in Africa - which hosted 32 Councils in the 3rd and 4th centuries. In the 4th century, two Syrian laymen took Christianity to Ethiopia and later on the Ethiopian church joined the Alexandrian church. This was the only church later to resist the Moslem invasion.

· 2nd period: 15th and 16th centuries. At the end of the 15th century, with the blessing of the Holy See, Spain and Portugal shared the conquest and evangelisation of the world outside Europe - which, in Africa, meant the islands and the coastal areas. Missionary activity was short on coordination and continuity and its often rapid success was always ephemeral.

· 3rd period: 17th - 20th centuries. This is the era of sound organisation, intensive evangelisation and massive conversions. On the Catholic side, Rome set up the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith in 1622 and many institutes and missions were founded. On the Protestant side, Dr Thomas Bray set up in England the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1701 and the more ecumenical Missionary Society of London was founded in 1795. A century later, the Conference of Berlin (1884-85) both gave a free hand to the imperialist proclivities of the European powers and provided a framework and a logistical basis for the expansion of missionary work a situation which gave rise to breakneck evangelisation in a climate of (not always healthy) rivalry. There was a race between Moslems and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, various branches of the same religion and missionaries of different nationalities and the result was Christianity spread thin rather than in depth. Today’s Christianity in Africa, other than in Ethiopia and Egypt, dates from this period.

Features of African Christianity

The way it expanded has given Christianity some specific features.

1. It is rich and varied. Africa has inherited a multitude of ecclesiastic and spiritual traditions from its various evangelists and this diversity can conscience and the future Catholic be both an asset and a handicap, Synod in 1993 could well be an event depending on how it is perceived and to reckon with. managed.

2. It is fragile. This is because, on the one hand, the gospel is not properly rooted and, on the other hand, the churches of Africa are overdependent in terms of staff, resources and even, pastoral initiative on the outside world. Many of them are far from considering themselves, or indeed being considered, as adult. They are peripheral, they need to reassure and to feel reassured, they often refer to external models, and they have not managed to do away with the obstacles along their path to greater maturity.

3. It is living and expanding, in spite of its fragility. The various pointers to this (number of baptisms, people espousing a religious vocation, ordinations and religious practices) are fairly encouraging to the people in charge and no changes to the trend are expected in the near future.

Importance of African Christianity

1. Numbers. There are an estimated 168 million Christians (80 million Protestant, 74 million Catholic and 14 million Orthodox) in Africa, representing 30% of the population of the continent as a whole and more than 90 % in some places (Cape Verde, Za, Gabon, Congo, etc.). One of every 10 Christians in the world today is African.

2. Influence. This is far from related to numbers, either in Africa or in Christianity. It is often missing from important discussions (on such things as under-development, independence, democracy and racism) and has no influence over major decisions. However, there are signs that things are moving in the right direction - the South African churches (and particularly Archbishop Desmond Tutu) are making a stand against apartheid, the Church of Za is reacting to President Mobutu’s policy, the bishops of Africa and Madagascar are concerting and cooperating in their Symposium and African theologians are getting together in the Ecumenical Association of African Theologians. The visits which Paul VI and Jean-Paul II made to the continent stirred many a



Here, too, there are three periods.

· 1st period: 7th and 8th centuries. This was the time of the Islamisation of Mediterranean Africa from Egypt to Morocco with the holy war (Jihad), which was a success thanks to the favourable circumstances of the collapse of the Roman empire, division amongst Christians and enthusiasm on the part of the Moslem believers.

· 2nd period: 11th - 18th centuries. Islam penetrated Sahelian Africa at this period, via Mediterranean Africa, either through the Sahara or the Indian Ocean, in the most varied of ways, with the influence of traders and local preachers on top of warfare. And the fear of being enslaved also provoked conversion, as Moslems could not be reduced to slavery.

· 3rd period: 19th and 20th centuries, Islam has become more warlike over this period, a factor in the constitution of great empires down to the edge of the tropical forest. These empires and their chiefs (Mahomet Ali, Ousman Dan Fodio, El Hadj Omar Samory, etc) formed bastions of resistance to European imperialism.


1. An impression of unity. Paradoxically, in spite of schisms, the many families, brotherhoods, schools and tribes and the fact that there is no centralising authority, African Islam gives an impression of unity. Statements of faith and religious practices are reduced to the strict minimum, but imposed and rigorously respected. You can tell a Moslem more or less by looking at him.

2. Adaptation. So, with the essentials safe and sound, Islam has been able to adapt to different outlooks.

3. Social immobility. By espousing the traditional framework, Islam has helped strengthen and fix it. Authoritarianism has increased in both society and the family, to the detriment of the weaker members (women and children), and there is greater resistance to everything new and “modern” - schooling, say, as the school attendance rates of 20% in northern (Moslem) Cameroon and 90 % in southern (Christian) Cameroon show. And this is only one example.

Importance of African Islam

1. Numbers. There are about 160 million Moslems in Africa, representing 29 % of the total population. One out of every five Moslems in the world is African.

2. Influence. In Africa, Islam is progressing faster than, and sometimes to the detriment of, Christianity. There are many illustrations of the effect it has had in the past and is still having today:

- The Moslem countries made a major contribution to resisting colonial influence and fighting for decolonialisation (the Arab League in Cairo).

- Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956 and Ghadafy’s resistance to American threats are impressive and put down to their Moslem faith.

- So it is easy to understand why the Head of a State that is more than 90 % Christian converted to Islam (although profounder motivations are of course not ruled out).

What is at stake? Today’s answer

The problem. The religious map of Africa may be cause for concern. There are two blocs of more or less equal strength face to face - Islam in the north and Christianity in the south - and they are expanding. And beneath them, like glowing coals hidden under the ash, is traditional religion. What is at stake? Showing and demonstrating that one has the best, if not the only, solution to the fundamental problem of African man. It is the same problem, the age-old problem of how to live well and live long, but the context has changed. Social structures have exploded, territories have expanded and cultural intimacy has disappeared. What answers can religion provide today? They all seem to end with a question mark...

Challenged answers.

1. Islam sometimes puts itself forward as the ideal way to salvation for the whole of Africa. Its record is a fairly good reference here, but it has been a denouncer above all. It has not managed to remedy Africa’s ills in its political sallies - nor indeed could it do so without shaking off its immobility and striking out on the path to modernism?

2. Christianity is hampered by an original sin. It is seen as the Trojan Horse in which colonial imperialism rode into Africa. Yet elsewhere its message has opened the way to liberation, development and salvation. Has Christianity been disqualified from Africa once and for all? Of course not, but it will have to do something about the problem which makes it look like an outsider and an unweaned child. Can it? And does it want to?

3. Is traditional religion the last resort? Should Africa come back to it? If it is a question of restoration pure and simple, then illusion could well be added to ineffectiveness. But if it is a question of finding the soul of this religion - the importance of and respect for life, the transcendental nature of God, the central position of man, ethics in all things again - then it is vital. It would put Africa back on its mettle, give it a second wind. Is it still possible?

4. Should we look elsewhere? The inadequacy of religions leads the individual to look for alternatives, and the belief in a Messiah is one refuge. It has cropped up all over Africa (but in the Christian regions especially), as the examples of Matwanism (200 000 followers in Congo) and above all Kimbanguism (3 500000) in Za show. Such departures, marriages of a kind between Christianity and tradition, are a protest against the breakdown of traditional structures caused by colonisation and evangelisation. They were one of the first forms of anti-colonial struggle. But now they are prisoners of their past and seem unable to provide any solutions for the future.

Sects - which, disquietingly, are mushrooming, particularly in the towns and amongst young people - offer the individual an alternative to isolation and insecurity but it is an expensive alternative, for it is no solution for the community.

Capitalism and Marxism, announcing miracle answers, were received like religions. But the miracles never happened. Capitalism, offering goods that were either inaccessible or insipid once acquired, proved hallucinatory, and the enchanted dawn of Marxism was late to rise after an all-too lengthy night.

All in all, religion may, unless we are careful, be an added source of complication rather than a dynamic contribution to an answer to the problems facing Africa today.

In search of a new religious deal

If religion is to go on playing a positive part in Africa today, it has to agree to be used in another way, while keeping its essential values, in the light of the new situation. This means it has to:

- take account of the irreversible upheavals in the traditional world and the impossibility of recreating this world as it was. The most important thing is to accept the fact that the geographical reference area is multiethnic, which means trans-ethnic solidarity;

- accept modernism, a term to be treated with care. Above all, this means recognising the density and autonomy of the “ profane “ and calls for rationality and a scientific and technical spirit to be applied in the geographical reference area;

- affirm the preponderance and transcendental nature of an ethnic order and a scale of values, and do so all the more strongly for the scientific and technical field having been respected;

- fit in with the culture - i.e. agree to belong to an African world of today rather than to something which has been imported or belongs in a museum;

- lastly, accept a new climate and new relations, based on freedom of conscience and a spirit of dialogue and collaboration in the quest for truth and respect for life, between religions.

Africa cannot afford the luxury of a religious war, even a cold one, in the already bitter fight it is waging for development.


Population growth - can it be slowed down?

Being used to the alarming annual reports of the UN Fund for Population Activities is one thing, but the heightened pessimism of the latest one is quite another. The UNFPA’s recent outline of the state of the world population in 1990 is indeed particular cause for concern, with its claim that mankind is doomed to disaster unless it manages to slow down its rate of growth (which itself determines the rate and extent of damage of the environment). And it has to do so fast; in the final 10 years of the millenium. Now is the time to take steps to ensure that the world population merely (!) doubles over the next century before stopping its expansion altogether. Otherwise, under present trends, numbers will treble in this time with dramatic consequences for the environment. As the UNFPA so uncompromisingly puts it, the earth’s future as a home for mankind is at stake over the next 10 years.

