Population and Development in Post-War British Colonial Africa
Permalink for this paragraph 0 In recent years, historians have noted the centrality of Africa to the post-war British Empire. The effort to increase the output of African economies to compensate for Britain’s economic weakness was one part of a dramatic expansion of state intervention in African societies that Low and Smith labeled the ‘Second Colonial Occupation.” Economic development programs played an important role in the efforts of the British government to increase the value and stability of its colonies in Africa, even as nationalist resistance to colonial rule increased. This paper examines the role of population and demographic analysis in the post-war development regime. It examines the evolution of British ideas about African population and the influence of these ideas on development planning. In the 1940s, population became a key issue for officials, who worried about the impact of population growth on standards of living and indigenous economies. These concerns led them to embrace what I will label population control-attempts to shape African populations though resettlement, migration restrictions, agricultural initiatives and support for family planning. Ultimately the British colonial state failed to exert control over African populations, a consequence of limited resources, African resistance and distorted and incomplete knowledge about African demographic patterns. Despite this failure, British ideas about demography and development would be influential in the post-colonial era, as former British officials and experts continued their work within the new international development regime.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Population and the New Colonial State
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Until the late 1930s, British officials and population experts viewed Africa as an underpopulated continent. This belief, which dated back to the work of Malthus in the early 19th century, rested on the presumed limitations of the African environment and the backwardness of its economy, as well the impact of slavery, warfare and social customs such as polygamy and prolonged breast feeding. The British, like other colonial powers in Africa, believed that small unhealthy populations inhibited the development of Africa’s resources. Ironically, the reliance of colonial regimes upon forced labor as a solution exacerbated the problem. During the inter-war years, British officials called for new public health measures and expanded agricultural production to increase the size and efficiency of African populations. Given the limited resources of colonial governments, made worse by the Great Depression, these programs made little impact on African populations before the Second World War.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 By the mid 1930s, some observers began to challenge the conventional view of African population. They highlighted local or regional population growth, usually in relationship to patterns of land use and agricultural techniques, particularly in East Africa. Experts argued that although the overall density of population in Africa remained low, many areas, especially those with good soil, exhibited far higher densities—a point illustrated by population mapping. While fears of overpopulation at a regional level emerged, many British officials continued to worry about labor scarcity and underpopulation.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The uncertainty about the status of African populations reflected the inadequacies of statistical and demographic information in the British Empire, In order to address this problem, in the late 1930s the Colonial Office brought in an outside expert, Robert Kuczynski, the Reader in Demography at LSE. As Demographic Advisor to the Colonial Office, he documented the inadequacies of imperial demographic information and suggested a series of reforms in census and statistical operations. Nowhere was the problem more acute than Africa. In the case of Nigeria, Kuczynski could not determine from existing data whether the population was growing or declining.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The attempt to improve statistical and demographic information was one part of a larger restructuring of the colonial system that began in the late 1930s. Faced with political unrest within the empire, as well as domestic and international criticism of British imperialism, the Colonial Office increased efforts to foster economic development and social welfare in the Empire. The turning point in this process in British Africa came in 1938 with the publication of Lord Hailey’s African Survey. This comprehensive review of African conditions sparked a wide-ranging debate about the need for reform. Significant changes in the size and structure of colonial service accompanied this shift in imperial governance. From the early 1930s onward, the Colonial Office attempted to exert more control from London and to prod colonial regimes into greater activism. Officials reformed the central establishment in London, creating new subject departments to supplement the traditional geographic departments of the Colonial Office. They hoped to mobilize this specialized knowledge to improve the efficiency of colonial governments.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The Post-War Development Regime
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The coming of the Second World War expanded the power of the colonial state. In Africa the need for strategic materials, food and other goods led to a dramatic increase in state intervention as colonial authorities exerted new control over African labor and resources. This expansion continued in the post-war era, as the British government used the Empire to assist Britain’s recovery and to bolster its claims to great power status. While the Depression and the war led to staffing shortages, in the post-war era the British government rapidly increased the size of the colonial service. The British government’s embrace of economic development, embodied in the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts of 1940 and 1945, was intended to improve the standards of living of colonial peoples and assist their social and political modernization. Given the reluctance of the British government to set timetables for self-rule, development plans also served to counter criticism of the Empire and resist demands for greater autonomy or independence for dependent territories. The financial benefits to London of increased colonial exports and the sequestering of colonial foreign exchange exceeded the amount allocated for development and welfare in the Empire and limited the ability of colonial peoples to enjoy the increased output of their economies.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The elevation of development to a central aim of imperial policy increased the importance of planning for colonial officials and required improved demographic information. In 1943, the Colonial Office created a Demography Advisory Group in 1943, whose members included Julian Huxley and Alexander Carr-Saunders, a demographer and head of LSE. The body became a clearinghouse for demographic information and worked with other advisory units to address population issues relevant to their areas of concern. Despite the work of Kuczynski and the Chief Statistician, W.F. Searle, colonial statistics were inadequate through the 1950s.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Reliable demographic data about Africa remained limited, despite the pioneering work of scholars like A.T. and G.M Culwick in Tanganyika. Officials were uncertain about the impact of forced labor and food shortages during the war upon African populations. At least some officials continued to view African populations through the lenses of pre-war notions of shortage and surplus. Colonies like Nyasaland (today’s Malawi) and Kenya were viewed as labor reserves for the war effort despite growing evidence of labor shortages as recruitment increased.