1950s >> 1952 >> no-580-december-1952

Africa—A Field For Investment

Africa is a vast continent, with a population of 200 million where 700 different languages are spoken. It is coming more and more into the news, for it offers enormous opportunities for the investment of capital.


The Daily Mail had two articles (4 and 5 Sept) on the proposal to form a Central African Federation, to include Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and which will be discussed at Westminster shortly.


And The Daly Telegraph (10-9-52) reports:


   “A Sahara expedition which will study methods of halting the desert’s advance. Mr. Baker and his three companions will spend a week in Paris meeting French Sahara experts at the Ministry of War and elsewhere. They will visit the plantations in Algeria, and will go to Tunisia, through Laghouat, In Salah 700 miles south of Algiers, and cross the desert through Zinder to Nigeria. They will then drive to Uganda and Kenya.”


The Daily Telegraph (6-9-52) reports a “decision to build a £70 million oil refinery on the Kenya mainland opposite Mombasa Island. The Government will freeze 2,000 acres in the interests of the security and well-being of Kenya. Work is expected to be provided for hundreds of Europeans and thousands of Africans. It is widely thought that Mombasa will become an important naval base.”


There are all kinds of plans for developing Africa. Experts have been investigating dam sites on the River Zambesi, to harness the power of the Victoria Falls; the Zambesi, one of Africa’s greatest rivers, forms the northern border of Southern Rhodesia, and it is believed that, some 200 miles north-east of the Falls, between the high banks of the Kariba Gorge, a dam site would create an inland sea as big as the three largest American dams put together. Cheap electric power could be generated at low cost


Another large plan is the Sabi Lundi development scheme, which has large possibilities for industry, for there are coal and phosphate deposits here.


All these plans need capital.


   “The President of the World Bank, disclosed that the bank has lent £500 million to 27 countries in the last five years. It is helping to finance a £100 million four year plan by Southern Rhodesia ” (Daily Graphic 6-9-52).


A booklet has been prepared by the Public Relations Dept, of Southern Rhodesia, and is called “Southern Rhodesia, A field for investment.” We are told that, “Southern Rhodesia is admirably placed to be the manufacturer in chief to many millions of Africans inside and beyond its borders. Apart from its own people, Southern Rhodesia can therefore look northwards and eastwards to Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, the Eastern Congo and Portuguese East Africa, to a population of not less than 12 to 15,000,000 Africans, for potential markets for her growing industries.”


We thus can see that economic development is going on.


What will be the result of all this development on the native Africans? “The five million whites in Africa fear that they will be swamped and overpowered by the Africans, whose standard of civilisation is incomparably lower than theirs. The Europeans there seek to avert this real danger by retaining all forms of political power in their own hands for as long as possible ” (page 42 “Attitude to Africa,” by W. A. Lewis, Michael Scott, M. Wight and C. Legum).


The Africans are thus being drawn into the vortex of our present capitalist economy.


I. Flower.