Development Disasters and How to Avoid Them: African agriculture and the Groundnut Scheme



5:00 pm - 6:30 pm




Free (donations to RAS gratefully received)

Nearly 75 years ago, the British colonial state embarked on the single most ambitious, and expensive, attempt to transform and modernise agriculture in Africa. After spending the equivalent of £1 billion in 4 years, the East African Groundnut Scheme proved a comprehensive failure. What happened? Why did things go so terribly wrong? How did it reflect the imperial project? What does it tell us about agricultural development in Africa? And are there lessons we can learn of relevance today?


Nick Westcott’s new book Imperialism and development: the East African Groundnut Scheme and its legacy, explores these themes in-depth, and will be a basis for a panel discussion with experts in all these areas.


Dr Nicholas Westcott is Director of the Royal African Society and Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. His previous posts include Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, and prior to that Managing Director for Africa, European External Action Service (EU), Brussels.


Imperialism and Development: The East African Groundnut Scheme and its Legacy is now available for purchase, to get your copy, follow this link.


This event is in partnership with the Center of African Studies and SOAS.


Chair: Prof Chris Cramer, SOAS



Dr Nicholas Westcott, Director, Royal African Society

Prof David M. Anderson, Warwick University

Prof Frederick Kaijage, Professor of History, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dr Matteo Rizzo, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS

Prof Felicitas Maria Becker, Professor of African History at Gent University, Belgium



If you didn’t get a chance to catch the livestream, don’t worry! You can watch the full recording here.


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