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Despite these uncertainties, many observers believed that Africa stood on the brink of rapid population growth. In 1943, Julian Huxley argued that improvements in medical care and food production would ultimately lead to higher rates of growth. In 1945 Andrew Cohen, one of the architects of post-war African policy, warned of predictions that the introduction of DDT would dramatically lower death rates from malaria, leading to higher rates of population growth. Several post-war assessments of African population echoed these concerns. In 1948, T.H. Davey, a medical advisor to the Colonial Office, argued that parts of Nigeria and Kenya were already experiencing high rates of growth and that other regions of the continent would follow if existing trends continued. Post-war censuses by African colonial governments, like those undertaken in East Africa in 1948 and in Northern Nigeria in 1952, seemed to confirm these more impressionistic reports. International agencies, colonial governments and independent demographic researchers reached similar conclusions.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Experts and officials did not argue that British colonial Africa as a whole suffered from overpopulation. Instead, they focused on regional problems of population, often using the term “population pressure” to describe local circumstances. This understanding of population located it within existing debates about the environment, land use, and agricultural techniques that predated the Second World War. Colonial regimes constructed narratives about population, the environment, and agriculture that made African behavior the root cause of poverty and social disruption, while portraying colonial interventions in African lives as a source of progress. This view fit the new model of population dynamics, demographic transition theory, that American demographers like Frank Notestein and Kingsley Davis elaborated in the post-war era. It portrayed population trends as part of a universal process of modernization. The theory held that population growth occurred as traditional societies industrialized and enjoyed better health, leading to falling death rates while high birth rates persisted. As societies reached socio-economic modernity, however, new values and social systems encouraged the use of birth control on a wide scale and the emergence of small families, leading to lower birth rates and slower growth. Demographers argued that African societies were in the early stages of this transition, as exposure to Western medicine and technology reduced mortality but continued high fertility led to rapid population growth.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 British officials sought to address the perceived impact of African population growth at a regional and local level. They hoped that resettlement programs, limits on immigration and increased agricultural output would reduce population pressure. Senior officials in London downplayed any suggestion that colonial policies, especially land alienation, played a role in the problem and instead focused on transforming African behavior. The confused and coercive efforts of officials often failed to achieve their objectives. Recent work on post development plans in British Africa demonstrates that these plans often produced resistance or evasion by colonial subjects and revealed the limits of British authority.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Colonial officials saw resettlement as central to their plans. Already in the 1930s, the British used forced resettlement in their tsetse fly control efforts. In the 1940s and 1950s, resettlement programs moved people from overcrowded regions to areas officials saw as underutilized in order to relieve overpopulation and encourage new agricultural production. Resettlement schemes operated in Nyasaland (1942), Uganda (1944), Swaziland (1945-6), Nigeria (1946) and Tanganyika. The scale of these projects varied, but some were quite substantial. The Nyasaland project affected 28,000 people, while a Ugandan plan to resettle former soldiers in the Kigezi district involved 15,000 people. Southern Rhodesian officials forced the removal of as many as 465,000 “squatters” from white farms. The high cost of these programs reflected the difficulties of beginning new settlements in often remote areas that lacked roads or reliable water supplies.  Yet officials hoped to make them model settlements and included strict rules about land use and agricultural techniques in the new communities. The use of forced removals and the imposition of tight controls led to resistance from displaced groups. Some settlers attempted to return to their homes, while other groups moved into areas emptied by resettlement to exploit newly available land. In an attempt to maintain a forest reserve created in the Jos region of Nigeria, officials prosecuted and fined interlopers. The refusal of a local authority court to enforce the ban on settlement led to its dismissal by colonial officials.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 British officials linked resettlement to their efforts to transform African agriculture to accommodate larger populations. Critiques of African agriculture dated back to the inter-war years and the work of E.B. Worthington and Sir Daniel Hall. British observers believed that, Africans relied on inefficient and destructive techniques that threatened to reduce food production even as populations increased. Post-war agricultural policy took aim at African practices and used incentives and compulsory powers to force changes in behavior. Yet such programs were riddled with problems. Officials refused to endorse African peasant cultivation for the market as the way forward, despite their encouragement increased output of maize and other cash crops during the Depression and the Second World War. Instead they believed that large scale production by well-capitalized European farmers would create the basis for economic modernization.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While many in the colonial establishment remained uncertain about the wisdom of encouraging modernization for Africans, those concerned with demographic issues believed that only new values and attitudes could prevent a future population crisis in Africa. Whereas previously, experts argued that Africa’s slow population growth reflected its backwardness, now Africa’s inability to limit its growth demonstrated its failure to modernize. Like demographers, officials saw African families as mired in traditional, collective societies that inhibited the exercise of individual autonomy and choice. Even as mortality fell, Africans continued to bear large numbers of children, leading to rapid population growth. Officials blamed this problem on African backwardness. As J.K. Greer, a Colonial Office agricultural specialist, argued in 1948,
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The utterances of Governors make it appear that most East Africans are incurably lazy and industrialization and plantations will be possible up to the point at which the few exceptional members of the community who are willing to do regular work have all been absorbed. The rest will continue to live a shiftless existence, surrounded by swarms of children.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 For these officials and experts the expansion of the market offered the best solution to the agrarian and demographic problems of Africa. The growth of the market would encourage increased output and encourage individualism in African society, which in turn would lead Africans to adopt the values necessary for fertility control. As one official put it, “a voluntary limitation of families will only come when the people have been educated to more sophisticated wants–bicycles instead of babies, furniture instead of families.” The problem in the eyes of officials lay in the slow pace of social and economic change. Plans for the modernization of Africa rested on the ability of colonial regimes to foster the economic changes necessary to sustain improved standards of living while at the same time encouraging the growth of modern values among the wage earners and peasant farmers of the continent.