But what are these highly alarmist predictions based on? On rates of population growth. There are something like 5.3 billion people on the planet today and every second sees the birth of three more - a quarter of a million a day, 90-100 million a year and a billion (the equivalent of the present population of China) in the nineties. The reason for this is that birth rates have failed to decline as the UN predicted in 1984. Six years ago, population growth seemed to be on the wane everywhere outside of Africa and parts of South Asia and demographers were already rubbing their hands at the idea of the world population stabilising at around 10.2 billion by the end of the 21st century. But such optimism is no longer the order of the day.

The same experts are now predicting a figure closer to 11 billion than 10 billion, because some countries which had enjoyed conspicuous success with their family planning policies in the sixties and seventies failed to keep up the good work in the eighties. This happened in India, the Philippines and Morocco, all of which got their birth rates down by a point a year between 1960-65 and 1970-75 but only managed a tenth to a third of a point p.a. over the following decade. For India, the UNFPA report says, this probably means a population of 1.446 billion intead of 1.229 billion by the year 2025 - 217 million more than if the improvements had been maintained. And Pakistan will have 267 million inhabitants instead of the predicted 210 million by 2025. This, the report says, is the price of delaying our efforts to control the population.

Capacity not unlimited

The situation in Africa is cause for even greater concern. Situated there are 13 of the 15 countries where the birth rate, far from declining, actually increased between 1960-65 and 198085 and it there that the biggest population explosion is to be expected. The increase is already considerable - 2.7 % p.a. is commonplace on this continent - and it will be speeding up further over this decade to 3 %, an unprecedented figure for a whole region. Every year, 10 million more people join the ranks of a population whose density already poses a very acute problem of land (the fields have been subdivided so often) in some, essentially agricultural countries such as Rwanda and Burundi.

But in 20 years or so, the annual increase will be up to the 15 million mark. There are expected to be 1.581 billion Africans by the year 2025 (there are “ only “ 648 million of them today), which will be almost a fifth of the world population (18.4%, to be precise, as against the current 9 %). Half a billion people are already hungry or malnourished and one dare not imagine what would happen if considerable economic progress failed to go hand in hand with this vast demographic expansion. The recent famines in Ethiopia, the Sahel and Sudan would pale into insignificance alongside. But the last 30 years give no grounds for optimism. Between 197981 and 1986-87, cereal production in 25 of the 43 African countries for which the FAO has statistics declined and the developing countries as a whole now import about 100 million tonnes of cereals every year - a figure which will be rising, some estimates suggest, to 200 million tonnes.

But the developed nations do not themselves have unlimited production capacity. No one has forgotten the 1988 drought, which brought down the American harvest and revealed just how precarious world supplies were - even though the world does have the resources to feed all the people who live in it. But what will happen when the population is three times its present size? How can the inevitable food shortages be handled? Kenya, for example, has 25 million people now and could well have 60 million by the year 2025 the maximum number its agriculture can feed, although only by applying European standards and growing food crops on every square metre of arable land. By the end of the next century, projections suggest, Nigeria could have 500 million inhabitants (as many as in the whole of Africa in 1982), or 10 people per hectare of arable land, while contemporary France, the report says, with more fertile land and less erosion, has fewer than three. And Bangladesh’s population of 116 million will be up to 324 million by the end of the 21st century, with a density on arable land of twice the present figure for the Netherlands.

Nor will the situtation be any better ‘ in the towns. The urban population in the developing world is expanding at the rate of 3.6 % p.a. four and a half; times the figure for the developed nations and 60% faster than in the rural areas. It has gone from 285 million in 1950 to 1.384 billion today and it will be 4.050 billion by 2025. Local and national authorities everywhere are swamped by the problems of heavier and heavier concentration, with water and power supplies and drainage becoming real headaches. The number of urban households with no drinking water on tap went from 138 million to 215 million over the 1970-88 period and private households without proper drainage from 98 million to 340 million which should come as no suprise, bearing in mind that 72 % live in slums and shanty towns. And, at 92%, the figure for Africa is higher still.

A climatic change

It is not just the quality of life on earth which is threatened by the ever-increasing number of people. It is, quite simply, that the earth as a home for mankind is at stake, if the UNFPA report is to be believed, because of the deterioration of land and forests and the global warming which comes in its wake.

Erosion ruins an estimated 6-7 million hectares of farm land every year. The FAO says that 544 million hectares (18% of all arable land) could be completely lost if nothing is done to protect them and the fertility of other areas could dwindle. Deforestation is one of the main causes of erosion. More than 11 million hectares (the size of Belgium and Austria combined) of tropical forest and woodland are cleared every year and a further 4.4 million hectares are exploited selectively for the timber trade, often endangering a third or more of the trees which remain. Is there any need to emphasise the fact that most of the cleared woodland in the developing countries is used to grow food for an ever-expanding population?

Deforestation also causes carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, making a SO % contribution to global warming and deteriorating the ozone layer with chloroflurocarbons (20 % of warming). Scientists say that world temperatures are already 0.6 °C hotter than they were a century ago and predict further increases of 1.5° to 2.8° by the middle of the next century. So the world will be warmer than at any time in the past 120 000 years and - most important - the climatic change will have come about far more rapidly than any other in history. The consequences are apocalyptic - whole areas turned to desert, the level of the oceans raised with some countries disappearing or submerged, disaster in farming and so on.

There is no avoiding the UNFPA’s conclusions. The more people there are, the more difficult it will be to give them all an education, health care, housing and a balanced diet. And the more pollution there will be, with damage to the environment and gas emissions bringing on the greenhouse effect. So the UNFPA suggests cutting the rate of population growth in the developing world. If present trends continue, there will be 9.4 billion people in the world by the year 2025, but if global fecundity can be reduced from the current 4.2 to 2.7 children per woman by 2000-05 and to 1.9 by about 2020-25, there will be almost 2 billion fewer people on earth in 2025, bringing the total down to 7.6 billion. But there is another hypothesis, currently the most likely, midway between the catastrophe scenario and the ideal, no doubt over-optimistic projection. That is one in which the average fecundity goes from 4.2 children to 3.2 in 2000-05 and 2.3 in 2020-25, with the population reaching 8.4 billion in 2025.


The achievement of this - or any other scenario depends to a very large extent on the attitude of women, who are crucial to the success of any family planning and birth control policy. Access to contraception has to be made geographically and financially easier. Target groups, such as adolescents, hitherto passed by, must be reached and given better information, as well as and education facilities so that they realise that there are statuses other than those involving large numbers of pregnancies. The effects of education on fecundity and family planning are obvious. Women who have had seven years’ schooling get married an average of four years later than women with no schooling. They also use two and a half times as many contraceptives (four times as many in Africa) and have 2.2 fewer children on average.

But tackling education, women’s status, health facilities and family planning all at once is a very expensive undertaking. Birth control programmes only get crumbs from the developing countries’ budgets. And in an Africa undergoing structural adjustment, with systematic cutbacks in social spending, where is the money to pay for these policies to come from? If the UNFPA’s average projection is to be achieved, $ 5.3-6.5 billion p.a. has to be ploughed into family planning services alone by the year 2000. Compare this with the $ 675 million put into aid for family planning activities in the developing world in 1988. Alarming reports on the world population are on the cards for some time to come.


Development report 1990: lifting 400 million people out of poverty

Each summer for the last 13 years, the World Bank has been publishing a world development report. With its economic data and its selected social indicators, it gives a true picture of the world economy region by region. This year’s report addresses itself to the most pressing issue facing humanity. how to reduce poverty.

More than one billion people - at least one quarter of the global population - live on less than $ 370 a year. What can be done to reduce the absolute poverty still rampant in many developing countries? This question at the core of development is the theme of the 13th World Development Report.

Its key conclusion is that the number of poor people could drop by 400 million by the end of the decade. To reach this ambitious goal, the report recommends that countries adopt a two-part strategy to generate income-earning opportunities for the poor and provide them with basic social services so they are able to respond more to new employment possibilities. Policies promoting this dual approach would open the way for the poor to contribute to - as well as benefit from economic growth. But this will happen only if the donor community supports those countries making serious efforts to reduce poverty. The report also stresses that progress in the developing world will depend on the soundness of economic policies industrial countries pursue in the 1990s.

The world economy

Despite a healthy 3.6% growth in industrial countries for 1989, external imbalances were slow to narrow. The U.S. deficit dwindled to $ 106 billion - down $ 20 billion - while the Japanese current account surplus fell by 27 %, to $ 58 billion. West Germany’s surplus at $ 56 billion - up 14% - neared Japan’s. Many industrial countries, including the United States, still have low savings and absorb a large share of the global capital supply, which contributes to high interest rates.

Developing countries’ growth slowed to 3.3% in 1989, compared to the decade’s 4.3 % average. Growth was strongest in South and East Asia - both regions with the largest concentration of poor people - but was lower than the average for recent years.

Prospects for the 1990s

A 3 % annual growth is projected for the industrial countries. Real commodity prices are expected to dip in the short term, but record an average 0.2 % growth rate for the decade. Real interest rates should ease to between 3 % and 4 %, compared to almost 5.5% in the 1980s. Developing countries should reach an average annual 5.1 % growth against 4.3% for the 1980s. Though all regions should have positive per capita income growth, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are unlikely to achieve their potential. The number of poor in Latin America is expected to remain the same. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, even with a projected annual GDP growth of 3.7 %, high fertility rates point to a rapid rise in the number of poor.

The outlook is brighter for the other developing regions. Per capita incomes in South Asia should keep growing at an annual 3.2% - nearly three times the 1965-1980 rate. East Asian countries should continue their successful macroeconomic policies to reach an annual 5.1 % per capita income growth rate. By 2000, average incomes in East Asia are expected to be 65% higher, virtually eliminating poverty. While China’s economy should perform well, per capita income growth is expected to fall from an annual 8.7 % to 5.4%.

For Eastern Europe, the outlook is cloudy as economic reforms and strong anti-inflationary measures will first depress growth - even with generous external assistance. In the medium term, a 1.5 % annual per capita income growth is projected, with a strong pickup due by the end of the decade.

