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North Africa and the Arab world: from statism to comprador capitalism
Economic performance, assessed in conventional terms, is not as disastrous as in Sub-Saharan Africa.9 The average real annual growth rate in the three decades (1955-85) turned out - according to the calculations of the Economic Commission for Western Africa - at about 5%, with industry accounting for 7% (as compared with less than 3% for Sub-Saharan Africa where the starting point was much lower), agriculture for 2% (only slightly higher than that of Sub-Saharan Africa), and the tertiary sector for 8% (4% in Sub-Saharan Africa). In fact these performances are mediocre, despite the better rates of industrialization: the spread of the tertiary sector, prematurely and too speedily, is a handicap north and south of the Sahara, and is the effect of a crisis in society and state development, employment and urbanization, and not a response to the crisis. Agriculture remained fairly stagnant, contributing, with the heavy urbanization of the region (where the urban population has since 1985 exceeded half the population total) a food deficit which also represents more than half the nation's basic food consumption. In other words, as a rule the country-sides do not feed the towns, even if they - just about - manage to ensure their own subsistence. If there are not the chronic famines of the Sahel, with a regressive depopulation of the countryside (and a collapse of agricultural production), migration from the countryside to the towns is no longer, as it was in the West's dual agricultural and industrial revolution, the social effect, of this revolution, combined with a significant increase in agricultural output.
Faysal Yachir, in his synthesis of the economic modernization of the Arab world, suggests that:
beyond national particularities, the countries of the region have evolved within the framework of a unique economic model, whereby the state takes responsibility for the development of capitalism in close relationship with the system of the world economy.
He distinguishes the variant of 'overt state capitalism' (Morocco and Tunisia and the Gulf states in the Mashreq) whereby 'tine state supplies the conditions for the emergence of national capital within the narrow framework enjoined by the international division of labour' from the variant of 'populist state capitalism' (Nasser's Egypt, and Algeria, Syria and Iraq) whereby 'the state seeks to build an autonomous public economic by turning its back on the international division of labour'. The distinction is the effect of specific class alliances of the national liberation movement, more clearly bourgeois in the first variant, or by contrast aimed against at least some sections of the bourgeoisie in the second. In both cases, however, state intervention remains decisive, since it accounts for 40% to 70% of investment and controls 40% to 60% of industrial output.
On the credit side of the model is its acceleration of the rate of industrialization. In the 'open' variant, however, the fragmented character of this industrialization makes it impossible as yet to describe the countries in question as 'semi-industrialized', whereas Egypt and Algeria have reached this stage (to be found nowhere else in Africa except South Africa). But despite this positive aspect, the model has fairly speedily reached the end of its historical possibilities, owing to the following handicaps:
(i) industrialization does not necessarily entail a breach of the rules of the international division of labour, especially when, as Yachir notes in regard to the Arab world, the economy remains 'strongly dependent on external outlets, products, technology and financial flows'. This industry is more an appendix to the world economy than the basis of a national economy;
(ii) consumption and investment have remained largely dependent on transfers from abroad (oil revenue, migrants' transfers, private capital, public aid or loans on the international finance market). The model's vulnerability to the fluctuations of the world conjuncture is not reduced but on the contrary accentuated;
(iii) 'the agrarian structures have not been transformed in a direction that allows decisive improvements in returns' (Yachir).
These three handicaps combined have permitted the 1970-80 offensive, with the aim of Driving back statism for the benefit of capitalism increasing the integration in the international division of labour' (Yachir). The half-statist, half-commodity character of the rationality of the statist model encouraged this apparent fluctuation in strategy and language. The obvious pressure mobilized by the IMF and exerted on the countries in the region because of their foreign debt ($35 billion for Egypt and Algeria. $15 billion for Morocco and $8 billion for Tunisia) had much the same effect.