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 To facilitate the use of birth control by Africans, officials encouraged the development of private planning programs on the continent. While family planning activity in Africa dated back to the 1930s and the work of Marie Stopes with South African activists, it took off in the post-war era as concern about African population growth increased. Not surprisingly, the earliest calls for birth control for Africans came from the settler community in Kenya. In Kenya and elsewhere in British colonial Africa, private groups, with unofficial Colonial Office support, established birth control clinics. In the mid-1950s, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) contacted physicians and other persons interested in birth control in several African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. In 1956 Edith Gates, the East African and Far East Field Representative of the Committee on Maternal Health, set up an IPPF field organization in Africa. In 1959, the IPPF appointed the wife of a Colonial Medical Service officer as its regional field organizer for East Africa to work with affiliates in Nairobi, Mombassa, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, and Zanzibar. Work also began in Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. Urban hospitals and maternal and child welfare centers housed these clinics but activists and officials despaired of reaching the population in rural areas, where medical services and clinics were sparse.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Despite ambitious plans for modernizing African societies, in the end British efforts failed to make much headway. British plans for Africa were increasingly unrealistic given the rapidly changing political environment; most of them remained embryonic even as the pace of decolonization picked up in the late 1950s.  The drive toward “Africanization” of local colonial services lessened the ability of Colonial Office officials to control events. The decline in development funding after 1955 and the increasing pace of decolonization made officials reluctant to begin new, expensive projects. Instead, the Colonial Office began the transition toward independence, winding down development projects and making arrangements for the transfer or redundancy of colonial officials.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 However, the limits of British population control went beyond questions of timing. Efforts to force Africans to change their behavior generated considerable resistance while ignoring the root causes of population pressure and poverty. In Kenya, where settlers and officials agreed on the menace of African overpopulation, resettlement campaigns helped fuel the Mau-Mau insurgency while failing to address questions of land ownership and redistribution that dated back to the origins of the colony. Once the insurgency began, colonial officials used population control measures, including forced resettlement, in their counterinsurgency campaign. This association undermined claims by the British that development projects were intended to aid Africans and foreshadowed the use of family planning as a counterinsurgency tactic by the white minority governments of South Africa and Rhodesia. The Kenyan case highlights how development and population programs served the interests of the British colonial states and European settlers rather than those of Africans and reflected preexisting beliefs about African societies rather than an objective scientific analysis.
African Population in the Post-Colonial Era
Permalink for this paragraph 0 While decolonization ended direct British control over African populations, the British continued to exert influence in the post-colonial era. British officials, scholars and NGOs helped construct the new aid programs aimed at Africa. In 1961 the British government created the Department of Technical Cooperation to coordinate aid programs in the remaining colonies and newly independent states. This agency and its successor, the Ministry of Overseas Development (ODM), created in 1964, drew much of its personnel from the ranks of the colonial service, including its Director, Andrew Cohen. A number of British experts, including Julian Huxley, the first head of UNESCO, played a central role in the creation of international development programs that operated in Africa.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 As African states achieved independence in the 1960s, new demographic estimates for sub-Saharan African appeared. These estimates built in part on the work of British demographers like William Brass, who served in the East African Statistical Department from 1948 to 1955. Brass became an important figure in African demography and helped create the Centre for Overseas Population Studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He also worked on Frank Lorimer’s research project on African demography at Princeton’s Office of Population Research. Its publications argued that Africa stood on the brink of rapid population growth as a result of falling mortality, a view echoed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. By the early 1970s a most demographers warned of the threat posed by population growth and its potential consequences for new African states. Development projects began to incorporate population control measures as part of their plans, despite the reluctance of many African countries to accept them.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The population programs that emerged in Africa in the 1960s and 1970s relied heavily on family planning NGOs that operated in former British colonies. Their activities reflected a larger shift of NGOs toward Africa as decolonization proceeded. They joined British missionary organizations that survived the end of imperial rule and continued to operate in former colonial states. The British government, which lacked personnel and facilities, funneled much of its family planning aid through the IPPF after it began directly funding overseas population programs in 1961. The appointment of the former governor of Mauritius, Sir Colville Deverell, as president of the IPPF facilitated this relationship. This work proceeded despite uncertainties about population trends in Africa. As one official in 1967 noted, the “general impression in Africa is that the continent is under-populated, but few of the African countries have adequate demographic and other statistics to show whether their rates of growth are outrunning their capacity for economic growth.” The potential benefits of cooperation and the insistence of aid donors led to the rapid expansion of family planning programs. The British offered both bilateral aid for family planning and contributed to international efforts. By the early 1980s, virtually every state in sub-Saharan Africa had created a family planning program in conjunction with international and bilateral assistance agencies, supplemented by the work of non governmental organizations.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Conclusion
Permalink for this paragraph 0 What conclusions should we draw from this story? It is important to remember that the colonial state was neither all powerful nor homogeneous. The British colonial state lacked the resources and personnel to force Africans into compliance in the face of increasing resistance to colonial initiatives. Assertions of expertise about African societies were often shallow and incomplete, riddled with assumptions and prejudices that limited their usefulness. While some experts and officials were more receptive to African ideas and knowledge, particularly in agricultural and veterinary sciences, most British observers remained convinced of the correctness of their views. Demographic experts created a model of population dynamics based on Western ideas and experience and assisted in the construction of an African other that could be transformed in the name of a universal modernity. This perspective survived the transition to a post-colonial where it operated in a new political and ideological environment. By focusing on population growth and the behavior of Africans, Western population discourse sidestepped questions about the causes of poverty and the legacies of European colonial rule. It forced Africans into the category of primitive or traditional and thus obscured the dramatic differences in African demographic behavior in the past and the present. Contemporary Western commentators on Africa invoke a Malthusian perspective of African population to explain why the continent remains troubled by warfare, famine, and poverty. In doing so, they help rationalize a population policy that focuses narrowly on fertility control rather than questions of equity and power. A critical examination of this history allows us to challenge contemporary myths about Africa and to continue the process of rewriting African demographic history.
