215. Report of the Task Force on the Review of African Development Policies and Programs1


U.S. relations with Africa are distinctly different from those with other regions of the world. The ties that link us are many and significant; they will grow in the future. We hear the voice of Africa in world affairs, a voice with increasing insistence and power in the United Nations where there will soon be 39 African states addressing themselves to such thorny issues as Rhodesia, Southwest Africa, South Africa, the Portuguese colonies—and Viet Nam. We hear it amplifying via such organizations of poor-nation protest as UNCTAD, through the International Coffee Agreement and similar channels. We hear it within the context of race differences in our own society.
Yet, our relations with Africa are not of the same order as our intimate historic ties with Latin America, our significant strategic interests in Asia or our massive commercial investment in the Near East. Africa, for the most part, is outside the main arenas of U.S. attention and actions in the world. Our primary concern with Africa has been, and will continue to be for some time, to prevent events in the continent from complicating a search, largely conducted elsewhere, for solutions to the problems of war and peace, or from interfering with our central strategic and political preoccupations in other regions.
As we successfully deal with these central interests, the locus of our attention shifts increasingly to the problems of the less developed countries (LDCs), where most of the world’s populations and ills are concentrated. To the extent we succeed in containing and moderating Soviet and Communist power in Europe, the more the confrontation between opposing economic systems and ideologies occurs in the LDCs including those in Africa.
A huge land mass with a rich potential for production of food and with large stores of the minerals needed to replenish those being depleted elsewhere, Africa will be of growing interest to the United States. This interest will be constantly reinforced by the obligation we increasingly accept to ameliorate the problems caused by the growing gap between rich and poor nations, between population explosion and food scarcity, between white and colored peoples. The black versus white issue is coming to a head now in Southern Africa.
Our aid programs for Africa have been limited both qualitatively and quantitatively by the constraints imposed by our more pressing concerns elsewhere in the world and by the history of Africa’s relations with Europe. Within that framework, our programs and policies have been modestly successful.
That limited success is due largely to the Africans themselves, to their desire to maintain their independence, to their yearning for material advance, to the general absence of the worst structural rigidities found in other regions, to their openness to innovation and to their tremendous needs. No one can tell how long these advantages will work to our benefit; we must recognize that attitudes and conditions shift rapidly in Africa.
In general, we have been following an economic development policy of helping to eliminate obstacles to growth. In theory, at least, we start by determining, on the basis of the best analysis we can make, what the bottlenecks are to development in the particular circumstances that exist in a given African country. If it appears that the country does not itself have the resources to deal with the problem and if assistance is not likely to be forthcoming from any other source, we try to help meet the problem by providing whatever is appropriate—training, technical assistance, surveys, capital assistance or some combination thereof. Where the United States has made a deliberate and well-thought-out decision to embark on a major development effort in a given country, and a consultative group or other coordinating arrangement has been worked out with other donors, this approach makes sense. When applied generally throughout the continent, the approach has caused serious problems:
It has necessarily resulted in so-called “scatteration,” that is to say, in our involvement in hundreds of projects dealing with almost every conceivable activity related to development and at many levels. Even where the selection of the bottlenecks and what we do about them has been very skillful, this procedure produces a pattern that is difficult for our Congress, our citizens, and for Africans not directly concerned to understand.
While the lack of understanding could perhaps be overcome eventually by a vigorous educational effort, the administrative problems caused by our attempt to deal with the extraordinary variety of requirements found in Africa too often prevent us from being promptly and fully effective. To think through all the implications of each problem, to devise a sound approach and procedures, and to put people on the spot who are both technically qualified to deal with the specific situation and who have the dedication, broad understanding and ability to work well with Africans in a strange environment—these are formidable difficulties. AID is confronted with what, in practice, is an administrative [Page 336] impossibility if high standards of efficiency are set. It has been forced into a highly complex structure with a multiplicity of tasks and heavy administrative overhead.
