Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database

Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Late Colonial Development in British West Africa: The Gonja Development Project in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, 1948-57
Author:Grischow, Jeff D.
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic terms:Ghana
Great Britain
agricultural projects
History and Exploration
Development and Technology
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Abstract:Viewed through the lenses of Ferguson's 'The antipolitics machine' (1990), this article examines the Gonja development project in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (Ghana). The project began in 1950 with the creation of the Gonja Development Company (GDC). Financed by the colonial State, the GDC sought to develop mechanized agricultural production in a region supposedly 'locked up' from development by slave raiding and trypanosomiasis. Gonja was part of an Empire-wide throwback to Joseph Chamberlain's 19th-century decree to 'develop the colonial estates', triggered by Britain's desperate need for oilseeds and proteins in the context of the sterling crisis after World War II. Unlike Chamberlain, however, Gold Coast colonial officials believed they could preserve the African community during the process of agricultural development. The project failed spectacularly and the GDC entered into voluntary liquidation in 1957. The case of the GDC demonstrates the concern of the colonial State with the negative effects of capitalist development. In this manner, colonial officials believed that economic transformation could be achieved without producing social change. For the colonial State, social change was politically dangerous because of its potential to trigger the development of nationalist politics and unemployment. The colonial State attempted to avoid these political threats by reconciling peasant production with agricultural mechanization. Nkrumah accepted this scheme and absorbed it into his struggle against the growing opposition to the Convention People's Party (CPP) after 1951. Insofar as the State presented this political project as a series of technical interventions in the Northern Territories, one might speak of the Gonja scheme in terms of the 'antipolitics machine'. However, it was not simply a matter of constraints produced by the colonial constructions of a certain discourse of development. Rather, the idea and practice of late colonial development owed much to the material realities, and threats, posed by the development of capitalism in the colonies. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.