The report cautions that continued low savings would slow the industrial world’s growth rate by about 0.5 % and maintain interest rates at roughly 5.5%. For the developing nations, an economic downturn in the industrial world would mean less demand for their exports, a heavier debt burden, a possible weakening of commodity prices, and probably less aid from the industrial countries. The report also stresses the need for a successful end to the Uruguay Round to set the stage for a “ truly global trade regime”’ to the benefit of both rich and poor nations.

Progress against poverty

Though the number of poor people remains staggering, much progress has been made. Between 1965 and 1985, per capita consumption in the developing countries rose from $ 590 to $ 985 (1985 dollars). Some countries saw dramatic improvements, especially in Asia. In most countries, social indicators - health and education moved up, even where incomes did not rise. Life expectancy lengthened from 51 years to 62 years, and primary school enrolment rose from 73 % to 84 %. But despite this progress, some 15 million children under five in developing countries die from causes not normally fatal in the industrial world. And some 110 million children still do not go to school at all.

A strategy that works

Countries that have reduced poverty adopted a two-part strategy enabling the poor to contribute to and benefit from growth. The first part promotes the productive use of the poor’s most abundant asset - their labour - through policies that harness market incentives, social and political institutions, infrastructures and technology. The second aims at providing basic social services to the poor - primary health care, family planning, nutrition and primary education. “ The main trade-off”, according to the report, “ is not between growth and reducing poverty; it is between the interests of the poor and of the non-poor”.

Growth that improves income-earning opportunities for the poor requires policies to stimulate rural development and to create jobs in urban areas. Many past policies meant to benefit the rural poor have failed: land reform barely helped the poor, except after wars or revolutions; subsidised credit programmes not only benefited the rich much more than the poor but ran into serious debt-repayment problems; and excessive taxation of agriculture contributed to poor results.

Population and poverty in the developing world, 1985

There are more promising avenues, says the report, such as providing incentives, strong public support to develop rural infrastructure, giving small farmers more access to technical innovations via improved agricultural extension programmes, cementing the links between farm and non farm economies and developing rural financial institutions. Similarly, government intervention to help the urban poor - via minimum wage legislation, job security regulations, etc. - has often led to less formal employment and hindered investment and job creation. To help create jobs, governments should avoid distorting the product, labour and capital markets and provide urban infrastructure.

Poverty in the developing world, 1985 and 2000

Improved health and education would attack both the causes and consequences of poverty. Such progress depends on government policies and efforts - the main ingredients being political commitment, budgetary provisioning and developing institutions including decentralisation and building infrastructure.

Governments can take credit for progress achieved so far, but they are also responsible for failures, according to the report. Developing countries allocate an estimated 70% to 85% of their health spending on treatment, which mainly benefits the non-poor, rather than on preventive care which would make a real difference for the poor. The same holds true for education, where governments generally favour higher-level training over services to help the poor. Policies to improve the poor’s health and education would benefit the entire economy due to the tight links between education and economic growth, between education and agricultural productivity and between workers’ health and productivity. Family planning services are also vital for poverty reduction, especially where a high population growth rate, such as the 3% to 4% in sub-Saharan Africa, depresses per capita income figures and results in low wages and growing poverty. Where strong family programmes were implemented, birthrates and poverty fell sharply.

Not all the poor will benefit from the strategy. Governments should give extra help to the weakest members of the poor population - the old, the disabled, widows, orphans; many others, while benefiting from it, will remain vulnerable to natural catastrophes and macroeconomic shocks. A system of income transfers and safety nets is thus required, but the mechanisms need to be carefully selected. Formal social security schemes, for example, rarely benefit the poor. But experience has shown that targeted food subsidies often work better than general food price subsidies, and public employment schemes have also proved effective.

The shocks of the early 1980s forced most developing countries to restructure their economies - from adjusting their fiscal policies and exchange rates to liberalising their trade regime, deregulating industry and privatising state enterprises. Ultimately, this is consistent with the dual strategy. But in the short run, some poor people may be hurt, especially the urban poor if labour demand declines. Some countries, including some that restructured public expenditures, put national policies in place consistent with reducing poverty even in the short run. Generalisations about the adverse effects of adjustment on the poor are thus difficult to sustain, the report notes.

Prospects for the 1990s

The international environment: trade, debt and aid

Many trade barriers put up by industrial countries harm the developing countries, but the immediate impact of trade liberalisation would vary considerably. Most middle-income countries would gain, but many poor countries - mainly exporters of primary commodities would not, and might even lose initially because of supply rigidities, loss of current preferences and because the price of imported food might go up. But over the longer term, trade liberalisation would benefit even low-income countries, provided they adopt policies to encourage diversification. As this shift will take time, continued external assistance over the next decade is critical.

Severely indebted low-income countries with large numbers of poor people are still struggling under their debt burden, despite the recent international debt-reduction initiatives. Additional relief would help, but not much. Increased concessional assistance will be required.

The report recommends that aid be more tightly linked to a country’s efforts to reduce poverty. In countries not making serious efforts, external assistance should be kept to a minimum. But these are the countries where poverty is due to increase, so limited amounts of aid should be targeted to the most vulnerable groups through support to health clinics serving poor women and children, immunisation programmes for children, or targeted feeding programmes.

A solid case for a greater volume of aid can be made, but only if more countries are serious about poverty reduction and if donors learn from the lessons of experience. In 1988, aid amounted to $ 51 billion. It is projected to increase 2 % a year in real terms, according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, which would amount to only $ 64 billion by 2000. But it could increase to as much as $ 144 billion if all donors attained the widely accepted 0.7% aid-to-GNP ratio.

Prospects for the poor

The report projects a sharp decline in poverty - from 33 % in 1985 to 18 % by 2000. The number of people in absolute poverty would drop from 1.1 billion to 825 million. The sharpest fall by far - of close to 400 million - would occur in Asia. In Africa, however, the number of poor could swell by as many as 100 million. Africa needs an annual 5.5% growth rate almost 2% higher than projected - to stop the number of poor from increasing. This will require extraordinary efforts by both African governments and the donor community.

Though these estimates are based on many variables and the risk of a downturn is high, the report maintains that lifting 400 million people out of poverty - which includes preventing poverty in Africa from spreading - is a realistic goal for the end of the century.

“The Basin”: prize-winner of the Short Story Competition

by Getachew Gebrewold AYELE

As indicated in the editorial in our July issue, the winners of the ACP-EEC Cultural Foundation/The Courier “ Short Story Competition were chosen by two panels of distinguished judges (see box), one for each language group.

For the English-language stories, their choice was “ The Basin “, by Getachew Gebrewold Ayele of Ethiopia, who, the Jury commented, “had created, with humour and economy and in a highly individual voice, an anarchic picture of family life”. The winning entry is published here in its original version and will be published in translation in the next francophone edition of the magazine. For the stories in French, the prize goes to “Comme un message de Dieu” by M’Bamakan Soucko Bathily, of Mali. Her winning entry is published in our French edition and will appear in translation in The Courier’s next English-language edition.

Here, with our congratulations and with those of the ACP-EEC Cultural Foundation, is the prize-winning entry in English (unedited).

It was Saturday night, so the people in the nearby tej bet were busy drinking, and with a free day ahead of my uncle, he joined them too. He came home dead-drunk round the middle of the night.

“Are... you... asleep... Zawdu?” he said as soon as he entered the room. I knew he was drunk, and I kept quiet. I could see him through the holes in my blanket. He was sitting on his bed, when he called again, “Zawdu... I am calling you troy!” Then he yelled, “Zawdu”! I had to respond to that.

I pretended I was asleep, “Aaa... Aaa... Uhu... uu” and yawning I replied, “What... is... it?”.

“ Bring me that basin, boy! “ I knew it at once. He was going to vomit. He was like that occasionally when he was boozed up. He added, “I have to take it out, I don’t feel alright inside”.

“Oh God!” I said to myself. I got out of my bed and fetched him the basin.

I did not remain beside him. Just before he inserted his finger in his mouth, I hopped into my bed again. I covered my face not to view or smell the vomit. I could hear his struggle to take out the unwanted stuff from his stomach. It was a loud uproar. “ O... A... A... Ah... Ahe...” Finally it came in a big gulf and splashed out on the basin. He tried a second time. He strove more than the previous time. The remaining came out bits by bits and spattered on the basin.

“ Oh . . . ‘Ifoy’ . . . I am feeling alright now... Upsa!... Zawdu! Give me some water to wash my mouth.”

I had to get up again. When I uncovered my face, I was overcome by the stink. It was a mixture of tej and tela and watt It was a horrible smell. I felt like vomiting. I gave him the water. He filled his mouth with it and inserted his finger once again to clean up his mouth this time. Then he spat out the water. Next he said, “ Clean up the basin, Zawdu! “.

The basin had been filled up with vomit up to the brim. I was disgusted to touch it. I said to myself, “ At least he could have done it outside”.

He shouted at me, “Don’t just stand there staring at the basin, take it outside and clean it! “.

I picked up the basin automatically and took it outside and went close to the fence and poured it out there. My hands touched some of the filth. “ Eh! “ I scurried for water.

He usually said, “ Clean up the basin, Zawdu!”, but I didn’t perform that. All I managed to do, I poured some water on the basin and agitated it and poured out the water. That was all. I abhorred touching the inside of the basin.

In the morning, I woke up early and used the tap outside to wash my face. It was the only tap in the house. I enjoyed using the tap, but my grandmother did not like it.

“ I have told you several times not to use that tap. You have no idea how much I am paying,” she screamed at me. Then she gave me an old empty Mobil Oil can to use instead.

My uncle had got up from his bed and with a tired voice he called me, “ Zawdu. . ., bring. . . me. . . some water”. I filled up the Mobil Oil can and took it to him.

He was about to start washing when he noticed the basin unwashed. He bellowed, “ I told you to wash the basin last night!”.

“ I was sleepy. “ I replied to him very politely.