Less crucial, but a factor of real importance, is that the approach used so far is open to abuses that damage the credibility of aid as an objective instrument of development. It is only too easy, when confronted with an African government’s importunities for a show of support or when some specific political problem arises, for the Ambassador or staff in the field to seize the most useful and practicable of the available projects that appeal to the political leadership and press Washington for its acceptance. While no system is proof against abuse, this approach makes the way of the transgressor particularly easy.
Perhaps most serious of all is that this way of conducting an aid program is inconsistent with the actual role of the United States and the amount of resources we have been providing—with the exception, once again, of those few countries in which we have undertaken a major commitment for development. With $220 million annually, plus agricultural surpluses, we cannot pretend to conduct economic development programs in 33 countries. If we were the largest aid donor and were spending, say, a billion dollars or more a year, the theory that we should try to provide whatever is lacking—in any field of activity and at any level of development—might be justified. It is not a sound concept given our present, or even a considerably expanded, role in Africa.
The strategy of our present aid program, though modified in many practical ways by the experienced professionals in AID, is a reflection of the unrealistic expectations found both in the United States and in Africa as to what our aid to Africa can achieve. Accustomed to the overriding strategic imperatives for the aid efforts associated with the Truman Doctrine and the Alliance for Progress and the impressive results from the Marshall Plan in Europe, many misunderstand our purposes and misjudge what is possible in Africa.
This is not to say that either a different approach to African development or a large increase in our present program would begin to meet these exaggerated expectations. The methods now known to us cannot telescope time to close the chasm between developing and developed nations, least of all in Africa. With all good will and with much of the world’s wealth, we cannot hope to achieve quick results and cannot aspire to enforcing nationhood, to willing wealth, to producing educated, stable governments in the near term.
We can, however, take advantage of the special character of our relationship with Africa to play a unique role. Unlike the former colonial powers, we do not have persistent or insistent commercial and political interests of primary concern in Africa. We are able, therefore, to view the continent through a longer-term optic. We can, if we wish, be increasingly [Page 337] single-minded in the pursuit of long-range economic development.
It is self-evident that the more concentration that can be placed on purely developmental criteria, the sooner Africa will attain a level of development that will permit it to generate a large measure of its own growth, to satisfy the aspirations of its people, to attain a greater measure of stability and independence, and to make its own contribution to meeting the massive problems of the twenty-first century. If we can be sure that our help is efficiently used, there is strong reason to increase the resources we make available.
Further, there is no doubt that if we intend to engage in a major economic development effort in Africa, now is the time to do it. African independence is still a recent phenomenon; the desire to retain true independence is still vital; the ties to the West are still strong. Our essentially disinterested posture enables the U.S. to concentrate more effectively its persuasive influence in world and regional organizations, so that greater coordination among donors and with African organizations and countries can be achieved. Greater cooperation among the Western aid-giving nations (and perhaps eventually the Soviet Union and other Communist countries) could provide a reinforcing and multiplying effect that would be advantageous to donors and recipients alike. We must recognize at the same time that the two major European donors—France and the United Kingdom—are unlikely to increase their aid to Africa and will probably reduce it in the years to come.
There is another respect in which the fact of recent African independence is a compelling reason for concentrating now on economic development. The development process is hampered by the large number of political entities in Africa; to be effective a development effort must seek actively to reduce the effect of these many arbitrary divisions. With the passage of each year there is increasing danger that political habits and special interests will introduce still greater rigidities.
Now is also the time to concentrate on economic development if Africa is to realize its potential as a major producer of foodstuffs in a hungry world. There should be no further delay in getting solutions to the complex and obdurate socio-economic problems of rural development. Better an orderly development effort today than a wasteful crash program in the 1970’s.
And now is the time to do it while the absence of overriding political requirements permits us to make and to hold to objective decisions with respect to those geographic areas and functional sectors on which to focus major developmental efforts, to attain particular competence in chosen fields of activity, and to produce measurable achievements.