Despite the liberalization measures, the results have been very disappointing. Foreign capital was in no rush to replace the state's disengagement, except in the form of sub-contracting companies who,
buy practically nothing in the country, do their repairs in Europe, use obsolete and second-hand equipment and personnel with absolutely no skill and enjoy no autonomy in the conception of the product and its marketing. (Yachir)
Foreign capital spurns Egypt for political motives (to which we shall return in Chapter 4) which form part of the West's overall strategy. These forms of industry of regressive plunder - since the new export activity is based exclusively on the low-cost manpower - do not even promise stability since, as is well know. EEC neo-protectionism now threatens them after Europe encouraged their establishment. In such circumstances neo-liberalization has encouraged an unproductive speculative economy (a 'rent economy' as it is called) and massive outflow of capital. The effect is a serious depreciation of labour earnings accentuating the inequality of social income distribution, while stagnation in growth brings an inevitable leap in unemployment. This is a high price to pay for an illusory 'stabilization' in the balance of payments. Neo-liberalization has not proved an effective response to the blockages in the statist model, and is on the contrary a regression on this model.
Beyond this macro-economic analysis, what is the social and political content of statist-capitalist development in the Arab world? What are its prospects? How does it relate to the worldwide expansion of capitalism?
To answer these fundamental questions requires a step back to the 19th century. The Arab Orient under the Turkish yoke (Syria and Iraq) suffered Ottoman peripheralization in a direct fashion and to an exaggerated degree by virtue of their status as conquered territories. For it is vital here not to make the mistake of transposing modern concepts of nation and national subordination to a past that knew nothing of these concepts (cf. Chapter 3). The Arabs of Syria, Iraq and Egypt were conquered by the 'Turks', just as were the Anatolian peasants by the dynasty and then the authority of the Sultan and Istanbul. As they were all Muslims they belonged to the same area of culture and civilization, and one largely autonomous in regard to the immediate political and military power to which they were subjected. Much later, when the ideology of nation spread, the affair was reinterpreted as a 'conquest'. The recruitment methods of the army, the essential mainstay of Ottoman political power, later bore down on the destiny and evolution of the 'provinces' (vilayet) and hence differentiated Anatolia as a provider of soldiers from the Mashreq, and of tribute in kind and in cash. The Maghreb, like the Arabian peninsula, had no special role in these arrangements; the matter was no more than one of strategic regional control points. But the different role assigned to Anatolia and the Mashreq brought to the latter a 'feudal involution', as an effective instrument for the exaction of tribute, while this involution - present in Anatolia but to a lesser degree -undermined the efficiency of army recruitment and hence hastened the decline of the Ottomans' military empire.
It is, moreover, relevant to compare the reactions to this beginning of peripheralization. Egypt was alone in reacting vigorously and coherently to the attempt by Mohamed Ali, not to 'conquer Istanbul ' but to unify and modernize the Arab Mashreq in the face of the European challenge. Turkey, by virtue of its proximity to Istanbul, or its complicity in the political and military recruitment of the ruling class, was virtually incapable of reacting. Reaction to European imperialist expansion was to come belatedly and mainly in connection with the successive military defeats in the Balkans. That provides almost all the roots and historical limitations of Kemalism which was to find its historic moment in the defeat of 1919. Kemalism had no special social plan, and thought it was possible to 'copy Europe' if one wanted: to build a homogeneous national state (Turkish in this instance) and opt for 'modernization' (in all fields from education to industry) with no doubts as to the absolute efficiency of capitalist relations of production (since they typified Europe) or the benefits of 'independence'. Later Nasserism's early years were to feed on the same ingenuousness. Kemalism believed it could create a 'national industrial bourgeoisie' by the miracle of public statements alone. During the 1920s it eliminated the Ottoman cosmopolitan comprador bourgeoisie, and battened on the peasantry (through low fixed cereal prices) in order to finance the modernized bureaucratic state, but it succeeded in doing no more than encourage a new local bourgeoisie (Muslim Turkish) of traders and landowners, in fact of the comprador kind, although grafted on to state activity. From the 1 930s, and with the incentive of a crisis, growing awareness of the limitations of 'encouragement of private national capital' led to the option of statist industrialization whose best years were the brief period 193339 before the Second World War (GDP rose by 9% a year). Throughout this history Kemalism paid no heed to the rural community, which the Europeanized officers and bureaucrats despised (one example is their concern to 'drag' it - by violence - into their own prejudices, or religious conviction). But an assessment of this must be attenuated by the fact that the prevailing circumstances in Anatolia offered not the slightest prospect of a peasant movement on which Kemalism could count for support.