He calmed down. “ Just pour the water on my head”, he said. I understood the idea - to cool him down. The basin was filled at once. “ Pour it outside!” He gave order. Once again I carried the dirty basin towards the fence. I said to myself, “ He could have done it outside using the tap”. I left for school without washing the basin.

I was not on good terms with everybody in that house. I was only sleeping there. As for food, I sometimes used to eat at my sister’s place or bought it myself. I was selling cokes in one of the cinema houses. I was getting enough for my food, therefore, I did not care much about their injera. Both my grandmother and my aunt were disgusting people. My grandmother was a penny-pincher. I remembered the last words she said to me that stopped my eating there. She used to give me twenty-five cents per day for breakfast and lunch. One morning I went to get the same sum.

“Why don’t you look around the other village boys. They are no burden to their families. They work as shoe-shine boys, coolies, etc... They bring money to their families. And you! you take from us. It is over eight years now and all you do, you count your grades. We can’t eat your grades...” She shrieked at me. I departed from her before she concluded her silly lecture. I despised her from that day on.

I could have stayed somewhere else, if not for the closeness of the place I was working. I had to bear the bastard in order to finish my high school too. My uncle and I stayed in one roomed house. Everything crammed like sardines. His bed on one side and mine on the other. A table in the middle, another small table alongside his bed. A hoary wardrobe near the lower side of my bed. Under the beds, it was stowed up with boxes and other worthless items. The wall was overspread completely with a variety of calendars and movie house ‘reclams’, and beneath it the kingdom of the bedbugs lay. The room was so crowded that there was only small spaces to move around. And just beside the door on the lower side of his bed stood another small table and on it the filthy basin was kept.

One morning I woke up promptly as usual. I always wanted to leave the place early. Besides, I didn’t want to touch the bowl. I was about to change the can of water that was kept for him the night before, when I noticed the basin was full of yellow water. It scented horrible. It was urine. “ Oh God” I was going to slip out from that wretched place leaving everything for my aunt. It was too late. He called, “ Don’t forget to clean up the basin, Zawdu”. I lingered a few seconds before I finally touched the edge of the basin. I cautiously picked up the basin and disposed of the stinking urine near the fence. After that I poured some water in the basin and stirred it a bit and poured out the water.

Although my uncle had passed his youthful age, he was behaving like a juvenile. He was married briefly once and after that he altered his women like a tycoon changing his shirts. He, spent most of his earnings on women, and liquor. In short he was a lewd; person.

One evening, he brought one of the women from the nearby telabet. He was also drunk. As soon as they entered the room, they started to converse very slowly. I kept my ear alert.

“ Has he slept? “ the woman asked.

And my uncle replied, “ Don’t worry about him. When he sleeps - he sleeps like a dead man”.

I had to act ‘like a dead man’ too. I was not supposed to make any movement, but the bugs made it impossible for me to lie down peacefully. It seemed as if the entire bedbugs had come out from their places to attack me. I left them sucking me.

At the same time, I could see both undressing through the holes in my blanket. It didn’t take them much time to undress. Evidently the light was switched off. I heard their struggle to adjust themselves on the bed, and this was followed with a rhythmical noise, “ Tshit. .. Tsit. .. Tsit. . . “. It was from his crumbling bed. The rhythm kept on for over half an hour. Finally it ceased.

The light was switched on again. My uncle brought down the basin and the can of water on the floor. He was completely naked. He washed his genitals. Then the woman did the same thing on her part. After that they settled on the bed once more. I said to myself, “ Oh God! This is too much! I am not going to touch that filthy basin tomorrow morning”. They slept quietly.

I cautiously made some motion. I scratched my body very lightly as well. I was so exasperated with what I saw, I couldn’t sleep for sometime.

I didn’t know how I slept, but I woke up early as usual. The perfume was still there, but the prostitute had left. I woke up very carefully without disturbing him. I was going to try to escape that morning too. I didn’t care to wash my face. I put on my cloth and I was about to leave the room when his head popped-out from the blanket.

“What time is it?” He asked me.

“ I don’t know. I didn’t hear the seven o’clock siren yet,” I replied.

“ Never mind about the time. Don’t forget to flush up the basin before you leave.” He was looking at me when he said that.

“Ishi!” I said. I picked the basin very carefully and took it outside. I rested it slowly on the ground beside the fence. I used my foot to pour out the dirt from the basin. My aunt saw that, and shouted at me, “ Have you swallowed a stick? Or have you lost both your hands?”

I returned the basin inside the house. I cleaned my hands very thoroughly and hurried out for school.

Towards the end of every Ethiopian month he used to come home early. That was the time when he had almost finished his money. In the evening when I returned home, he was there before me. I washed his feet in the same filthy basin.

I hated living there for one thing - the BASIN, otherwise I could bear both the bugs and the bastards.

Once more, he brought another woman to his place. They played the same game like other nights. I waited impatiently for the day. I was going to run to school before touching that stinking basin. So I woke up that morning very cautiously dressed up, opened the door. Just before I left, I looked at the basin, to my surprise, it was empty. “ Aha! She must be a respectable prostitute. She has thrown out the water outside.”

That morning, my uncle didn’t overtake me.

When I met him in the evening, he shouted at me, “Where are you running out early in the morning?”.

“To school.” I replied.

He was sitting on the edge of his bed when he asked me to wash his feet. I brought a can of water and the basin. I poured some water on the bowl and started scraping his feet. While I was doing this slowly the level of the water went down. I poured some water to bring the level up again.

He shouted at me, “Stop adding water and clean up my feet properly!”.

The level of the water went down again. For the moment I didn’t perceive anything. Finally I detected that the water was slipping out of the basin and entering in one of the floor’s cracks.

“ Aha! This must be the end of the line.” 1 said to myself. From that day on he started using the faucet outside. He loathed buying a replacement for anything.

Getachew Gebrewold Ayele National Bank of Ethiopia
Documentation Division
P.O. Box. 5550
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
TELE 51-58-23

18th Century life in the West Indies: the life and works of Agostino Brunias

by Alissandra CUMMINS

One might wonder why an 18th Century Italian painter has become so important in a place far distant from his birthplace. Although generally regarded as a minor English artist in various contemporary historical texts, Agostino Brunias (also known as Brunyas or Brunais) has in recent years gained increasing significance, not only for the art historian, in the Caribbean.

Caribbean Art History is a relatively young field of study and the work of this Italian painter forms a major part of the region’s artistic resources. The colonial life of the West Indies can only be recaptured through the analysis of contemporary descriptions, both visual and written, which provide intriguing glimpses of that particular aspect of world history. Brunias’ work has special significance for researchers in this field. The relative rarity of images of the Indian, black and mulatto populations in the islands was no doubt indicative of the attitudes of the 18th century creole plantocracy. In general they preferred not to be reminded of an aspect of their daily lives which, by the latter half of the century, was becoming more of a social burden than an economic convenience.

Why would a young artist brought to the West Indies under a governor’s patronage give so much attention to such an unfashionable topic? The answer lies, at least partially, in the nature of both the man and his patron, Governor Sir William Young. When Brunias first arrived in the Caribbean in 1770 the tropical landscapes, the glowing colours and warmth of the winds, and the exotic lifestyle made a tremendous impact on the previously correct academician. Almost immediately his painting reflected this enchantment, and for 25 years, until his death, Brunias remained under the spell of the West Indies.

Born in Rome in 1730, little is known of the artist’s early life until he entered the Academy of Design of Saint Luke in Rome as a young art student around 1748. There he received a rigorous academic training which included drawing and copying antique Roman sculpture and studying the painting techniques of the master painters, destined to prepare him for a life as the versatile working artist he was expected to become. He received some small distinction in 1754 when, as part of his graduation, Brunias won third prize for his set piece.

The painting ‘Tobias and the Angel’ took almost three months to complete and shows little of the personal style Brunias was to develop in later years. Instead, the work is replete with the traditions of centuries. Brunias cannot be totally to blame for the stilted formality of the scene of Tobias at the moment of revelation. The self-consciousness of the artist’s technique reveals Brunias’ anxiety to succeed, and indeed his training stood him in good stead once he left the Academy. By 1756 he had found employment as a draughtsman with the famous English architect/designer, Robert Adam.

Apprenticeship to Adam

Under Adam’s supervision, Brunias exercised his training to the full, completing the exhausting task of meticulously recording the dimensions and decoration of the Baths of Diocletian, and other famous sites and ruins. For the next two years, Adam kept Brunias and his colleagues busy on a relentless schedule drafting drawings and plans of many other antique sites located all over Italy. This was Adam’s preparation for developing the knowledge necessary to satisfy his clients’ taste for the neo-classical in interior design. However, there was little opportunity for Brunias to develop a recognisable personal style; Adam has become the key to his success.

In 1758 Adam returned home to London taking Brunias with him. Over the next few years Brunias continued to work for Adam, producing working drawings to the designer’s specifications and, later, large decorative paintings in the neo-classical style intended to complement Adam’s interiors designed for the stately homes of England’s aristocracy. Brunias also started to exhibit his work regularly with The Free Society of Artists, hoping, no doubt, to develop a larger clientele and greater popularity. His paintings from this period all bear titles such as ‘A Large landscape, with ruins and figures.’

Despite his attempt at independence the familiarity and popularity of the antique provided a safe approach to the public market. Brunias was caught in the trap of his own making. Although he eventually parted company with Robert Adam, in 1765 he had found employment with another London architect, William Chambers, and continued to support himself producing commissioned pieces for clients’ residences.

By the age of 40, Brunias has achieved a comfortable reputation for himself as a landscape and figure painter as well as an engraver, but he had never achieved the prominence to which he aspired. The artist had reached a cross-roads in his career when he was approached by Sir William Young to travel under his patronage to the West Indies. Sir William was appointed Governor of the Leeward Islands in 1770 and took up residence in the island of Dominica for the period of his office.

