chapter  14
18 Pages

Africa

Popular participation in development
WithPaul Wangoola

A great 'discovery' seems to have been made in times: the critical importance of the participation of the people in the development process if Africa is to recover and, even more important, to develop. The issue of Africa's development is an historical question which must be dealt with historically. It is therefore important to establish from what Africa must recover before development can occur. One way to understand the depth of die injury to African people is to look at who was behind, and therefore benefiting from, the slave trade. The cost to Africa was high. Political leadership and authority were undermined, endogamous economies destroyed, social and cultural institutions disrupted, popular technology and knowledge allowed to wither. 'Popular participation' – the phrase is used by a wide-range of people with diverse and sometimes conflicting meanings. The people must not merely participate but must set the agenda for recovery and development. It is only then that participation becomes popular participation.