The history of Nasserism in Egypt and the numerous forms it inspired in the Arab world from Algeria to Syria and Iraq reproduces the historical limitations in their same order illusions as to national capitalist development, then technocratic industrialist statism. The peasant dimension of the anti-imperialist national liberation movement (in Egypt, Syria and Iraq against the landowners who provided the social basis for peripheralization, in Algeria through the peasant contribution to the liberation war) accelerated the evolution towards a radicalized statism that further circumstances (such as the conflict with Israel, and US schemes of integrating the Middle East in anti-Soviet military alliances) have pushed into talk of a 'socialist transition'.
The Kemalist model reached a crisis in the 1950s, by virtue of US pressure. But the new 'open door' attracted scarcely any foreign investment, and merely allowed it to resume control of the country through joint ventures, and later, foreign debt. The West's quasi-theological appeal to 'privatization' was blocked by the absence of a genuine local bourgeoisie capable of taking the baton and opened wider the gates to domination by international capital. Growth remained remarkable - at 6% to 7% a year for GDP from 1950 to 1975 - and was encouraged by a series of favourable circumstances: the boom of the 1960s and the substantial Turkish emigration to Europe: the boom in kulak agriculture serving the world market and the increasing urban market. The crisis burst into violence when, along with the slowing down in emigration due to the western crisis of the 1970s, the middle class had less scope for expansion and faced inflation, foreign debt and a deficit in the balance of payments. The form of conjunction between international capital and the Turkish dictatorship is well known: a total opening to the exterior (fluid exchange rates, dismantling of exchange and import controls) combined with an offensive on the mass of the people and even on the middle strata who were officially required to restructure 'industry with a view to export competitiveness'. The theology - the private sector offers the universal panacea - only thinly veils the plan for subordination to the strategy of redeployment of international capital, theoretically assigning Turkey to labour-intensive industry - cheap labour obviously - for the benefit of the Western consumer! But in the light of the industrial structure inherited from Kemalism the crisis resulted in de-industrialization, and consequently in widespread unemployment and spiralling instability, rather than any restructuring.
How is it possible to ignore the analogy with the Arab world and the currently fashionable infitah? The comparison must be modified country by country. In the countries of so-called 'liberal' capitalism, where statist intervention is nonetheless essential (Morocco, Tunisia. Saudi Arabia) the upsurge of the 1960s is more reminiscent of the model of the Turkey of the Democratic Party than that of Kemal Ataturk and Inonu. Conversely, in the countries of radical state capitalism (Egypt. Syria, Iraq, Algeria) the populist note is certainly more marked than in Kemalist Turkey, for the reasons indicated earlier. But countries of both kinds were deep in crisis from the middle of the 1970s; a crisis merely reduced, concealed or delayed in the oil-producer countries (Iraq, Algeria, Saudia Arabia). As for the options followed by the local authorities and preached by the same external forces (IMF and so on) the maximum openness was to the detriment of the standards of living of the poorest section of the community - above all those in modern Turkey.
The history of contemporary modern Turkey presents strong analogies with that of the Arab countries. This history is a chapter in that of the Third World (of the systems of peripheral capitalism in our opinion) and not Europe (of systems of central capitalism).
For some 65 years or more, however, Turkey has proclaimed its 'Europeanness' and consciously cut loose the ties that bound it to the waters of the Orient. The Kemalist option had no hesitation in forcing the issue and maintaining a distance from Islam that noother Muslim country dared match. Furthermore, in order to establish the new Turkish nation on an ideological basis divorced from the Arab and Persian Muslim Orient, Kemalism invented an entire Turanian, non-Persian, non-Semitic mythology. But, after such efforts, was Europe ready to accept Turkey? Was Turkey offered any corner in its councils? Not at all. Nowadays is there anything more than the reality, and even more daunting prospect, of a lumpen-Europeanization of Turkey? If, with an easy conscience. Europe can blame the 'failure' of modernization among the Arabs on attachment to Islam, is the argument abandoned when it comes to the fate Western capitalism reserves for a Turkey that did try to break with its past? Is it not time to realize that the myth of 'European assimilation' is finished?