 John Kent, “Bevin’s Imperialism and the Idea of Euro-Africa,” in British Foreign Policy, 1945-56, ed. M. Dockrill and John Young (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989), 47-76.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Alexander Carr-Saunders, World Population, reprint of 1936 edition, (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1965); Julian Huxley, African View, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1931), William Macmillan, Africa Emergent (London: Faber & Faber, 1938).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Thomas Malthus, An Essay on Population v.1 (London: J.M. Dent& Sons, 1914), 89-98. For the problems with early European accounts see Norman Etherington, “A False Emptiness: How Historians May Have Been Misled by Early Nineteenth Century Maps of South-Eastern Africa,” Imago Mundi 56, no. 1 (2004): 67-86.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The Colonial Problem: A Report (New York: Oxford, 1937), 127-139; Raymond Buell, The Native Problem in Africa, reprint of 1927 edition, (Hamden: Archon, 1965) ; I.C. Greaves, Modern Production among Backward Peoples, reprint of 1935 edition (New York: A.M. Kelley, 1968).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For an overview see John Caldwell, “The social repercussions of colonial rule: demographic aspects,” in Africa Under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, General History of Africa, 7, ed. A. Adu Boahen (London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1985), 458-486.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Carol Summers, “Intimate Colonialism: The Imperial Production of Reproduction in Uganda, 1907-1925,” Signs 16, no. 41 (1991): 787-407 and Jean Allman, “Making Mothers: Missionaries, Medical Officers and Women’s Work in Colonial Assante, 1924-1945,” History Workshop 38 (1994): 23-47.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  A. Walter, a government statistician, estimated African population growth at 1 to 1.5% per year in his testimony to the Kenyan Land Commission in 1933. Other reports in the mid-1940s estimated rates as high as 2% a year. A. R. Robertson, “The Human Situation in East Africa,” East African Medical Journal 34, no. 2 (1947): 81-97; S.J.K. Baker, “The Distribution of Native Population over East Africa,” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 10, no. 1 (1937): 37-54; Lord Hailey, An African Survey (London: Macmillan, 1938), 811-813
Permalink for this paragraph 0  F. Dixey, “The Distribution of Population in Nyasaland, Geographical Review 18, no. 2 (1928): 274-290; C.R. Niven, “Some Nigerian Population Problems,” The Geographical Journal, 85, no. 1 (1936): 54-58.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  While his early career focused on technical demography and Western population trends, in the 1930s he established a reputation as an expert on colonial populations and was chosen to write the population chapter in Lord Hailey’s African Survey. Robert Kuczynski, Colonial Population (London: Oxford University Press, 1937); The Cameroons and Togoland (London: Oxford University Press, 1939. This work culminated in his multi-volume study of colonial population, Demographic Survey of the British Colonial Empire. For more on his career see Eugene Grebenik, “Demographic Research in Britain,” Population Studies 45 Supplement : Population Research in Britain (1991): 7-10; “Memoir: R.R. Kuczynski,” Population Studies 1, no. 4 (1948): 471-472; David Glass, “Robert Rene Kuczynski,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 110, no. 4 (1947): 383-384.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Memo from Robert Kuczynski, Personnel for Reorganization of Colonial Population and Vital Statistics, 7 December 1944, Demography 1943-44, NA, CO 927/10/1; Proposal for Population Count in Nigeria, 1944-45, NA, CO 859/126/3.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Howard Johnson, “The West Indies and the Conversion of the British Official Classes to the Development Idea,” Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 15, no. 1 (1977): 55-83; Stephen Constantine, The Making of British Colonial Development Policy 1914-1940 (London: F. Cass, 1984), 195-266.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For the prewar period, in addition to Constantine, Colonial Development, see R.D. Pearce, The Turning Point in Africa British Colonial Policy 1938-1948 (London: F. Cass, 1982); D.J. Morgan, The Official History of Colonial Development, v.1: The Origins of British Aid Policy, 1924-1945 (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980); Michael Havinden and David Meredith, Colonialism and Development: Britain and its Tropical Colonies, 1850-1960 (London: Routledge, 1993), 187-234.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Charles Jeffries, Whitehall and the Colonial Service: An Administrative Memoir, 1939-1956 (London: University of London, published for the Institute of Commonwealth Studies by Athlone, 1972), 9-17; Charles Jeffries, The Colonial Office (London: Allen & Unwin, 1956), 24-115; Anthony Kirk-Greene, On Crown Service: A History of HM Colonial and Overseas Services, 1837-1997 (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999); Lee and Petter, Colonial Office, 13-46; Barbara Ingram, ‘Shaping Opinion on Development Policy: Economists at the Colonial Office during World War II,” History of Political Economy 24, no. 3 (1992): 689-710; Hodge, Triumph, 196-206. The Social Services Department, created in 1938 to deal with issues of social welfare in the Empire, became the department most directly involved in population issues