There are thus strong reasons why we should move further in the direction of the most efficient economic development program we can devise, and why in fact we are in a good position to do so. Each of the considerations cited has a bearing on the achievement of greater efficiency—making better use of all the available resources, and not just our own; encouraging regionalism rather than purely national development and making a careful selection of the functional areas having greatest impact and where we have or can develop a particular competence. Each presents distinctive problems and opportunities.
All available evidence points to a confusing incoherence by Western donors (and the Africans) in development activities, by a lack of accord on what to survey as propitious investment opportunities, by an unwillingness to accept each other’s data or surveys, by a conflict of trade and commercial policies, by a duplication of effort, by a disparity of doctrinal approaches in the same fields of activity, and by a wasteful dispersal of effort and of resources. Perhaps this incoherence is best seen in the field of agriculture and of rural development—the sector which must generate African development—in which there is, as yet, no institutional framework for the interchange of information and of experience. Because of this and other failures to coordinate, the U.S. has become enmeshed in an unmanageable range of projects in response to pressures emanating from the Africans. It has produced too many U.S. Government technicians in too many fields under too many AID Missions without yielding the dividend of particular competence in any one sector. At the same time, it has led U.S. officials to think in terms of their activities—education, transport, health—in isolation rather than as integral parts that must be fitted into the development process as a whole.
Some of the tools for a better coordinated effort have already been forged. Through Consultative Groups under the leadership of the IBID, Western aid to Tunisia and Nigeria has been made more effective. Others are in the process of formation. But Western nations to a great extent still seek to pursue developmental activities within the classical bilateral framework developed to deal with political, military or commercial relations.
The use of existing continent-wide organizations is often suggested. Three are in operation in Africa: the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the African Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). This regional trinity will have a significant psychological influence in the formulation of African attitudes and in developing links between Africa and the international community. But it is clear that these three organizations, with weak financial resources and serious political burdens, are severely limited in the responsibilities they can bear at this stage. The OAU is, in the words of its Secretary-General, a mirror of Africa with all its racial, [Page 339] tribal, religious, political and economic divisions. The ADB has only opened its doors for business this month; it has $34,000,000 in its till; it has excluded all non-African membership; and like the OAU and ECA, it is subject to the political pressures of its members. The UNECA is a staff organization without operational authority and with all the predictable problems of an indigent body askewed by its members, barely able to move and uncertain where it wants to go. At some time in the future, each of these organizations will have a better defined role, better cooperation one with the other, and a better relationship with its members. We should seek to strengthen these institutions, but it would be illusory at this stage to depend upon these organizations to perform essential tasks in the developmental process.
The question of the fragmentation of the continent into independent micro-states (24 have populations of less than 5 million) presents even greater difficulties. It is a commonplace that Africa’s boundaries are an illogical and largely accidental inheritance from western colonialism, and that many countries are much too small or ill-endowed or both to permit economies of scale and to support the administrative structures competent to meet the problems of independence. If we base our development effort on the requests of individual national governments, understandably concerned with their own constituencies, or on the basis of convenience and simplicity “in order to have someone responsible to deal with,” the result will be to harden present divisions—and, in the very long term, to set back the course of economic development.