The history of contemporary Turkey concerns the Arabs in two issues of the national and cultural dimension of development options: First in regard to a necessary consideration of the political and ideological options of the preceding generations. The option of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, in the name of the principle of nationalities that had become sacrosanct, was neither unavoidable nor prevalent in the Arab Orient of the end of the 19th century. Secondly, in regard to a consideration of the tragic prospects that surrender to the imperatives of capitalist expansion offers the Arab, and the Turkish people. For the model of 'lumpen-Europeanization' is not exclusive to the Turks. Western strategy for the Arab world is clear to destroy Egypt in order to remove any hope of a revival of the Arab nation, then, on this basis, to isolate the Maghreb from it in order to subject it to collective European 're-colonization' (es a continuation of the prior French colonization) through the mirage of 'integration' in the building of Europe. The dominant classes in the Maghreb are not immune to the nods and winks in this direction, as so many mundane facts and even political statements testify (cf. Chapters 4 and 8).
Finally, it may be helpful to broaden the discussion at least by raising questions.
Is the fate of the Arab world, in the foreseeable future at least, namely the reinforcement of its subordination through a greater integration in the transnational capitalist system, a special case in the general trend on the scale of the Third World as a whole? Is this sad prospect a passing retreat, to be replaced sooner or later by a new attempt to establish bourgeois national states as more equal partners in the world system? Or is it the end of a long period and an indicator of an irreversible failure of bourgeois national plans in the region in particular and the Third World in general? Can this failure be blamed exclusively on internal factors not conducive to the achievement of such a bourgeois national plan, as these factors missed out on the 'opportunities' provided by integration in the worldwide capitalist expansion? Or is this integration itself a significantly and perhaps decisively unfavourable factor that makes the bourgeois national plan impossible in our age?
It will be shown later (cf. Chapter 3) that as regards the Arab world, the prolonged phase of the Nahda (meaning the renaissance from the start of the 19th century with Mohamed Ali's attempt in Egypt to the 1970s when infitah was adopted) is a closed book. This Nahda embodied in various forms the renewed attempt of the Arab bourgeoisie (and the Egyptian in particular) to take its place as autonomous partner in the worldwide capitalist system. Kemalism was also a form - Turkish in this instance -of a similar approach, to be found in other guises in other regions of the periphery. These plans probably have no future.
These remarks will be developed in the discussion on the political and cultural dimensions of development and apply not only to the Mashreq and Egypt but also to the Maghreb, if only by reason of Egypt's cultural and ideological leadership and the particular problematic of the Arab nation They are today of more consequence than the heritage of French colonization in
North Africa, although the latter had a strong impact on the social character and the options of the national liberation movement in the three countries. Without repeating what we said of the national movement in The Maghreb in the Modern World, let us recall one of its conclusions:
[T]he history of the national movements in the Maghreb countries was, until very recently, very different. And as will be seen, the time factor helps to explain the lags and differences... In Algeria, more than a century passed between the time of Abdel Kader and the 1954 insurrection. Algeria's past was distant; a long, dead period elapsed between the old nationalism and the new. In Tunisia the transition was more rapid. Modern nationalism was formed by a direct breach with the old nationalism. The break came between the two wars, and it was a break between men who knew one another personally. In Morocco, the Protectorate was of such recent date that the old nationalist generation has survived almost up to the present day, and the break was delayed until after independence. Nor can the device of the Protectorate be regarded as wholly irrelevant to the issue, since it enabled old structures to survive, even though they had long outlived their function. Examples of these were the Makhzen of the Bey of Tunis and the Sultan of Morocco, which lingered on long after the Makhzen of Abdel Kader had been entirely destroyed and forgotten. Moreover, the social structures which lay behind these social forms were not in every case identical. The Algerian landed aristocracy had long disappeared -indeed, Abdel Kader himself did more to destroy it than did colonization - while in Morocco this class was actually reinforced by colonization. The situation in Tunisia lay somewhere between these two extremes. Even though these structures are today gradually losing their importance in the face of the rapidly rising tide of the petty bourgeoisie - a phenomenon common to all three countries - they did for a long time condition the nature of the national movement. Last but not least, the difference in legal status was to condition the French attitude towards the Maghreb countries in the last period before independence.10
