African - Ayittey Chpt7 Pt 1.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 3205F/G
Richard Vande Wetering

THE SECOND GENERATION PROBLEMS  Is that no substantial famine has ever occurred in a country with a democratic form of government and relatively free press INTRODUCTION  To recap, state controls created commodity shortages while inefficient and unprofitable state enterprises – failed to deliver the goods  Second generation problems – for example a good or agricultural crises was produced when African agriculture – started its decline  Most African governments acknowledged the importance of agriculture  Inadequate supply situations coupled with soaring government expenditures financed by printing money, resulted in inflation in many African countries  Anything that discourages savings has a negative impact on investment  To compensate for low domestic savings, African governments borrowed feverishly from abroad  Distributions of controlled commodities in shortage find that they can exploit the situation by extracting rent and pocketing bribes  Resentment steadily builds in those excluded from the spoils of power – people may simply pack up and vote with their feet, becoming economic refugees  Political instability engenders economic instability and insecurity – unable to generate sufficient revenue domestically, the African government becomes more and more dependent on foreign charity  National sovereignty is surrendered when government budgets must be approved by Washington, London or Paris  Bribery and corruption become more brazen as the cost of living raises and economic hardships become more severe  The military has the weapons advantage but not the numbers advantage, which explains why virtually all of Africa’s civil wars start from the countryside, where the military is stretched thin geographically and does not have the numbers to put down a revel insurgency  Military regimes have proliferated in Africa AFRICAS AGRICULTURAL CRISES  In the new century, hunger remains a persistent problem in Africa  25 million Africans required emergency food aid, 200 million Africans suffer from chronic hunger  Although total output has been growing this growth has barely kept pace with Africa’s increasing population  Countries once self sufficient in food production, now face sharp escalations in food import bills  Performance of Africa’s economic sectors except for mining and other extractive industries has been weak  No sub-saharan African country has been able to achieve food self sufficiency THE CAUSES OF AFRICA’S FOOD CRISES  Africa’s agricultural crises have been attributed to a host of factors, both internal and external. Among them are: protectionist policies of the rich countries, drought, poor soils the use of backward and primitive technology and increased competition from cash crops  Export production has, in fact, declined in tandem with the decline in the production of food crops  Nor do hostile world market conditions offer any credible explanatory power  A combination of vicious internal factors: civil wars, state interventionism and wrongheaded policies  The primary responsibility for choosing between bad and good projects rested with African leaders and elites  After independence, many African leaders adopted socialism as their guiding ideology and applied the same ideology o agriculture OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES  Agricultural research in Africa has generally dwindled due to underfunding  The war merely exacerbated the effects of disastrous policies of statism  The basis of villagization concept was to concentrate the peasantry in administratively and politically accessible units in order to implement a number of programs and measures aimed at raising the productivity of labour in household agriculture REASONS FOR THE FAILURE OF AFRICA’S AGRICULTURE  NEPAD the reasons for Africa’s agricultural stagnation are: continuing dependence on uncertain rainfall  Mechanized agriculture was seen as a sign of progress, and African leaders who pursued mechanization did so with total disregard for experience and rationality  Black Africa is not yet ready for large scale mechanization of agriculture  The second general reason for the failure was collective agriculture was the socialist ideology itself  The third and perhaps most important reason for the failure of collective agriculture was the neglect and downright denigration of peasant traditional farmers  African peasants are capable farmers – African states provide little incentive to grow more food  Too many agricultural projects crafted by the elites failed in Africa because they did not fit into Africa’s unique sociocultural environment  The use of food aid as an inventive to farmers to participate in community development has distorted their conception of value  Many African countries it is one of the traditional roles of a chief to play and active role in the village communities development  Property belonging to the chief is generally regarded as sacred since it forms part of ancestral wealth. This should not be confused with socialized or collectivized agriculture since the element of coercion would be missing. A peasant cannot be forced to work on a chief’s farm GHANA’S EXPERIENCE WITH PRICE CONTROLS  But price controls create more problems than they solve  Food production is the backbone of peasant economic activity. Therefore price controls on food have the potential of wreaking far more economic and social change  African chiefs do not fix prices. Bargaining over prices has always been the rule in all village markets  When farmers switch production from a commodity whose price is controlled to one that is not, the result is shortages of the controlled commodity due to reduced supply  It cost the government a substantial amount of resources to employ all these people to enforce price controls – an activity that did not result in even one extra tuber of yam being produced . The controls exacerbated the shortage situation  Fifty percent of food prices in the urban areas are made up of transportation costs  Zimbabwean farmers sold their grain across the border to brokers in south Africa who in turn
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