There are pitfalls, however, in considering rigid groupings of countries as regions. UNECA, for example, has offered one answer in the form of four “sub-regional” groupings for North, East, West and Central Africa. Our examination has led us to doubt very seriously that for the UN or other outside agencies to define extensive geographic entities is the most effective or realistic approach to the complexities of Balkanization. Although African nations have dutifully paid lipservice to the principle, they have rarely implemented any action program geared to the sub-regions drawn by the ECA. Cooperation between or among African states can only be effected if some identity of specific interest with mutual advantage can be established. The areas of such interest vary with the function: rivers may go in one direction, ecologies in another; thus, what may make sense for a cooperative effort in the harnessing of water power may conflict with an undertaking in agricultural development. Similarly, the logic of sub-regional transport systems, of communications links, of health programs, and so on, will demand different combinations of countries until the time arrives when a significant number of African states have achieved a certain level of development, have acquired a certain amount of coordinating experience and have attained [Page 340] a certain degree of political coherence. Examples of premature and unsuccessful efforts to establish artificial customs unions or federations abound in Africa. The Senegal-Mali union in its brief life probably set back the development of each country a number of years; the East African and the Central African Federations, the Guinea-Ghana Union, to mention a few other examples, failed not because of a lack of will or of vision but because of a disregard for the realities of politics, of geography, of development. On the other hand, several African countries—notably Nigeria and Congo (K)—can reasonably be considered “regions” in themselves.
Once clear that we must concentrate our aid activities, that we must press hard for those things that produce real economic development and that we must work more closely with others, we come to the question of choosing what we should do. While recognizing that “every choice is an injustice” we must, if we are serious about concentrating our activities and taking advantage of our greatest skills and competencies, be selective.
The selection of certain things on which we as a nation should concentrate does not imply that there are not many other useful and important things that can and should be done. But the fact that an eloquent case can be made setting forth a need does not mean that it is the responsibility of the United States to satisfy that need. We are in trouble—with the Congress, with the American public and with high African expectations—because we have not defined our role and because we have unwittingly assumed too many responsibilities in relation to available U.S. resources
To decide upon certain sectors to devote our attention does not mean that we should take on the full obligation. For one thing, we must take into account the views of the Africans. However, if we know where we want to go, if we clarify and refine our objectives, if we devise a plan of action and persist in it over an extended period of time, then we can expect to have greater influence on Africans and on other donors,
Neither does our selection of a relatively few sectors at the expense of others mean that we are adopting any particular doctrine on development. It is true that a growing body of overly-refined doctrine is being applied to the real and imperfect world of Africa. As a result, we have tended to make unreasonable demands of the Africans. But although we are not challenging development doctrine as such, we are challenging the view that the United States should be deeply involved, in the whole development process of every African country, whether through “partnership” or some other formula for sharing responsibility. Such a commitment may make sense in Latin America—but not in Africa.
The first step in defining a role is to make a clear-cut distinction between those of our total aid resources (technical assistance, capital development, “supporting assistance” and most P.L. 480) that we are prepared to devote to development and those that, for political or other reasons, are to be expended without rigorous application of developmental criteria—though the latter should also be used whenever possible for useful economic purposes. A distinction of this kind has already been imposed by legislation between the funds available for military and economic uses and between “supporting assistance” and other aid. A similar quantitative distinction, though not necessarily a legislative one, between economic development and what is usually described as “political” purposes could benefit both and lead to a more rational adaptation of means to achieve the ends desired.
This distinction is important first of all in the management of our own resources. If a project being done primarily for political impact loses its effectiveness through delays because we insist on subjecting it to the full, painstaking examination required for determining priority and optimum form for economic development, we are being irrational. We may also damage a sound and important economic development activity by giving it a political load that it is not able to bear. While the kind of “systems analysis” approach applicable to the military establishment cannot readily be transferred to foreign policy decisions for Africa, we believe that we can be much more rigorous in sorting out clearly what are our goals and fitting the means to the end desired.
The distinction is also important because of the effect on the Africans of a lack of clarity or seriousness in applying development criteria. We cannot blame African leaders for misapplying their resources if we ourselves blur the distinction between sound economic activities and political expediency, nor can we then be surprised if they return repeatedly for our assistance because of their political motivation. Some funds should be available for political purposes—in circumstances where both parties recognize the political content and the limitations on its amount. But it is essential that the exceptional nature of expenditures of this kind be widely understood, within the governments of the U. S. and the recipient alike, if the dissipation of both our and their resources is not to be increased.