The national movements in the three countries of French North Africa were faced by a range of similar problems: (1) the almost total absence of local industries, as colonization was in the hands of Malthusian metropolitan interests who imposed an exclusively agricultural and mining specialization (there is nothing in French North Africa comparable to the private Misr industrial Egyptian group that emerged in the 1920s); (2) the implantation of settler colonialism in significant numbers and their expropriation of 'settler land'. This problem found a de facto solution in the emigration of the settlers, the devolution of settler land to self-managing collectives in Algeria, and to the rural bourgeoisie in the other two countries: (3) the attempt to 'Frenchify' the society (with particular violence in Algeria).
Nevertheless, in the space of two decades the Maghreb succeeded in hoisting itself to the level of semi-industrialized countries, or the verge thereof; it was able without great disaster to fill the gap left by the exodus of the majority of technical, or even semi-skilled, personnel: it embarked, with success varying from country to country, on a process of re-Arabization. This is a body of achievement that was remarkably difficult in the circumstances it inherited. By contrast the legacy of agrarian duality from colonization has not really been overcome. In Algeria the denuding of the countryside embarked upon in the colonial era was considerably speeded up during the prolonged Algerian war (by the policy of 'regrouping' enforced by the French army). Any judgement of the mediocre results of agricultural modernization in the independent Maghreb must be tempered with these disastrous effects of the colonial inheritance.
False analyses, false solutions
Conceptions of Africa's agricultural
development: a critique
Industrialization and the agricultural revolution
Conceptions of Africa's agricultural development: a critique
The example of the Sahel's CILSS
Africa has been and is a trial ground in agricultural development to the point that some would argue 'everything ventured, nothing gained'. This is possibly because almost all these experiments have remained trapped in the old colonial (and racist!) prejudice that Africa was not ready either for industry, or for serious modernization of its agriculture and that from the outset an extensive approach is the only one possible. A paternalist conception of 'aid' as supposedly capable of sustaining pursuit of extensive development rounds off the picture.
This viewpoint may be illustrated by the case of the Sahel countries. " As is well known, not until the wave of drought in the mid-1970s did the world become aware of the dramatic situation in the region. Drought and famine reduced food crops by at least one-third and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The CILSS (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) formed in 1973, and the Sahel Club were finally persuaded that the priority for the strategic development aim for the region should be food self-sufficiency. But in what circumstances was this aim feasible? Could the strategy laid down by the donors in the Sahel Club (OECD and international bodies) achieve it?
A brief summary of the character and structure of the Sahel's economic and social development over the past half-century would run as follows: a modest rate of growth in rural output, due entirely to extensive methods, under conditions increasingly damaging to the region's ecological balance; an absence of industrialization, especially for support to agricultural growth: a continual worsening of the double factorial terms of trade reflecting the decline of reward for peasant labour in the international division of labour; a continual worsening of the exaction from peasant income by the expansion of the administration and the tertiary sector.
The Sahel Club was well aware of the modest and extensive character of rural development: but it failed to note other characteristics of global development and thereby condemned itself to remaining bound by the apparent causes of the situation.