The Leewards - a revelation

Brunias leapt at this opportunity to travel to this little-known territory. Brunias no doubt saw himself as fulfilling the romantic dream of any young artist at the time. Travel and adventure in exotic places was the ambition of many with the hope of achieving success and prosperity. Indeed the artist found himself surrounded by every luxury, for contemporary records report that “Sir William lived in the style of a Prince. . . “.

Almost immediately the artist was inspired and sent two drawings “ after nature” to be exhibited in London. Over the next three years Brunias worked feverishly to record his impressions of an environment, both natural and cultural, that was as alien to the mores of European society in its own way as the Far East was to the artists who ‘discovered’ that region in the 19th century.

Every aspect of West Indian society was captured on Brunias’ canvas. He recorded the simple chattel huts and unfettered lives of the island’s caribindian population as meticulously as he did the indolent lifestyle of the creole plantocracy. Of primary importance for Caribbean historians however, was Brunias’ detailed sketches and paintings of the slave and free coloured populations. Bound inextricably to the demands of the plantation, the negro could not escape the pervasive influence of European society. In many of his paintings, the dress and stance of this subject apes the mode of English society of the period. This impression is enhanced by the classical qualities with which the artist imbues his figures regardless of whether they are fighting, washing clothes or standing at their ease.

It is clear that Brunias was as much influenced by the theories of ‘the noble savage’ surfacing around this time, as he was intrigued by the complexity of a culture which incorporated both African and European elements at every level. In his “ Free Natives of Dominica”, Brunias records in magnificent detail the extravagant clothing, headdress and jewellery of the island’s mulattoes. At the same time both men and women adopted the tall intricately-folded headties which were primarily African in origin.

In his larger pieces such as “ A Cudgelling Match. .. “ and “ A Negroes’ Dance in the Island of Dominica” Brunias provides a wealth of detail about the habits and customs of a rigidly delineated society. The paintings are invaluable markers to the ways in which negro men and women conducted themselves under the harsh reality of colonial society. Brunias was also given the opportunity to travel to many of the other islands as Governor Young toured his estates within the territory. His canvases of Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Kitts reveal aspects of the social and economic life of each island which, despite their rather romanticised flavour, help in developing a clearer perspective of 1 8th century life in each island.

Brunias returned to England with Sir William in 1773 and immediately set to work creating large-scale paintings based on his smaller sketches. The following year he exhibited two of his pieces at the Royal Academy of London where they were favourably received. Over the next few years he continued to exhibit regularly, finally achieving the success he so avidly sought. His exotic scenes captured the public’s imagination to such an extent that the series of prints which he later produced sold successfully to the European market.

Despite this success, however, Brunias could not forget his island home and returned there after visiting the continent once more. Once again Brunias’ life faded into comfortable oblivion, despite the continued success of his paintings and prints. Perhaps once he had achieved his success he was happy to retreat into solitude, for little or nothing is known of his final years in Dominica until his death in 1796. Nevertheless this this century artist, traveller and chronicler has left an invaluable legacy to the region, a legacy which is now the subject of ongoing research, analysis and interpretation.

A. C.

Agricultural research in developing countries

Efficiency is the requisite for the cash-tight ‘90s

by Howard ELLIOT and Gerry TOOMEY

The Green Revolution of the late 1960s and ‘70s created widespread optimism and faith in the enormous potential of science-driven agriculture. By the mid-1980s, hundreds of laboratories and research stations had been built in the developing countries, many with the help of donor funding. Manning them was a huge cohort of enthusiastic young agricultural scientists and technicians, returned home after advanced training abroad.

However, in most regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa, public funding to support and nurture this growing pool of trained people and facilities has not kept pace. Indeed, national agricultural research systems (NARS) today face a financial crisis that could affect food production for years to come.

If investments in research over the past 25 years are to pay off in the form of improved rural incomes and food security, then developing countries will have to sharpen the focus of their research, concentrating on the most important problems. And they will have to conduct it more efficiently. All this calls for well thought out policies and better organisation and management of research institutes.

This article examines some global trends in national agricultural research and briefly describes how changes in one critical area - information management - can improve the efficiency of research systems. The trends have emerged from data collected and analysed by the International Service for National Agricultural Research (see box), an independent advisory institute in The Hague which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

In much of the world, agricultural productivity, both per unit of land and per unit of labour, has advanced markedly during the past three decades. The striking exception to this positive trend has been sub-Saharan Africa.

We know that tomorrow’s agricultural output, whether in Africa, Asia or elsewhere, will depend increasingly on the rational application of science. Investments today in agricultural research, both at the national and international levels, will determine future agriculture trends. Gone are the days when, in order to feed its growing population, a nation could rely solely on bringing new, often marginal lands under cultivation.

Over the last 30 years, the human and financial face of the global agricultural research mosaic has changed dramatically, reflecting the growing reliance on science-based agriculture. In the period 1960-64, the NARS of the developing countries accounted for only 21 % of the world’s scientists working in publicly funded agricultural research institutes, including universities. By the early 1980s this share had more than doubled to 45 % of the world total (see figures I and 2).

In hard numbers, the developing-country research work force grew from roughly 10000 scientists in the early 1960s (of a world total of some 50 000), to about 45 000 scientists in the early 1980s (of a world total of about 100 000). In effect, most national agricultural research systems now fall in the range of 50 to 200 scientists. Thus, for most countries, there are enough scientists to ensure effective problem-solving - as long as they concentrate their resources on a restricted number of priorities.

During the same period, the developing world as a whole also boosted its share of total world expenditures on national agricultural research, from 24 % to 35 % (see Figure 3). However - and this is crucial to understanding the current state of research in much of the developing world - these expenditures have not been rising as fast as the numbers of scientists (see Figure 4).

Take sub-Saharan Africa, for example. The annual compound rate of growth of the number of agricultural scientists between the early 1960s and the early 1980s was about 7.5% in that region. The growth rate for expenditures on their research, however, was less than 6 %. Of all the developing regions, only Asia and the Pacific had a higher growth rate for expenditures than for numbers of scientists. In general, then, the financial resources allocated per scientist have declined.

This imbalance between growth in human versus financial resources gives rise to another major mismatch: operational expenditures on research infrastructure (equipment, laboratories, and buildings) have not grown as fast as the infrastructure itself. This is largely because the salaries of the growing numbers of scientists eat up a large proportion of research budgets. Paradoxically, research systems are losing scientists because of low pay, while the high total cost of salaries is crippling those research systems. With little money available for operations and maintenance, buildings and equipment begin to deteriorate, scientists are unable to travel to important meetings and experimental sites, libraries’ journal collections become quickly outdated, and important research work is left undone.

Figure 1 - Global increase in the numbers of researchers in NARS

Commitment to research

One indicator of research effort often cited by donors is agricultural research intensity (ARI), the amount of money a country spends on agricultural research expressed as a percentage of agricultural gross domestic product (AgGDP). Trends in this ratio can be discerned in ISNAR’s Indicator Series data. In the early 1960s, the ARI ratio for the industrialised countries was a little less than I %, while for the developing countries it was only 0.18%, about one-fifth as much. By the period 1980-85, the figure for industrialised and developing countries had risen to 2.01% and 0.42%, respectively. In other words, although the ratios have grown substantially for both rich and poor countries, the latter still lag far behind the former in the share of agricultural product invested in research.

This fact leads some observers to the erroneous conclusion that many developing countries lack the necessary political will to promote research-based agriculture. Indeed, we frequently hear that these countries should give research more attention. The flaw in this view is that it confuses a country’s lack of fiscal capacity to fund research with lack of political commitment to research.

The ARI ratio now achieved by the richer nations as a whole, roughly 2 % of AgGDP, has been cited by the World Bank as a desirable target for developing countries. ISNAR believes this is unrealistically high given the current structure and fiscal capacity of developing countries. Moreover, the conceptual and empirical basis for such a rule of thumb has not been clearly established. A more important point perhaps is that this indicator (research expenditures as a fraction of AgGDP), when considered in isolation, is not an accurate reflection of the priority a nation accords to agricultural research and, by extension, to agriculture. Indeed, a decomposition of the ratio into its components reveals that developing countries, though far short of the 2 % target, are in fact committed to spending on science-based agriculture.

To begin with, a more precise indicator of political commitment to agriculture may be the proportion of the overall budget that a government spends on agriculture. For the low-income countries, it works out to an average of 9 to 10%; for the high-income countries, which of course are much less agricultural, the figure is around 4%. The point is that the developing countries are spending a much bigger proportion of their budgets on agriculture than are the industrial countries. This contribution is substantial, especially given the compelling needs of other sectors like health and education.

Secondly, the proportion of the national agricultural budget that a country devotes to research is a good indicator of commitment to agricultural research. A comparison between low- and high-income countries is revealing. Analysis of data from the ISNAR Indicator Series shows that the developing countries are spending about the same proportion of their agricultural budgets on agricultural research as the high-income countries. The figure is between 10 % and I I %. This strongly suggests that developing-country governments are solidly committed to agricultural research or at least as much as the industrial countries.

Figure 2 - Numbers of rechearches in NARS of developing regions 1980-85

A final point relates to low fiscal capacity a governement’s ability to pay for the services it must provide its citizens. On average, the overall government revenue of a low-income country is less than 16% of its gross domestic product (GDP). In the richer, industrialised countries the average budget is proportionately much bigger, about 25%. But when it comes to size of the agricultural sector to be serviced from these budgets, the tables are turned. The poorer countries are heavily agricultural, with AgGDP accounting for over one-third of GDP. In the high-income, more industrialised countries, AgGDP makes up only about 6% of GDP. Moreover, the greater the success a developing country has in raising its agricultural product, the more difficulty it has in reaching its research expenditure target. Thus, donors should not consider a low ARI ratio as evidence of low commitment to research.