Permalink for this paragraph 0  On the war see J.M. Lee and Martin Petter, The Colonial Office, War and Development Policy (London: M.T. Smith for the Institute for Commonwealth Studies, 1982). For the post-war era see D.J. Morgan, The Official History of Colonial Development v.2: Developing Colonial Resources, 1945-1951 (Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Humanities Press, 1980); Havinden and Meredith, Colonialism, 225-318. For an overview of the impact on Africa, see David Killingray and Richard Rathbone ed., Africa and the Second World War (New York, 1986).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For a general account of this period see Kenneth Morgan, Labour in Power 1945-1951 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984) 94-187 and Peter Hennesey, Never Again: Britain, 1945-1951 (New York: Pantheon, 1993), 119-215. For an discussion of the role of the Empire in the post-war era see John Darwin, Britain and Decolonization (New York: St. Martins, 1988); John Kent, British Imperial Strategy and the Origins of the Cold War 1944-49 (Leicester, 1993); Partha Sarathi Gupta, Imperialism and the British Labour Movement, 1914-1964 (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1975), 303-348; P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction 1914-1990 (London: Longman, 1993), 263-281.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The Colonial Service began the campaign in June 1945 and made 4,000 appointments from 1946-1948. The Colonial Service reached 11,000 in 1947 and peaked at 18,000 in 1954. Kirk-Greene, On Crown Service, 49-53.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Ronald Hyam, “Africa and the Labour Government, 1945-1951,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 16, no. 3 (1988): 148-172; Pearce, Turning Point, 90-161; Gupta, Imperialism and the British Labour Movement, 309-335; Cooper, Decolonization and African Society, 111-124.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Frederick Cooper, “Modernizing Bureaucrats, Backward Africans, and the Development Concept,” in International Development and the Social Sciences, ed. Frederick Cooper and Randall Packard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 64-92; A.J. Stockwell, “British Imperial Policy and Decolonization in Malaya, 1942-52,” Journal of Commonwealth and Imperial History 13, no. 1 (1984): 68-87; Michael Cowen and Robert Shenton, “The Origin and Course of Fabian Colonialism in Africa,” Journal of Historical Sociology 4, no. 2 (1991): 143-174.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Allister Hinds, Britain’s Sterling Colonial Policy and Decolonization, 1939-1958 (Westport, CN: Greenwood, 2001) and Gerald Krozewski, Money and the End of Empire: British International Economic Policy and the Colonies, 1947-58 (New York: Palgrave, 2001); R.J. Butler, “The Ambiguities of British Colonial Development Policy, 1938-1948,” in Contemporary British History, 1939-1961: Politics and the Limits of Policy, ed. Anthony Gorst, Lewis Johnson and W. Scott Lucas (London: Pinter, 1991), 119-140 and “Reconstruction, Development and the Entrepreneurial State: The British Colonial Model, 1939-1951,” Contemporary British History, 13, no. 4 (1999): 29-55
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Minute by W.F. Searle 19 January 1950, Staff Training of Colonial Government Statisticians, 1950, NA, CO 852/1076/1; Appointment of Statisticians General, 1948-50, CO 877/39/2; Conference of Colonial Government Statisticians, 1951-53, NA, CO 1042/146.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  A.T. Culwick, “The Population Trend,” Tanganyika Notes and Records 11 (1941): 13–17; and A. T. Culwick and G. M. Culwick, “A Study of Population in Ulanga, Tanganyika Territory,” Sociological Review 30, no. 4 (1938), 365–79 and Sociological Review 31, no. 1 (1939): 25–43. Colonial officials paid attention to such reports. One official argued that “[t]his population report seems to me to be of greatest importance and interest.” Papers Tanganyika, 1938 Publications, NA, CO 691/167/10.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  M. Perham to Warden of Nuffield College, 10 October 1939, Nuffield College Proposed Labour Investigation-Africa-1939, NA, CO 847/17/12. David Killingray estimates that 500,000 Africans served in imperial military units from 1939-1945, the vast majority as laborers and construction workers. Killingray, “Labour Mobilization in British Colonial Africa for the War Effort, 1939-46,” in Africa in the Second World War, ed. Killingray and Rathbone, 68-96. Kenneth Vickery, “The Second World War Revival of Forced Labor in the Rhodesias,” The International Journal of African Studies 22, no. 3 (1989): 423-437; Meshack Owino, “Panyako: The Discourse of Over-Population in Western Kenya, and the Creation of the Pioneer Corps,” in Ittmann, Dennis Cordell and Greg Maddox, ed, The Demographics of Empire. .
