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Date Posted: 21:53:45 12/11/04 Sat
In reply to: Ed Harris (Venezia) 's message, "Dangerous territory" on 21:10:19 12/11/04 Sat
Every function of government in the Portugese colonies from top to bottom was carried out by a Portuguese official, even very minor jobs in railway stations etc... All that the blacks were used for was in ultra-cheap labour. At the docks in Mozambique the workers were not even issued with boots while manhandling shipping crates - this in the early 1970s! When the revolution came about in Portugal it was decided to clear out of the Colonies as quickly as possible (presumably the revolutionaries were worried about a potential counter revolution). When they left there were no people able to fill-up the civil service positions that were vacant and the rest of the population was (and is now) largely ignorant. This is visible in all economic data published on the former Portugese colonies in Africa. The rough figure of GDP per head in Mozambique is ~ US$200 annually and Angola has ~US$750 annually.
In Britain the approach was to educate the Africans so that they could fulfil functions greater than lifting and carrying. When the UK gave independence to its African colonies there were people in these new nations who were capable of filling civil-service positions required for a western structure of government.
I fully agree that the Soviet Socialist Republic of the LSE has a lot to answer for but looking at an example that has worked beautifully and benefitted from the British approach is Botswana. As a comparison the FCO gives the annual GDP per head of this genuinely democratic African nation as US$5,502 (2004), around seven times that of Angola and a staggering twenty-five times that of Mozambique. To put these figures into context, many of the new EU countries have a GDP per head that is less than this.
This difference is more what I meant by the establishment of a middle class.
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Ed Harris (Venezia)
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Date Posted: 01:10:57 12/12/04 Sun
I suppose that I was thinking about preparing ruling classes for government whereas what you were actually talking about were the nuts-and-bolts professions which make a country work, in which context you are certainl right. Botswana really is a great success story, and more should be made of it. It is peaceful, democratic, free from ethnic violence (and not just between different African tribes, because the Indians were never kicked out of Bechuanaland as was the case in much of British Africa and they live there still) and relatively prosperous. Bravo.
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