The facts about the extensive character of the region's rural development are well known. Despite the extension of areas sown with cereals from 1,570.00 hectares in 1955 to 3.430,000 in 1978, the yield per hectare fell from 500 to 400 kilos. Areas enjoying regular supplies of water, accounted for only 1% of cultivated land and were being increased very slowly - 5,000 hectares a year - which scarcely replaced the areas that had deteriorated due to poor maintenance. Moreover, even in the irrigated holdings, the methods were mainly extensive: the yields were scarcely more than two tonnes to the hectare (instead of the potential five or six tonnes) and double cropping was never, or almost never, practiced. Costs of mechanization, spraying and maintenance were such that either the holdings had to be heavily subsidized, or the remaining income to reward the peasants was grossly inadequate. As for stock-raising, since in the previous period (1950-70) the herds were increasing at a high rate (of 3% to 5% annually) thanks to the multiplication of watering points and to the vaccination campaigns, but as the extensive methods were unchanged, the result was serious over-grazing. Drought under these circumstances ravaged the herds and wiped out the quantitative advances made in the previous twenty years.
Continual expansion of extensive agriculture and stock-raising must of necessity reach a limit. Arguing that 'tine disaster is due to the destruction of landed capital' is no explanation but a tautological repetition that growth is extensive. Furthermore, in this extension of area the responsibility of export crops is undeniable, at least in Senegal and some regions of the interior. As groundnuts and cotton took up a not inconsiderable area in these regions and to the extent that the 'profitability' of these crops requires the peasants to look elsewhere for their own subsistence, the development of these crops substantially increased the area under cultivation. This has been shown in studies of the gradual desertification of the groundnut basin of Senegal.
The same is true of 'over-grazing', which is not the 'cause' but the effect of the extensive option for stock-raising. But the option has reasons: it permitted an increase of production of relatively cheap meat (at the risk of the future) both for the internal market and for export. The Sahel in particular, by supplying meat relatively cheaply, in comparison with the coast's prices, made its contribution to the development of the regions where foreign financed companies operate.
Deforestation must be explained in the same way. If the African peasants sought their sources of energy in this way it was because they had no choice. The world economic system has therefore benefited from a 'hidden subsidy' corresponding to the 'free energy' available to the peasants of the Sahel. This ingredient, like the others, has made its contribution to the maintenance of incredibly low real rates of reward for peasant labour and hence the attractive prices for the beneficiaries of the agricultural output exported by the Sahel.
In short, the option for extensive rural development arises from the very logic of the unequal international division of labour. Extensive agricultural development is in fact the only way open to the countries of the Sahel to supply an 'exportable' output by drawing on the value of their peasants' labour. If the labour can be rewarded at rates as low as it is (these rates can be calculated by dividing the return on the marketed harvest by the number of days of labour required to produce it) it is because the peasants procure their subsistence (in, for example, cereals, firewood) through their labour unrewarded by the system. The world system therefore benefits from a 'negative rent', corresponding to the value consumed by the productive system that 'eats' its landed capital.
The system of an unequal international division of labour can, of course, operate only where there is a system of local relay runners with an interest in implementing it. The Sahel peasants would not have become integrated of their own accord, on the contrary, their prime concern has been and continues to be to remain outside it. Peasant autarky had to be smashed in order to bring the 'modern system' into play. There were only two ways to do this: (1) to authorize and promote differentiation within the peasantry, allowing private appropriation of the soil by a minority and compelling the majority to sell their labour or to rent land; or (2) to maintain the rural communities and impose on them a statist authority charged with their 'incorporation', that is to impose a 'progress' of which they would not be the beneficiaries. In the Sahel region the colonial system chose the second way, and the colonial administration played this role and bequeathed it to the states.
The amount of public aid granted the Sahel countries rose from $755 million to $1.7 billion between 1974 and 1979, a 50% growth in real terms, provided principally by the contribution of Arab countries alongside the Western countries and international bodies (Arab countries' share rose from 5% to 25% during the past 15 years). The aid itself increased between 1975 and 1978 from 3.9% to 5% of the total public aid to the Third World. It takes pride of place in public investment budgets and even current budgets, as it accounts for a not inconsiderable proportion of GDP (on average about 20%). Aid is, therefore, vital for the daily survival of states in the region. Doubtless comparison of the amounts of aid with those of local public expenditure and gross domestic product must be made with caution. This is because payments for foreign inputs, that constitute a large proportion of the counterpart of this aid, are hardly comparable with those of local inputs, as a counterpart of the GDP and local public expenditure: hence for example a foreign technical assistant may cost many times more than the equivalent local official.