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Standards of living in relation to population problems in Middle East and Central Africa, 1948, NA, CO/927/73/1; E.D. Pridie The Effect of Raising the Standard of Living on Population, Working Party on Food Supplies and Communism, 1949, NA, CO 537/4472.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  C.J. Martin, “The East African Population Census, 1948. Planning and Enumeration,” Population Studies, 3, no.3 (1949): 303-320; R Mansell Prothero “The Population Census of Northern Nigeria 1952: Problems and Results,: Population Studies, 10, no. 2 (1952): 166-183.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  L.T. Badenhurst, “Population Distribution and Growth in African,” Population Studies 5, no. 1 (1951): 23-34; A.T. Grove, “Social Erosion and Population Problems in South-East Nigeria,” The Geographical Journal 117, no. 3 (1951): 291-304; J.F.M. Middleton and D.J. Greenland, “Land and Population in West Nile District, Uganda,” The Geographical Journal 120, no. 4, (1954): 446-455; Glenn Trewartha and Wilber Zelinsky, “Population Patterns in Tropical Africa,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 44, no. 2, (1954): 135-162; W.B. Morgan, “Farming Practices, Settlement Patterns and Population Density in South-Eastern Nigeria,” The Geographical Journal 121, no. 3 (1955): 320-333; Glenn Trewartha, “New Population Maps of Uganda, Kenya, Nyasaland and Gold Coast,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 47, no. 1 (1957), 1-58. Government statisticians in the early 1950s estimated Nigeria’s population growth at 1.3% to 1.7% per year, the Gold Coast at 2.0% and the Central African Federation at 2.8%. R.A. Cooper to the Secretary of the East Africa Royal Commission 7 July 1953, 2nd Conference of Colonial Government Statisticians, 1953-54, NA, CO 1034/16. The Governor of Southern Rhodesia claimed that his territory had one of the highest growth rates in world, which led to pressure on the land. Governor of Southern Rhodesia to Secretary of State, 9-November 1950 Affairs in southern Rhodesia, 1950, NA, CO 936/62/3. A United Nations study in 1951 noted population pressure in the Gold Coast (Ghana), Nyasaland (Malawi) and Kenya. Note on Land Distribution in the African Territories, Special Committee on Information Submitted by NSGT Land Distribution, 1951, NA, CO 936/46/1.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Dennis Hodgson, “Demography as Social Science and Policy Science,” Population and Development Review 9, no. 1 (1983): 1-33; John Sharpless, “World Population Growth, Family Planning, and American Foreign Policy,” Journal of Policy History 7, no. 1 (1995): 72-102; Dennis Hodgson, “Orthodoxy and Revisionism in American Demography,” Population and Development Review 14, no. 4 (1988): 541-67; Susan Greenhalgh, “The Social Construction of Population Science.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 38, no. 1 (1996): 26-65; Simon Szreter, “The Idea of the Demographic Transition and the Study of Fertility Change: A Critical Intellectual History,” Population and Development Review 19, no. 4 (1993): 659-701.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  In addition to Cooper, Decolonization and African Society see Jane Lewis, Empire State Building: War And Welfare in Kenya 1925-1952 (Oxford, 2000); Roderick Neumann, “The Post-War Conservation Boom in British Colonial Africa,” Environmental History 7, no. 1 (2002): 22-47; Dorothy Hodgson, “Taking Stock: Ethic Identity and Pastoralist Development in Tanganyika, 1948-1958,” Journal of African History 41, no. 1 (2000): 55-78; Andres Eckert, “Regulating the Social: Social Security, Social Welfare and the State in Late Colonial Tanzania,” Journal of African History 45, no. 3 (2004): 467-489; Eric Worby, “Discipline without Oppression: Sequence, Timing and Marginality in Southern Rhodesia’s Post-War Development Regime,” Journal of African History 41, no. 1 (2000): 101-125.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Christopher Bonneuil talks about the creation of the developmentalist state in colonial Africa. “Development as Experiment: Science and State Building in Late Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, 1930-1970,” Osiris, 15, no. 1 (2000): 258-281. Also see James Scott, Seeing like a State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 223-263. For the limits of colonial state building see Bruce Berman, “The Perils of Bula Matari: Constraint and Power in the Colonial State,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 31 no. 3, (1997): 556-570 and John Darwin, “What was the Late Colonial State?” Itinerario 23, no. 3-4, (1999): 73-82. For French programs see Monica van Beusekom, Negotiating Development: African Farmers and Colonial Experts at the Office du Niger, 1920-1960 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002); David Throup, Economic and Social Origins of Mau-Mau, (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1988); John McCracken, “Conservation and Resistance in Colonial Malawi: The ‘Dead North’ Revisited,” in Social History and African Environments, ed. William Beinart and Joann McGregor (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2003), 155-174; L. Cliffe, “Nationalism and the reaction to enforced agricultural change in Tanganyika during the colonial period,” in Socialism in Tanganyika: An Interdisciplinary Reader, ed. L.Cliffe and J. Saul (Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1972), 17-24
