Rural Africa: Modernization, Equity, and Long-Term Development

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Science  06 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4482, pp. 547-553
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4482.547


Prospects for rural development in sub-Saharan Africa appear to be much poorer than in the rest of the developing world, especially since the oil price increases. If present trends continue, African dependence on food imports will increase. Despite the rhetorical acknowledgment of the importance of the agricultural and rural sector, most African countries are not giving that sector the needed priority in their policies and budgets. Indeed, the rural sector is heavily taxed for the support of urban modernization. Large investments by foreign donors in the rural sector have had little overall effect. Donors need to adopt a longer perspective on development and to make greater efforts to promote indigenous capacities for policy, planning, and administration. Their investments need to be geared more to broad-based higher education and training and to transport and communications.