About one-third of this so-called 'non project' aid is a direct consumer subsidy to state and private budgets. Such aid in fact comprises: (a) pure and simple budgetary support granted by France and the Arab countries, (b) balance of payments support supplied by the Arab countries and additionally by the EEC Stabex fund, in the shape of free delivery of goods - or as a counterpart cancellation of foreign debt; (c) emergency relief and food aid; (d) technical assistance support for research and training. The remaining two-thirds of aid are assigned to development programmes: (1) 40% to rural development; (2) 38% to infrastructure; (3) 18% to human resources (education, health, and so on). As industry (including tourism) receives only 4% of the aid, it might seem exaggerated to draw the conclusion, as the World Bank has, of 'distortion in favour of industry to the detriment of agriculture'!
The Sahel Club's strategy is aimed at achieving food self-sufficiency by the year 2000, which means doubling the output and tripling that of meat. This strategy is furthermore intended to achieve this while maintaining a high rate of rural employment, namely by modernizing so-called traditional agriculture and not by concentrating efforts on a highly capital intensive modern sector.
With this outlook, the CILSS strategy is essentially one of extending the areas of dry farming at the rate of 100,000 hectares a year. What is the difference between this and the lines of development pursued in the region for some 50 years, with results that are apparent? The obstacles are well known: (I) can areas of cultivation be increased to this scale without worsening the decline in landed capital? (2) can yields be improved with the means envisaged? Excessive use of fertilizers in areas of low rainfall are, as we know, counterproductive. Have we not seen in Chad a supposed improvement of cotton yields by means of soil exhaustion? Do we not see that the models proposed to the peasants have, in the absence of research and of experience bringing the producers in touch with the results of research, no proven scientific merit? In the developed world agricultural research has produced results because it was closely integrated in rural life, financed and controlled, in part at least, by producers' associations, co-operatives and the like. The haughty and paternalistic attitude of agricultural research in Africa has been one of the main causes of the unsatisfactory results. Furthermore, it is known that the models proposed are not viable: over-costly fertilizers, pesticides and implements, excessively low prices for crops. It is not enough to say there must be a subsidy for the inputs and/or an increase for crop prices. Who will pay for these subsidies? Obviously to be able to do this, as should be done, the country must have alternative resources, a surplus arising from an alternative activity other than that of the rural community.
There is no doubt of the potential for irrigated land in the region, estimated at one million hectares. The aim of 500 000 hectares by the year 2000 with an assured supply of water is required for the region's self-sufficiency in food, on the further condition that a yield of eight tonnes to the hectare of paddy can be attained. In current circumstances the only improvement foreseen entails the construction of expensive dams whose financing is far from being guaranteed. In addition, even if these methods can be effected, there must be population transfer that the land use entails, appropriate social and economic formulae, heavy equipment, maintenance for the irrigation schemes and supply, at modest cost, of the inputs required for double cropping and high yields. None of this is impossible but it does require financial resources that like those for dry farming, can come only from a surplus generated in some other sector of activity.
In the matter of stock-raising the CILSS strategic option is based on an extensive style not integrated with agriculture, but governed by 'pastoral codes', which makes it difficult to see resolving the actual conflicts of interest.
In the matter of forestry, the high cost of reforestation should be noted: $2,000 a hectare. Under these circumstances pursuit of extensive expansion of dry farming can have only one result: further degradation of the patrimony. Peasants can abandon existing resources only when they are offered effective and cheap alternatives. Such as? Alternative sources of energy are possible: hydro-electricity and other renewable sources (solar energy, biogas, wind-power), mining for oil, gas and coal. Modalities appropriate to the needs would doubtless entail not only hydro-electric power on a large scale from the major dams but also decentralized small-scale hydro-electric output. Likewise, as well as mining the huge reserves of oil and coal, it also entails, if possible, mining of small reserves too. All of which requires resources that must come from outside the rural sector.