For this reason, it is important that the aid allocated strictly for development should be substantially larger than that made available for expenditure under non-development criteria. The exact proportions that the latter should represent can be decided only after the nondevelopment purposes have been re-examined in light of such a separation. It is not within the purview of this report to suggest the other purposes for which U.S. funds should and should not be expended, but we urge that the traditional political and security considerations affecting aid be carefully [Page 342] thought through and that more explicit criteria be worked out than are applied at present. The present practice of using the same generalized “national interest” justifications for political programs, whether they cost $100,000 or $1,000,000, cannot be justified.
We should then determine what our human and financial commitments are toward those few countries where we have undertaken either to participate as a full partner in an organized, multinational effort in support of a development plan for a specified period (e.g., Nigeria and Tunisia) or to help achieve some less broad but major economic goal (e.g., economic rehabilitation in the Congo and financial stabilization in Ghana). Countries falling in these categories have first claim on our development resources and their programs require great flexibility. It is urged that any new commitments of this kind be undertaken not only after great deliberation, but that each be defined with precision and care. In making an important commitment of this kind we should take into account our broad political interests, the ability of the United States to mount an effective program, and both the recipient country’s economic prospects and the implications of the commitment for regional development.
In turning to the specific sectors on which we might concentrate our efforts throughout the continent as a whole, there is surprisingly little difficulty in determining those that warrant our highest priority attention. We have found a wide area of agreement among Africanists, businessmen and economists as to what these are.
We can make the greatest impact in the next few years on our long-range development goals by focusing investment in basic infrastructure (communications, transport and power) which will tie countries together. We can increase our impact by making sure that our expenditures conform with the broad regional planning now being carried on by international institutions, and by cooperating closely with other aid-giving nations and agencies in a common effort. Infrastructure is the base on which development must take place, a base that in many parts of Africa is lacking or inadequate. Then, too, in a very real sense infrastructure creates the regional groupings within which rational economic development must take place. There is little point to say, for example, that Niger and Nigeria are a part of the same economic region so long as it is cheaper to ship from Port Harcourt in Nigeria around Africa to Dar es Salaam than to Niamey, the capital of Niger. It is easier to telephone from Lagos to London, or from Niamey to Paris, than from Lagos to Niamey. Infrastructure by itself is not sufficient to transform traditional societies. We can look to the time when basic African infrastructure needs will be satisfied by the IBRD and African institutions, freeing more of U.S. resources for complementary uses. But we are far from that time.
In addition to infrastructure, the most significant contributions we can make to economic development lie in four areas. These are rural development, certain selected areas of education and of health and the promotion of private enterprise.
Africa will be primarily agricultural for as long as we can foresee. In most of Africa, agriculture is the sector that must provide the earnings for further development. The rural areas are those where most of the population subsists and on which the nation-dividing tribal structure is nourished. It is African agriculture that has the most to contribute to a world of growing hunger. A concentrated effort is required to modernize the rural sector, using a variety of methods and channels and operating across the entire spectrum of rural life. Much must be done in the more effective use of what is already known, in developing new materials and knowledge, in learning how to transfer innovations to the land and in helping people organize to perpetuate the evolution, transmission and use of new methods. If there is any field in which Americans can claim a measure of expertise in developing both theory and sound practice, it is in agriculture.
Education, defined as including the training of all forms of skills, is another great inhibitor of African progress. There is substantial agreement among educators that, in general, “middle-level” (i.e., post-primary) education and teachers training is the priority requirement. Stated in economic terms, the ratio of increase in productivity to the cost of training tends to be highest in the post-primary years. Aside from the extra effort that the U.S. may be called upon to provide for those countries where a major U.S. developmental effort is under way, the U.S. should, therefore, concentrate its attention on post-primary education, on teacher-training, and on certain “programs of excellence,” as suggested by the President. The United States is pioneering in practical and technical education, in on-the-job training and in the use of exciting new technologies—the fields of greatest promise. We have large-scale resources to devote to post-primary programs in English-speaking Africa in our Peace Corps and in the international education facilities expanding under the President’s new program.