Figure 3 - Global increase in expeditures on national agricultural research


These sharply contrasting economic structures point up the magnitude of the task faced by agricultural research systems in developing countries - with fewer resources they have a larger sector and proportionately more farmers to service than the richer countries. The richer, industrialised countries are able to tax a large nonagricultural sector (the main beneficiaries of cheap food and agricultural raw materials) to help fund the research that contributed to the low costs. In contrast, developing countries must extract more of their fiscal resources from agriculture and use them for all other competing needs. This explains why, in a sample of high- and low-income countries, the expenditure per active person in agriculture was $239 in the rich countries and only $3 in the poor countries.

Figure 4 - Annual compound growth rates of agricultural researchers and expenditures on national agricultural research

In the developing countries, then, raising the ratio (even up to only 1% of AgGDP) will depend on structural change accompanied by fiscal reform. In such a situation it is essential for the international donor community to continue supporting the NARS until they are past this economic hurdle.

In the meantime, agricultural research leaders in the developing countries face tough times. New, pressing concerns have appeared on the agendas of the traditional donor countries, creating competition for funds. Protection of the global environment and support for the newly democratised countries of Eastern Europe are two examples. So-called “ donor fatigue “ disillusionment with the track record of development assistance in general complicates the equation. Within research, there is concern that growth in size of the national systems (that is, numbers of scientists) without an accompanying increase in the resources per scientist will only replicate the currently inadequate situation.

Increased international competition for donor funds, combined with chronic problems of national indebtedness, puts immense pressure on developing-country NARS to operate more efficiently and to demonstrate this to their governments and donors. Indeed, efficiency, transparency, and better management might well be the watchwords of agricultural research in the cash-tight 1990s.

ISNAR, in its advisory work with some 40 developing countries over the past 10 years, has identified a number of factors crucial to the effectiveness and efficiency of NARS. These fall into three general categories: policyrelated, organisational, and managerial. Let us consider one example of a critical factor - information management - and show how ISNAR can help research systems improve their performance of important tasks.

Good planning, programming, monitoring, and evaluation require good information. Yet ISNAR has continually found that few senior NARS managers can find quick and useful answers to questions about the precise content of research, the people involved, and the exact costs. In human resources management, for example, many NARS leaders do not possess information on their own personnel strength. It is actually the exceptional research manager who is able to say quickly and accurately how many scientists there are on the payroll. Beyond that, few managers can describe the educational and career backgrounds of their people, and, more important, what exactly they are working on. Such information may exist in individual personnel files, but managers cannot get at it easily when they need to make important planning decisions.

ISNAR has therefore devoted considerable effort to helping NARS to better manage their information - not only in the area of human resources but also in that of physical and financial resources. In Sudan, for example, it has been working with the Agricultural Research Corporation to develop a computerised programme budgetary system. Managers can use this to plan and monitor expenditures on their research activities.

Leaner and fitter NARS

Information management is just one of at least a dozen critical factors in building and maintaining successful agricultural research systems. Today, the need for better management of NARS and for an agency such as ISNAR to assist with that improvement, is greater than ever. Ten or 15 years ago, the problem was mainly one of operational necessity - making sure that fledgling research institutes had resources in place to carry out their work agendas effectively. Today, the problem of doing it efficiently is paramount: we have entered an era of restricted funding, so NARS have no choice but to be leaner and fitter structurally and administratively.

Referring to agricultural research in Africa generally, the Honourable Maina Wanjigi, former minister for agriculture of Kenya, recently put it this way to an international audience of CGIAR donors in The Hague: “ In a period of resource scarcity, we have to be sure that we are making optimal use of the people, facilities, and funds which we do have available. A legitimate question which we must ask ourselves is: Are we doing so? My judgment is that we are not. We definitely have room for improvement”.

H.E. and G.T.

The curier’s mailbag

More cultural articles, please

There is a need to expose more cultural writings and authentic African, Caribbean and Pacific-centred readings, as you all are very aware of the cultural imbalance in the continent of Africa itself. The usage of symbols that are entirely connected with the European incursions of the past must be re-evaluated.

In this re-evaluation, your future Couriers should carry more readings in the area of cultural exposure... Moreover, your presentation of African writers in their original/authentic language is something that we, as a whole, need to see more of. Keep in mind that all of the countries of the world have an authentic voice. It is long overdue that Africa starts to claim its own. Even if, for compromise sake, all of the Africans nations adopt a common African tongue and thus, begin to unify itself through its common tongue.

I know that there are many other problems of immediate concern, but I think The Courier should be instrumental in contributing to this lofty endeavour.

Eduardo A. Cong, Santee, California, USA

Far east, not far west

In your September-October 1988 issue (News Round-up), you stated that the Upper River Division is in the far west of the Gambia. This is incorrect; it is in the far east of the country.

Pateh K. Jallow, Basse, The Gambia


I read the article on Sierra Leone and to be frank, it surprises me to know the help this country has been getting from the EEC and its allied agencies over the years. I am sure without your aid, life and development would have been in a shambles.

Frederick Q. Amonoo, Koidu Town - Kono, Sierra Leone

Oral tradition and culture in Gambia

Reading through The Courier of January-February 1990, I came across a very significant issue, that of African oral tradition and heritage.

The Gambia is one of the countries in Africa that has a very rich tradition and to date the average Gambian has respected tradition - in fact the whole society is virtually controlled by tradition. For example, ceremonies like child naming, marriages, funerals and mourning, to name a few, are still performed traditionally. The traditional link between families largely still exists in The Cambia.

Coming to the art of story telling and proverbs, visiting Gambia in their different Kundas (family homesteads) one finds old family members, sitting on the “bentengo” surrounded by young members of the family listening to stories of events pertaining to rulers, devils, witches, sacred trees and ponds, etc.

This tradition of story telling has a very important role to play in the family; one, it helps to educate young people so that they know about themselves and their people. For it is said that a people without knowledge of themselves cannot be proud of themselves. Two, it maintains the unity of people; and three, it kindles the spirit of young people.

Proverbs act as a polish to language communication. In the real Gambian family, old people with the mastery of proverbs are highly respected, and invited to most important gatherings. As our old people say - proverbs are like sauce to cook rice, it enriches the food, and gives the eaters appetite.

As in other African countries, The Gambia has meaningful proverbs, and hardly does one talk without bringing in proverbs.

Here are some common Gambian proverbs.

(1) The blind man will think of doing everything except jumping over a well.

(2) A hen with chicks should not jump over fire (meaning that if the hen escapes the chicks will not).

(3) Trousers will not accuse loin cloth of foul air (meaning that a bad person should not accuse another bad person).

(4) If you carry a hyena on your back, dogs will hark at you. ( That is, if you are a leader, people must talk of you).

Finally I take this opportunity to congratulate the Nigerian Association of Oral History and Tradition (N.A.O.H.T) for the big stride they have taken to make Africans gain awareness about their tradition.

Khaddy S. Konteh, Banjul, The Gambia

The importance of Shona

I was very interested in your article on the use of Shona in Zimbabwe. I spent two and a half years in Zimbabwe (in Masvingo) and I cannot but confirm what a good job Kwayedza has set out to do.

For the benefit of your readers, I should like to add that Shona is spoken by almost 10 million people, particularly in Zimbabwe and a small part of Mozambique, so it is quite important in the African language context.

I wrote the first Shona textbook in German. It is called “Pamberi nechiShona”, runs to 160 pages and has a large number of drawings, some photographs and German-Shona and Shona-German vocabulary. It also contains a short, well-illustrated 45-page tourist guide called “Fambai zvaka mu Zimbabwe - Have a nice trip to Zimbabwe”, containing English-Shona and Shona-English vocabulary.

Harald Vieth, Hamburg, Germany

The convention at work


Following the favourable opinion delivered by the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided that the projects listed below should be financed.

Western Samoa

Afulilo Hydropower Plant
6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 8 189 000

The project concerns the construction of a 4MW hydropower station in the Afulilo basin of Western Samoa’s main island of Upolu, which will generate 24GWh a year. The project aims to cover the projected increase in demand of electrical energy for about 10 years and to reduce dependence on oil imports for existing diesel generating capacity. This hydro-electric installation will generate the electricity for one of the W. Samoan Government’s most important socioeconomic development projects: the Rural Electrification Programme.

Project implementation involves the construction of the plant and the supply of equipment, accompanying actions such as consultancy for preliminary studies, engineering design, site supervision, technical assistance and institutional support for the Electric Power Corporation (EPC). Funds for many of these accompanying actions have been earmarked and committed by various external aid agencies.


Village Water Supply programme in the Savanes and Kara regions
5th and 6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 2 475 000

Togo is giving priority to water supplies in rural areas, and has set itself the goal of providing supplies of drinking water (20 litres per head per day) for rural populations estimated at 2.5 million. Around 50% of needs are currently being met.

The project fits in with this priority and will seek to provide a supply of water for approximately 75 000 people in the Kara and Savanes regions of northern Togo from 200 boreholes and 20 springs. It is in line with the aims of the 6th EDF indicative programme - improving the living conditions of the rural populations and increasing their ability to provide for themselves.

ACP States

Improvement of production and the marketing of ACP products on external markets
6th EDF
Grant: Ecu 4 628 000

The achievement of the European single market and the likely opening up of East European countries to a market economy are certain to bring about an increase in international demand. It was with this in mind that a project was devised to provide ACP exporters of tropical fruit and out-of-season vegetables with the technical and commercial assistance which they need in order to adapt themselves without delay to the evolution of international demand and the new marketing techniques resulting, for the most part, from the intensive concentration witnessed in the field of distribution.

The project will be run by the COLEACP and will provide ACP producers with:

- advanced professional training,
- a permanent source of commercial and technical information,
- assistance at both production and marketing levels,
- continuous professional liaison with European trading partners,
- systematic investigation into diversifying products and markets. c,


Mozambique: Ecu 6m for small and medium-sized projects

To finance capital investment projects by small and medium-sized enterprises and feasibility studies for SMEs in industry, agro-industry and tourism in Mozambique, the EIB is providing a conditional loan of Ecu 6 m from risk capital resources foreseen under the Third Lomonvention and managed by the Bank under mandate from the Community. The funds go to Banco de Mobique, the country’s central bank. BM itself, as well as all commercial banks in Mozambique, may use the proceeds of this global loan for financing SMEs.