Instead of highlighting the coherence (or lack of it) in the overall strategy, the Sahel Club insists on 'project evaluation'. The method proposed is technical in the extreme. It is based on research: (1) into environmental indicators, where great reliance is placed on remote sensing; (2) into economic indicators, which are no more than conventional economic aggregates on growth rate; and (3) into indicators as to 'quality of life', which add precious little to the traditional 'social indicators' (school admission rates, health, access to clean water, housing and so).
Observation of the overall environment, including modern methods of long distance measurement, and the assessment of overall economic and social factors, are of some use. But they are no substitute for a study of the relations of production, the only clue to the dynamic of the system, or in other words the 'success' or 'failure' of a policy, since they reveal the deep reasons for the system of prices and payments for the factors, and hence the significance of the comparative 'profitability' of the various economic options. That is why a project of micro-economic analysis that takes as given the basis of profitability cannot evaluate the 'successes' or 'failures', but merely take note of them without explaining them.
Food self-sufficiency is a desirable objective of development strategy, in the Sahel as elsewhere in the Third World. But that does not lead to the conclusion that development should be confined exclusively to the rural domain. No rural advance is possible without industry to support it, as industry must supply the necessary inputs to raise agricultural output. These inputs cannot be met with imports from the North, because the relative prices of these inputs in comparison with the agricultural output that must be exported to pay for them is such that modernization and intensification of the Sahel's agriculture are not 'profitable'. These prices reflect the unequal relations of the international division of labour and the unequal rewards for labour this entails. The nagging issue - insoluble without an acceptance of perpetual and increasing 'current expenditure' aid which is the CILSS chorus - is a clear demonstration of this inescapable truth.
Inputs needed for agriculture modernization must, therefore, be locally produced, and be produced not only under technically adequate conditions but also under a system of economic book-keeping (prices and payments for factors) that restores the 'profitability' of intensification and modernization, whereby the latter ensures a simultaneous improvement in peasants' real income and reward for their labour. This implies a 'delinking' of this reference system from that governing the economic and social options, whether on the scale of the world system or of the sub-systems integrated in the international division of labour. This alternative system of economic book-keeping, based on an adjustment of rewards in the modern sectors (industry particularly) to those of agriculture, makes it possible to release from such industry an increasing surplus to be deployed to the concomitant financing of agricultural modernization and industrial development in support of it. This global economic system is poles apart from the system that treats agriculture as the source of financing other sectors, by exaction of a surplus from the peasants to be deployed for industry, or for administration expenses.
If parallel development of agriculture and industry is an absolute necessity, it is also clear that 'any old industrialization' will not meet the demands of the situation. Import substitution industrialization and even more so export industrialization within the international division of labour are not therefore appropriate to secure a surplus to be deployed for the modernization of agriculture. Quite the reverse, these industrial modalities presuppose unequal relations with the rural community, to their own advantage.
Once the principal of industry as a support to agricultural modernization has been grasped, the industry may vary according to particular local circumstances: one form is widely dispersed 'rural industry'. 'Ruralization' of industries linked to agricultural production and rural life (supply of fertilizers, farm equipment, hydro-electric power, cement) offers many advantages: management close to the consumers, maintenance of a strong rural population discouraged from joining the rural exodus, for example. The Sahel Club's report, with its proposed aim of maintaining high population densities in the rural areas, is theoretically following this option. But it draws no conclusions and remains superficial, since rural industry is not really possible unless it is based on a substantial modern industry (supplying equipment and certain manufacturing raw materials) and linked to the aim of improving agricultural output. The Sahel Club's choice is for maintaining a high rural population density essentially by expanding extensive production. In conclusion, it would appear that the strategy envisaged by the Sahel Club is based on a contradictory juxtaposition of lip service to intensification and proposals that indicate extensification. This contradiction is typical of the populism that envisages rural development without industrialization.
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