Health is important for many reasons, but there are two respects in particular in which it impinges on economic development. The first is where the existence of debilitating disease impedes economic progress. The President’s international health program can be expected to, provide an important further stimulus to meeting this problem. The second is the major question of population control. Population pressures are not, as it is sometimes assumed, largely absent from Africa; they are perhaps greatest where expected least, in the Sahara and around its arid perimeter where available resources are too meager for even the present sparse population. And even where the pressure is not great, soaring rates of [Page 344] population increase eat up the benefits of development. The decisions on population control are those that only the Africans can make, but a number of African leaders appear ready to make these decisions and will be seeking help. The U.S. should respond generously.
In making private enterprise a sector for concentration, we reflect the conviction that private initiative is vital to the development of open, pluralistic societies that are receptive to social change. This is not an easy area in which to operate, and we must be careful to make clear that we are not attempting to duplicate in Africa the forms and structures of our own country. But if we are to engage in the business of helping Africans to make their own living, this is not an activity that we can neglect. It is one for which there are too few champions in Africa, in which we tend to have more interest than most aid-giving nations, and in which we have a wide variety of experience to offer.
These, then, are the sectors in which our programs should be concentrated, around which regional institutions can be developed, and for which cooperative structures should be devised to make better use of the assistance provided by all donors. It is to achieve these ends that a new rigor and clarity of purpose in adhering to development criteria is so important. It is to increase the, efficiency of our activities and to maximize our influence that changes will also be urged in our administrative methods and procedures.
This emphasis on development should not, however, be read as an advocacy of total disregard for political factors in our development programs. We have already suggested that the selection of specific countries in which we might participate as a full partner in a major economic effort should take political considerations into account. Several additional political factors that should be considered warrant comment before proceeding to the recommendations.
The conclusion that it is to the U.S. interest to adhere closely to development criteria does not imply that we should feel obliged to pursue a development program regardless of what the country may do politically. Major development activities cannot, of course, be turned off and on like a spigot without enormous waste, and a decision that a country’s political conduct is so distasteful as to require suspending a program can never be taken lightly. We do not believe that it is practicable to use economic development programs—necessarily long-term, with several nations cooperating as donors and, we would hope, several African countries benefiting in a region—for influencing short-run political behavior. Economic development programs are a form of investment, and investment decisions lie within a time frame too long for political manipulation. But the point may on occasion be reached where it is necessary to bring a program to a halt, and we see no merit in the arguments of purists who claim otherwise.
A quite different issue, though frequently discussed in the same context, is whether or to what extent economic performance should influence our willingness to engage in a development program, i.e., whether erratic or irrational economic behavior is grounds for reducing or eliminating aid. This question is particularly troublesome in Africa, where in most cases the relative importance of our assistance does not permit us anything like the degree of leverage we have in Latin America and Asia. This problem will take on new dimensions of difficulty as we participate in projects and activities covering groups of countries, some of which may make far better use of their resources than others. There are no easy answers to this question, since the circumstances in each case will differ and must be weighed separately. But an objective determination on economic grounds would seem to us to be the only reasonable guide. Further, we are likely to find advantages, as well as problems, in a situation in which one country’s failure to adhere to sound policies may jeopardize a project that is also of interest to other African countries.
The basic principle of mutual respect in international affairs applies to aid as well as to other relations among nations. As for the political instruments that our policies should require—including those necessary to carry out public safety programs, to encourage more effective press, broadcasting and other public communications media, and to meet a variety of other worthwhile needs—we urge only that they be used consciously and to appropriate effect, and not under the pretense that they serve the imperatives of economic development.