To the extent BM and other banks are on-lending, in the form of conditional sub-loans, the EIB advanced the funds to BM for 20 years at 1%. Where the funds are used for financing feasibility studies, the terms are up to 10 years at 1%.

Global loans are open to financial institutions for on-lending in smaller amounts for economically, financially, technically and managerially sound investment projects. In 1989 the EIB granted 15 global loans totalling Ecu 52.1 m to financial intermediairies in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries and Overseas Countries and Territories and approved 93 sub-loans totalling Ecu 34.2 m to final beneficiaires.



The Commission has taken a number of decisions for emergency aid for the victims of the fighting in Liberia, amongst which.

Ecu 600 000 for Liberian refugees in Guinea, Ecu 400 000 for refugees in Sierra Leone and Ecu 650 000 for those affected in Liberia itself.

The aid will be implemented by the UN High Commission for Refugees, the League of Red Cross Societies and by Mcins Sans Frontis (Belgium).

The funds allocated will enable medical supplies to be purchased.

A further amount of Ecu 250 000 has also been allocated to the International Red Cross Committee for the supply of medicine and for essential goods and services.


In response to cholera and malaria epidemics in Mozambique in the past weeks, Ecu 300 000 has been allocated for the purchase, transport and distribution of vaccines and other medicines as well as for the sending out to Mozambique of medical teams from the Non-Governmental Organisation “Solidarieton il Terzo Mondo”.

A grant of Ecu 3 000 000 has also been approved as a contribution to humanitarian organisations aid programmes for the victims of the fighting and for the malnourished.


Emergency aid totalling Ecu 450 000 has been granted for Angolan refugees in Zaire.


In view of the consequences of the continuing conflict in the north of Somalia, which has resulted in extensive needs, and in particular an increasing need for medical care for the injured and civilian population living in the conflict zone, and following a new appeal to the Community from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Commission has decided to grant emergency aid, under Article 203 of the Lomonvention, amounting to Ecu 435 000 in favour of this population in Somalia.

This aid is to finance a medical and relief programme, including the air transport of medical goods and personnel, medical care, etc. and will be implemented by ICRC.


Aid totalling Ecu 3 000000 has been granted as a contribution to aid programmes being carried out by humanitarian organisations for the victims both of the present fighting and of the drought in Angola.


Ecu 260 000-worth of aid has been allocated for Liberian refugees who are pouring into Cd’Ivoire (particularly in the Guigio and Tabou provinces). The aid will be implemented by Mcins Sans Frontis (France) and will go to providing essential supplies,


A grant of Ecu 5 000 000 has been approved as a contribution to humanitarian organisations’ aid programmes for the victims of the fighting in Southern Sudan.


After favourable opinions by the Food Aid Committee, the Commission has taken the following decisions:

Food aid


The President of Burundi visits the Commission

Major Pierre Buyoya, the President of the Republic of Burundi, met Manuel Marin, the Commission Vice-President responsible for development and fisheries, on 22 June 1990. President Buyoya was accompanied by Cyprien Mbonimpa, Minister of External Relations and Cooperation, Gilbert Midende, Minister of Energy and Mining, Salvador Sahinguvu, State Secretary for Planning, and Fridolin Hatungimana, State Secretary for Cooperation.

The talks provided an opportunity to take a general look at cooperation between the Community and Burundi and at the prospects for the implementation of LomV.

President Buyoya outlined his policy of National Unity and Development, which reflects the Government’s desire for social harmony and economic development, stressing the importance it attaches to decentralising development to the communes and to ensuring the awareness and involvement of the population of Burundi.

He said that he appreciated cooperation with the Community, explaining his Government’s guidelines for LomV programming and raising one or two specific matters of particular interest to his country - Stabex intervention this year, Community support for structural adjustment, the possibility of Community support for the communal intervention funds (which the Burundi Government is to set up to support decentralised economic development) and regional cooperation.

Commissioner Marin again affirmed that the Community supported the Burundi authorities’ drive for peace and development. The Commission, he said, welcomed the Burundi Government’s approach in the process of National Unity towards the adoption of a new constitution. He stressed that the new Convention indeed put top priority on the sort of decentralisation and involvement of the people enshrined in Burundi’s Charter of National Unity, so that the instrument of LomV should enable the Community to help implement this policy.

The Commissioner went on to assess the latest events on the international political scene and to see what effects they might have on the development of Africa, underlining the importance of respecting human rights and having an economic democracy to ensure the wellbeing of the population as a whole.:

General information

GSP policy for the 1990s

The Generalised System of Preferences, designed 20 years ago to promote industrialisation and development in the Third World, is due to be reviewed this year.

A number of findings emerge from an analysis of the way it works:

1. Erosion of the preferential margin, in particular by the successive reductions in customs duties negotiated under GATT, has made GSP less attractive than it was.

2. The system changed from being an alternative to a supplementary system to GATT when the developing countries stepped up their involvement in the multilateral negotiations and their integration in the world trade system became one of the aims of these negotiations.

3. GSP’s usefulness as a supplementary instrument is attenuated by the fact that the Community scheme is complicated to manage and short on stability and transparency.

An instrument of this kind is still a necessary part of the Community’s development policy, but it will have to be revised in the light of developments since its inception if it is to work properly.

The idea of the proposed guidelines is to make GSP attractive again so it can go on doing a useful job. Experience suggests that this means simplifying it, first of all, in particular by doing away with the quantitative restrictions hampering utilisation, and ensuring that there is a proper system for taking the sensitivity of products and the competitive position of countries into account.

And this means making a special effort to improve the way the LDCs use the system, particularly the rules of origin.

Lastly, a look should be taken at the consequences of expanding international trade to non-traditional sectors- a trend clearly reflected in the extension of the sectors covered by the multilateral negotiations going on under GATT and one which should also be taken into account in the general framework of cooperation with the developing nations.

The Community should revise GSP in line with the developing countries’ more active involvement in the outcome of the Uruguay Round and their greater acceptance of multilateral discipline. The most advanced of the developing countries also think that the countries of Eastern Europe should open their markets to the LDCs.

A comparable degree of harmonisation of donor country policies should also be sought to ensure a fairer spread of the costs of liberalisation.

The Commission feels, therefore, that the new scheme for the other developing countries cannot really be finalised until the results of the Uruguay Round are known - which means carrying over the 1990 system, on a provisional basis, into 1991. And the improved rules of origin arrangements for the LDCs will be put into effect in 1991 as a contribution to the Conference of Paris scheduled for September 1990.

European community

EEC Summit in Dublin

Heads of State and Government of the 12 Member States of the Community met at their customary end-of-presidency summit on 25 and 26 June. Since Ireland held the presidency of the EC for the first six months of 1990, the meeting took place there - in the capital, Dublin - under the chairmanship of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles Haughey.

As always on such occasions, the scope of their discussions was wide. Important decisions were made on the holding of two intergovernmental conferences - one on economic and monetary union (to be opened in Rome on 13 December) and one on political union (on 14 December). In both cases the aim was to achieve ratification of results by the end of 1992.

The Council also requested the Commission to consult with the Soviet government with a view to preparing, as a matter of urgency, proposals for short-term credit and support for longer-term structural adjustment measures.

It also heard a report from the German Federal Chancellor on progress towards German unification. It welcomed the signing of the Inter-German State Treaty, which will facilitate and speed up the integration of the territory of the German Demogratic Republic into the Community.

On the environment, the Council agreed that a more enlightened and a more systematic approach needed to be adopted as a matter of urgency. Mr Haughey welcomed the adoption of what he termed a “major declaration” on the environment, in which guidelines for future action were set out. The Commission was asked to prepare an appropriate programme to deal with the threat to tropical rain-forests, in consultation with the countries concerned, in particular Brazil.

The question of South African sanctions was debated and, having paid homage to the roles played by both President de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela in the efforts to bring about changes in South Africa, the Twelve affirmed their willingness “ to gradually relax the pressure exerted on the South African authorities” (see declaration below). On sub-Saharan Africa, the Council expressed serious concern about the overall economic situation and about Africa’s indebtedness in particular.

Finally, the Twelve agreed to renew Mr Jacques Delors’ mandate as President of the Commission for a further two years.

Declaration on Southern Africa

“The European Council welcomes the important changes that have taken place in Southern Africa since it met in Strasbourg.

The European Council warmly welcomes the successful conclusion of the process of bringing Namibia to independence with a constitution based on multi-party democracy and human rights. The European Community and its Member States will continue to give aid and support to the people of Namibia as they build their new country, in particular in the framework of the new Lomonvention. They welcome the talks which have taken place between the Angolan Government and UNITA under Portuguese auspices. They look forward to the resolution of the conflict in Angola and also of that in Mozambique through dialogue.

The European Council greatly welcomes the significant changes that have taken place in South Africa in recent months: the release of Nelson Mandela and of other political prisoners; the unbanning of political organisations; the substantial lifting of the state of emergency; the commitment by the Government to abolish the apartheid system and to create a democratic and non-racial South Africa, and its willingness to enter into negotiations on the future of South Africa with the representatives of the majority.

They pay tribute to the parts played in bringing about these changes by President F.W. de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela. The efforts of President F.W. de Klerk to bring about a new era in South Africa are testimony to his foresight and courage. Mr Nelson Mandela, a prisoner for 27 years, has inspired millions of South Africans opposed to apartheid and thereby amply demonstrated his qualities of statesmanship, qualities that will be required in the challenging period ahead in South Africa.