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Kirk Arden Hoppe, Lords of the Fly: Sleeping Sickness Control in British East Africa, 1900-1960 (Westport, CN: Greenwood, 2003), 105-142. In one case in Nigeria, officials hoped to create a forest reserve in the evacuated area. Report by Dr. T.A.M. Nash, Anchua Rural Development and Resettlement Scheme, 1946-47, NA, CO 583/296/3.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  East Africa Agricultural Policy, 1951, NA, CO 691/215. For a discussion of such schemes see Scott, Seeing like a State, 225-229 and Bonneuil, “Development,” 261-269.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Resettlement of Africans from Overpopulated Areas, 1951, NA, CO 583/311/4; Congested Areas in Cholo District Nyasaland, 1944-45, NA, CO 525/196/2; Resettlement of Africans from Overpopulated Area, 1947-48, NA, CO 583/296/4; Uganda Protectorate Agricultural Development and Resettlement Schemes, 1953, NA, CO 892/15/8.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For more on the Kigezi plan see Grace Carswell, Cultivating Success in Uganda: Kigezi Farmers and Colonial Policies (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007), 59-62.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Chris Youe, “Rebellion and Quiescence: Kenyan and Rhodesian Responses to Forced Removals in the 1950s,” in Agency and Action in Colonial Africa: essays for John Flint , ed. Chris Youe and Tim Stapleton (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001), 172-194.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The Kigezi scheme cost £18,000, while one in Nigeria from 1946-1951 ran to £240 per settler. Note on Land Distribution in the African Territories, Special Committee on Information Submitted by NSGT Land Distribution, 1951, NA, CO 936/46/1.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Grace Carswell, “Multiple historical geographies: responses and resistance to colonial conservation schemes in East Africa,” Journal of Historical Geography, 32, no. 2 (2006): 398-421.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  E.B. Worthington, Science in Africa, reprint of 1938 edition (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969) and Sir A. Daniel Hall, The Improvement of Native Agriculture in relation to Population and Public Health, (London: Oxford University Press, 1936). For a discussion of this discourse see Melissa Leach and Robin Mearns, The Lie of the Land: Challenging Received Wisdom on the African Environment, (Oxford: International African Institute in association with James Currey, 1996) and David Anderson, “Depression, Dust Bowl, Demography and Drought: The Colonial State and Soil Conservation in East Africa During the 1930s,” African Affairs 83, no. 332 (1984): 321-341.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Hodge, Triumph of the Expert, 146-166, 180-196, 231-251; Hodgson, “Taking Stock,” 56-57; Worby, “Discipline,” 104-105; McCracken, “Conservation and Resistance,” 163-173. The British extended this critique to African’s relationship to forests and wild game. See Neuman, “Postwar Conservation,” 31-35; James Fairhead and Melissa Leach, “Rethinking the Forest Savanna Mosaic: Colonial Science and its Relics in West Africa,” in The Lie of the Land, ed. Leach and Mearns, 105-123. The geographer Robert Steel, whose work was supported by Colonial Welfare and Development funds, warned of erosion and soil exhaustion as a consequence of population pressure in Gold Coast and Sierra Leone. R.W. Steel, “Some Geographical Problems of Land Use in West Africa,” Transactions and Papers (Institute of British Geographers 14, (1948): 27-42 and “The Population of Ashanti: A Geographical Analysis,” The Geographical Journal 112, no. 1/3 (1948): 64-77.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Karl Ittmann, “The Colonial Office and the Population Question in the British Empire, 1918-1962,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 27, no. 3 (1999): 68-74.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Susanne Klausen, “The Imperial Mother of Birth Control: Marie Stopes and the South African Birth Control Movement, 1930-1950,” in Colonialism and the Modern World, ed. Gregory Blue, Martin Bunton and Ralph Crozier (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002), 182-199
Permalink for this paragraph 0  The English writer, Elspeth Huxley, and the former director of the Kenyan Medical Service, A. R. Patterson both raised the issue of the high birth rate of Africans in the colony and suggested improved education and health services as means of transforming African attitudes and encouraging the limitation of family size. Huxley, cited in Lewis, State Building, 183; A.R. Patterson, “The Human Situation in East Africa: Part I On the Increase of the People,” East African Medical Journal 24, no. 2 (1947): 81-97.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  SP/FPA A21/1 General Correspondence, Africa, 1952-1960, Family Planning Association Papers, Contemporary Medical Archives Center. Also see Beryl Suitters, Be Brave and Angry: Chronicles of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London: International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1973), 136-141.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Margaret Hadley, an IPPF member who worked with the Colonial Office noted: “In East Africa….facilities for proper medical control are limited but demand is growing; in small upcountry stations there are no European chemist shops, only the local ‘duka.’” Population-General Information and Enquiries, 1957-9, NA, CO/859/1026.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  David Anderson, Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire, (New York: Norton, 2005), 119-151, 235-238, 293-297Throup, Roots of Mau-Mau, 91-119; David Percox, Britain, Kenya, and the Cold War: Imperial Defense,Colonial Security, and Decolonization (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004), 60-63, Caroline Elkins, Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (New York: Holt, 2005), 103-106, 116-117, 125-130, 265-268. William Adams and David Anderson, “Irrigation before Development: Indigenous and Induced Change in Agricultural Water Management in East Africa” African Affairs, 87, no. 349 (1988): 520. The Hola camp, the site of a massacre of detainees, provided labor to one of these projects.