In considering political issues affecting our aid posture, it should also be noted that a political judgment of far-reaching importance underlies the analysis in this report and should be made explicit. We have concluded, though not without considerable soul-searching, (a) that there are serious and immediate developmental as well as political implications for the United States as a result of a fast eroding British position in Black Africa, and (b) that it is not desirable at this time to challenge the special position of France in tropical Africa.
The United Kingdom is unwilling at this time, for a variety of reasons, to pursue policies consonant with African aspirations or with U.S. interests in Africa. A deteriorating financial position, particularly its balance of payments position, prevents it from maintaining its flow of aid, and from taking a forthright position on Rhodesia and South Africa. No change in this British outlook can be expected; on the contrary, it is likely that London will weaken its policies in this regard. The result of such outlooks will be a sharpening of the divisions between Black Africa and the Southern tier and will lead to perpetuation of this geographic split.
If, as a result of the U.K. positions on Rhodesia and, in the wake of the recent ICJ decision, Southwest Africa, the U.S. should decide to [Page 346] disassociate itself from the U.K., we will require special political programs with more resources to give political and economic significance to our independent posture. For Zambia in particular, and for Tanzania and Malawi to a lesser extent, we would have to direct our resources to a further restructuring of their transport systems and to a number of emergency ancillary measures. In effect, we would assume a much more important and long-term role in these countries affairs. In the event of such a U.S. decision, we should keep clearly in mind its essentially political character and should, therefore, be programmed to meet its political requirements as well as such economic benefits as an evolving situation will permit.
As regards France, the benefits of French influence in terms of stability and the commitment of French resources outweigh on balance, we believe, the disadvantages to U.S. policy. These disadvantages pertain not only to many current matters on which the French are disposed to use their influence to cut across U.S. objectives—color television, satellite communications, educational policy and the like—but still more importantly to the perpetuation of the French preferential trading system and to French views on the proper political organization of the African continent over the long term.
A major reason for deciding against a head-on challenge of the French position is that it could not be successful without a large-scale commitment of U.S. resources, including direct budgetary support to a considerable number of small, French-speaking nations for an indefinite period. To the extent that we were successful in modifying the present French structure, there would be an immediate reduction of French and European Common Market aid which is substantially larger than ours. We believe that we can use our resources to better advantage elsewhere in Africa than to substitute for French and Common Market assistance.
There is nevertheless a far more serious question for U.S. policy in the French position than is generally realized. It deserves special note because the entire issue should be re-examined carefully at frequent intervals. The recent association agreement between Nigeria and the Common Market underlines the problem. While the extension of the preferential system to Africa’s most populous nation dilutes somewhat the advantages that the preferences bring, Nigerian association with the Common Market is a major step in what we believe to be the long-range French plan to organize “Eurafrica.” This plan envisages replacing the present Yaounde Convention by a preferential trading area embracing all or virtually all of Africa on the one hand and the Common Market (which may eventually include the U.K.) plus the other associates on the other.
The creation of a Eurafrican preferential system would bring irresistible pressures to bear on the U.S. to set up a similar arrangement for [Page 347] Latin America. The division of the world into hemispheric compartments along north-south lines would be a far-reaching defeat for U.S. policy, which rightly has sought a global trading community with a minimum of obstacles to the free and economic exchange of goods. French success would force an extremely painful and costly reorientation of Latin American economies, now based on world trading patterns and expectations of supplying much of Europe’s requirements as well as the Western Hemisphere’s for coffee, bananas and other tropical products. French action to provide a protected market for Africa in Europe—and a predominant political place for France in Africa—is a challenge to the global system that must be contained.