The objective of the European Community and its Member States is the complete dismantlement of the apartheid system’ by peaceful means and without delay, and its replacement by a united, non-racial ant! democratic state in which all people shall enjoy common and equal citizenship and where respect for universally recognised human rights is guaranteed. They welcome the joint commitment between the South African Government and the ANC in the Groote Schunr Minute to stability and a peaceful process of negotiations. They call on all parties in South Africa to endorse this objective. It is the intention of the European Community and its member States to encourage, by every means available to them, the early opening of negotiations leading to the creation of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Negotiations on a new South Africa should get under way without delay. The substantial progress made towards removal of the obstacles represented by the state of emergency and the detenton of political prisoners is welcome. The European Council looks forward to early agreement between the South African Government and the ANC on the conditions in which exiles can return and on the definition of political prisoners leading to their release. The European Council calls on all parties to remove the remaining obstacles to peaceful negotiations and to refrain from violence or advocacy of violence.

The European Council fully recognises that a new post-apartheid South Africa should be able to avail itself of all the economic resources, including access to external finance, required to ensure its future prosperity and the full development of all its people. South Africa faces acute socio-economic problems, especially in the areas of employment, education and housing, against a background of a high rate of population growth. These problems have been greatly exacerbated by apartheid. Positive action is needed to rectify imbalances.

Through the programme of positive measures, the Community has, for a number of years, been providing assistance to the victims of apartheid. In the light of the recent developments in South Africa and as a strong signal of political support to those disadvantaged by apartheid and of the will to contribute to a new socio-economic balance, the Community intends to release the funds being made available under its programme and to adapt the programme to the needs of the new situation, including those connected with the return and resettlement of exiles. It welcomes the positive attitude being displayed by all parties, including the new South African Government, to such programmes.

At its meeting in Strasbourg last December, the European Council decided that the Community and its Member States would maintain the pressure that they exert on the South African authorities in order to promote the profound and irreversible changes which they have repeatedly stood for. The European Council affirms its willingness to consider a gradual relaxation of this pressure when there is further clear evidence that the process of change already initiated continues in the direction called for at Strasbourg.”


The European Parliament’s Development Committee met in mid-June to discuss both the 1991 budget for development and a number of issues of direct or indirect interest in the context of the Community’s development policy or programmes, including the Uruguay Round, German unification, relations with Central America, NGOs, the conservation of tropical forests and the protection of African elephants.

In addition, the Commissioner for Development, Mr Marin, addressed MEPs, informing them of the Council’s approval of further assistance to the victims of apartheid and of its support for the maintenance of sanctions; of progress towards the implementation of LomV and of the outcome of his recent visits to East Africa.

In the debate that followed Mr Marin’s address, questions were raised on the slow pace of implementation of Community programmes, and on the possibility of enlivening the Lomnstitutions - the Joint Assembly and the ACP-EEC Council. Mr Saby (Soc, F.), the Development Committee’s present Chairman, raised the issue of a special session of the Parliament, to be devoted to development and of a high-level seminar on the implementation of the Community’s development policy, suggestions which were both welcomed by the Commissioner.



The Community issued the following statement on 25 July:

“The Comunity and its Member States follow with deep concern the course of events in Liberia. They deplore in particular the loss of life among the civilian population and the wholescale destruction caused by the civil war and support the efforts of all those who are working to restore peace in the country. The Community and its Member States launch an urgent appeal for an end to the sufferings of the Liberian people and to havoc and war in the country.

Angola and Mozambique

The Community issued the following statement on 13 July:

“The Twelve reaffirm their conviction that a solution of the conflicts in Angola and Mozambique is possible through dialogue and note, in this respect, some encouraging developments.

- In Angola, they welcome the commitment to a pluralistic political system, contained in the communiquf the MPLA Central Committee, published on 4 July. This commitment will certainly enhance the prospects for a genuine dialogue and for internal reconciliation in Angola.

They have also noted with interest the contacts which are taking place under Portuguese auspices between the government of Angola and UNITA.

- On Mozambique, they welcome the positive outcome of the first official meeting between a delegation of the government of Mozambique and one of RENAMO which took place in Rome on 8-10 July. They feel encouraged by the decision of the parties to reconvene in Rome at an early date.

In the light of such positive steps, the Twelve urge all parties concerned in each of the two countries to work to establish a cease-fire as an indispensible preliminary for the negotiation of a lasting political settlement.

The Community and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to support this process by aiding the reconstruction and development of both these countries.”


The Commission of the European Communities approved, in June, a communication to the Council on new lines to be taken in the EEC’s Special Programme for the victims of apartheid in South Africa.

The Commission suggests that the “ political dimension “ of the programme be maintained (until such time as there is proof of irreversible progress towards the complete abolition of apartheid) and that relations with bodies such as the South African Council of Churches, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Kasigo Trust and trades unions be continued would be taken into account and on-the-spot coordination would be improved.

According to the Commission, priority under the programme would be given to training and education, rural development, community development and to emergency health care. Projects would be expected to support and promote in some way the concept of racial equality.

The Member States are expected to decide on these proposals sometime in the autumn.

The new lines the Programme would take was one of the topics of discussion in the talks held between the President of the Commission, Mr Jacques Delors, and Mr Nelson Mandela when they met in Strasbourg in June (see The Courier N°122, Yellow Pages, p. I) in the presence of two of the Commission’s Vice-Presidents, Mr Frans Andriessen (External Relations and Trade) and Mr Manuel Marin (Development and Fisheries).ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION

On 1 July 1990, the European Community entered into stage one of

At the same time, the difficulties the achievement of Economic and arising out of the return of exiles Monetary Union as was decided by the European Council in Madrid 12 months ago.

In Dublin, the European Council decided to convene the Intergovernmental conference on EMU on 13 December. The Council also considered that the first stage should be used to ensure convergence in the economic performance of Member States, to advance cohesion and to further the use of the ecu, all of which are of importance for further progress towards EMU.

“Stage one will be crucial to the success of the whole process”, according to Vice-President Henning Christophersen, “ It must bring about greater convergence of economic performance through the strengthening of economic and monetary policy coordination within the existing institutional framework.” The Vice-President believed that preparations for stage one have been successfully concluded:

- Capital movements, which were to be liberalised no later than 1 July in all Member States except four, have been freed from restrictions ahead of schedule.

- A system of multilateral surveillance has been set up in order to coordinate economic policies more efficiently and has already been used successfully in the ECOFIN Council on 11 June.

- The Committee of Central Bank Governors has been strengthened and the framework for the coordination of monetary policies has been improved.

- The European Monetary System has been consolidated by extending the common rules to the Italian lira and the Belgian franc, and exchange rate parities have been stable for 3 1/2 years. Full participation of the pound sterling at an early date seems likely.

Finally, the work for the completion of the internal market by the end of 1992 is well on track.

The goal of stage one is to prepare the ground for subsequent stages, Mr Christophersen added. The Heads of State and Government declared in Dublin that the Intergovernmental Conference on Economic and Monetary Union should conclude its work rapidly, with the objective of ratification of the results by Member States before the end of 1992.


Daniel LEMONNIER and Yves INGENBLEEK - Les carences nutritionnelles dans les pays en dloppement (Nutritional deficiency in developing countries) Editions Karthala & ACCT, 22-24 bvd Arago, 75013 Paris and 13 quad Andritro 75015 Paris 623 pages Bfrs 1088 - 1989.

This contains the main papers read at the 3rd GERM (the Malnutrition Study and Research Group) international scientific session held for the first time in Nianing in Senegal from 4-9 October 1987. It is volume two in a French-language series on achievements and original scientific work on the nutritional problems of the developing world and deficiencies in general and it is aimed at researchers, experts in nutrition, users of research in the field and NGOs concerned with nutritional problems in children. It gives details of various avenues of research, such things as the nutritional state in protein-calorie malnutrition, the latest applications of anthropometry, vitamin A deficiency (ultimately responsible for thousands of cases of blindness in the developing countries), breast-feeding and food consumption. This research, Daniel Lemonnier stresses in the preface, has repercussions on agriculture and the technology of the agri-food industry and cooking on the nutritional value of food. Experts in nutrition also have to take account of social science, training and extension work. This is a thorough piece of work which is destined to be increasingly useful in the future. Alain LACROIX

Sub-Saharan Africa: from crisis to sustainable growth - World Bank, Washington D.C. - November 1989.

This 300-page study of sub-Saharan Africa by a team of experts drawn not only from World Bank staff but from African intellectuals and political scientists is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is not prescriptive; it does not lay down a single best way of doing things. Secondly, it transcends economics; it devotes considerable space to sociological and political matters. And thirdly, it places the blame for Africa’s disastrous record on the shoulders of both donors and recipients. This is not a case where exogenous factors, colonial heritage, the inequities of the global economic order, the weather, and so on, are brought out to excuse failure. The main cause of failure is identified as the lack of an ‘enabling environment’, an environment that encourages farmers to produce, marketers to market, entrepreneurs to make and sell and, above all, local investors to invest locally.

The World Bank seems to have taken very much to heart the strictures on first-generation structural adjustment programmes. The new-generation programmes, the book states, will have to consist of three complementary components: a policy component which will have to combine macroeconomic restructuring with the launching of core social expenditure programmes; programme and project components designed for specific sectors and concentrating on community-level activities, small-scale income generation and local social infrastructure; and an institutional and development component to strengthen governments’ capacities to plan, implement and analyse the necessary programmes.

The emphasis is on investment in people: not only at the top, but especially, perhaps in what the book calls the ‘missing middle’ which occupies a significant part of the preoccupations of the authors. Africa has more cars per capita than South Korea, not because of its wealth, but because of the poverty of the people and the poor infrastructure. Animals are too expensive, bicycles too fragile. Thus from walking, the African graduates to driving. The same is true of agriculture and industry: “When farmers modernise, they switch from the hoe to a tractor”. Training, investment in people, encouragement to save, are all part of the prescription.

On the whole this is a less gloomy analysis than one might expect. Increases in investment of 4-5 % would lead to surpluses, and keep abreast of population growth (a serious subject sensitively tackled here). A call is made to the donor community for more and better-coordinated assistance (and fewer expatriate advisers) but the main call is to African governments to review their priorities and policies, with a view to getting sustained and sustainable development.



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