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Barbara Brown, “Facing the ‘Black Peril’: The Politics of Population Control in South Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 13, no. 2 (1987): 256-273; Michael White, “Nationalism, Race and Gender: The Politics of Family Planning in Zimbabwe, 1957-1990,” Social History of Medicine 7, no.3 (1994): 447-471; Amy Kaler, Running After Pills: Politics, Gender, and Contraception in Colonial Zimbabwe (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003), 43-56.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Colonial administrators framed the problem as one of overpopulation on the reserves and rejected land alienation as a factor. By one estimate, officials devoted £3 million to resettlement and agricultural schemes in Kenya from 1945-1950. UN Report on Non-Self-Governing Territories Settlement Policies, 1951 A/AC.35.L.61 17 October 1951, Special Committee on Information Submitted by NSGT, Land Distribution, 1951, NA, CO 936/46/1.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  For the background to the creation of the DTC and ODM, see D.J. Morgan, The Official History of Colonial Development, v.3: A Reassessment of British Aid Policy (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980), 236-270; The Official History of Colonial Development, v. 4, Changes in British Aid Policy (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1980), 13-32.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  See Joseph Hodges, “Colonial Expertise, Post-Colonial Careering and the Early History of International Development,” Journal of Modern European History 8, 1 (2010), 24-46.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Richard Stephens, Population Pressures in Africa South of the Sahara (Washington, D.C.: Population Research Project, George Washington University, 1958); K.M. Barbour and R.M. Prothero, ed., Essays on African Population (New York: Praeger 1962); Frank Lorimer, Demographic Information on Tropical Africa (Boston: Boston University Press, 1961).
Permalink for this paragraph 0  William Brass, et al., The Demography of Tropical Africa (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968), John Caldwell, “Introduction,” in The Population of Tropical Africa, ed. Caldwell and Chukuka Okonjo (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 3-27.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Robert Steel, “Problems of Population Pressure in Tropical Africa,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 49 (1970): 1-14; Thomas Dow, “Fertility and Family Planning in Africa,” Journal of Modern African Studies 8, no. 3 (1970): 445-457; D. Ian Pool, “The Development of Population Policies,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 9, no. 1 (1971): 91-105.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  Donald Warwick, Bitter Pills: Population Policies and their implementation in eight developing countries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). On Africa see John Caldwell, “Family Planning in Continental Sub-Saharan Africa,” in Politics of Family Planning, ed. Smith , 50-66; Lisa Richey, “Family Planning and the Politics of Population in Tanzania: International to Local Discourse,” Journal of Modern African Studies 37, no. 3 (1999): 457-487; Amy Kaler, “A Threat to Nation and a Threat to the Men: The Banning of Depo-Provera in Zimbabwe, 1981,” Journal of Southern African Studies 24, no. 2 (1998): 347-376.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  John Hailey, “Ladybirds, missionaries and NGO’s. Voluntary Organizations and Co-operatives in 50 Years of Development: A historical perspective on future challenges,” Public Administration and Development 19, no. 5 (1999): 467-486; John Stuart, “Overseas Mission, Voluntary Service and Aid to Africa: Max Warren, the Church Missionary Society and Kenya, 1945-1963,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 36, no. 3, (2008): 527-543.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  In 1965, the ODM gave the IPPF a Colonial Development and Welfare grant of £7,625, which grew to £12,980 1966-67, including £6,000 for an IPPF Regional office for East Africa at Nairobi. This grant increased to £50,000 for 1967-68 and for 1968-69, with a further increase to £100,000 per year for the next two years. Draft Memo on Population Policy and UK Aid by R.H. Cassen, Population Control General Policy Part A 1967-69, NA, Overseas Development Ministry (OD) 25/222; Population Control Cooperation with IPPF Part A 1967-69, NA, OD 25/233; Cooperation with IPPF 1973-75, NA, OD 62/59.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  John Illife, The African Poor: A History, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). For a more extreme version, see Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (New York: Viking, 2005), 311-328. Eric Ross, The Malthus Factor: Poverty, Politics and Population in Capitalist Development, (London, Zed Books, 1998); Szreter, “The Idea of the Demographic Transition,” 659-701.
Permalink for this paragraph 0  In addition to Cordell and Gregory’s work, see African Historical Demography, v. 1 and 2, ed. Christopher Fyfe and David McMaster (Edinburgh: African Studies Centre, University of Edinburg, 1977, 1981). See also Helge Kjekshus, Ecology Control and Economic Development in East African History: The Case of Tanganyika, 1850–1950 (Heinemann: London, 1977); Gavin Kitching, “Proto-Industrialization and Demographic Change: A Thesis and Some Possible African Implications,” Journal of African History 24, no. 2 (1983): 221-240; Juhani Koponen, People and Production in Late Precolonial Tanzania: History and Structures (Helsinki: Finnish Historical Society, 1988); Gywn Campbell, “The State and Precolonial Demographic History: The Case of Nineteenth Century Madagascar,” Journal of African History 32, no. 3 (1991): 415-445.