What posture the U.S. should take on African preferences must depend on our decisions respecting world-wide trading relations between the developed and less developed countries of the world. These lie outside the purview of this report and will be influenced by our attitude on compensatory financing schemes and commodity agreements. But while we have not undertaken to look at proposals of these kinds in detail, we find it impossible to conclude a discussion of aid for African economic development without urging that we pursue more vigorously the effort to prevent catastrophic price declines in the commodities African countries produce—and from which most of their development must, in the last analysis, be financed. Specifically, we regret the failure of the United States to go along with other developed nations in the negotiations for an international cocoa agreement in June 1966 on the key elements of minimum price and the pre-financing of stocks. We cannot but conclude that this action, and any others which will lend themselves to similar interpretation, puts weapons in the hands of our Eurafrican adversaries.


We have concluded U.S. interests would best be served by concentration on functional sectors of fundamental importance and on programs around which regional institutions can be built. We believe that cooperative multilateral structures can now be devised to make better use of all donors’ assistance.
We deem it in the U.S. interest to redefine and restructure our programs in Africa now because of the unique congruence of opportunity provided by the comparative freedom of U.S. action in Africa and by the formative stage of Africa’s development.
We are convinced that the careful selection of specific African countries for a major development effort is sound policy. The U.S. choice should continue to be dictated by a combination of economic and political considerations.
We seek a more rigorous effort within the U.S. Government to distinguish clearly between short-term political and long-term development goals.
We believe that within this framework AID assistance to Africa should increase year by year in orderly fashion and in modest amounts. More funds should also flow through the IBRD group, particularly IDA, as the multilateral structure begins to work well and as African development progresses.
We find that the U.S. role in Africa does not lend itself to the strategies which led to the Marshall Plan and the Alliance for Progress. The U.S. acting by itself cannot have significant impact on the formidable problems of development in Africa.
Therefore we commend a strategy that calls for devising multilateral mechanisms for dealing with Africa and for concentrating U.S. activities more sharply. Specifically, we put forward recommendations to give the World Bank a role of greater leadership and involvement, recommendations which, if skillfully handled, the Bank would be willing to pursue.
We selected the IBRD group for this essential task because we feel that African institutions are still too fragile to assume the preeminent role, because the U.S. has greater influence in the IBRD and because the IBRD has proved its competence in carrying out its broad development writ. We urge added U.S. resources for IDA.
We have placed special emphasis on the infrastructure of development: communications, transport and power. Because the needs are so costly and long-term in these fields, we conclude they can be best met through a multilateral approach.
We perceive specific opportunities for U.S. initiatives in communications since this is the infrastructure sector where the most can be accomplished in the shortest span—and without extra cost to the U.S.
We call for a much more vigorous attack on the problems of agriculture. Rural modernization is indispensable to African progress, yet it is the field in which Western donors have been least rational in their use of resources, least organized and least committed. We believe that the most can be gained at the least cost through a cooperative effort of Africans and of Western donors, and in particular through the establishment of a continental network for rural research and development.
We think the U.S. should also make a particular effort in education, including training, and in private enterprise.
We have addressed a number of recommendations to special areas, among them the arms buildup in Africa, public health, population control, Peace Corps activities, refugees from southern Africa, and the UN specialized agencies. We received a number of suggestions, some [Page 349] with merit, which we chose to ignore because they were directed towards activities which, in our view, are peripheral.
We have suggested many changes in the administration of AID assistance. We specifically recommend new recruiting procedures designed to reduce the number of U.S. technical assistance officials in Africa, and to substitute an increased number of private Americans.
We are persuaded that the role of Britain in Africa will be a diminishing one in terms both of influence and of resources. This prospect has serious implications for U.S. policies in Africa. It may compel the U.S. to take decisions soon concerning the former British colonies bordering the white redoubt in southern Africa.
We have concluded we should not seek to overturn the special French position in the ex-colonies, but we should carefully avoid giving indirect support to a French policy that aims at the division of the world into North-South axes. This French thrust towards Eurafrica is harmful to U.S. worldwide policies and interests.

[Here follow the report’s recommendations, pages 28–141, and list of consultants, pages142–150.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Africa, Review of African Development Polices and Programs as Directed by the President, Edward M. Korry. Confidential.