This book explores how a knowledge of field constraints should inform
and guide the policy choice between alternative institutional structures
in Africa. This book originated from a review of African extension based on field visit in 1983-4 to Kenya, Sudan, Malawi, Somalia and Tanzania and supplemented by other visits to Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Western donors continue to press for a restructuring of field services through privatisation and greater NGO involvement. Field agency, for their part, discover that virtually all their resources are absorbed into the payment of staff salaries, which in many countries no longer provide a living wage because of inflation.
The debate has been dominated by financial considerations without regard for how extension systems work in Africa.
The view taken by the author is that Africa's rural development problems are of a systematic nature, rooted both in the low commodity prices and rising debt which the international system imposes on the continent, and in the ineffective and enormous administrative superstructure that African countries have created after independece.
Therefore, there must come a point when Africa's own intellectuals join forces to formulate better forms of governance and economic exchange.