This book derives from a concern with the contemporary African
situation. It delves into the past only because otherwise it would be
impossible to understand how the present came into being and what the
trends are for the near future. In the search for an understanding of what
is now called “underdevelopment” in Africa, the limits of enquiry have
had to be fixed as far apart as the fifteenth century, on the one hand and
the end of the colonial period, on the other hand.
Ideally. an analysis of underdevelopment should come even closer to
the present than the end of the colonial period in the 1960s. The
phenomenon of neo-colonialism cries out for extensive investigation in
order to formulate the strategy and tactics of African emancipation and
development. This study does not go that far, but at least certain
solutions are implicit in a correct historical evaluation, just as given
medical remedies are indicated or contra-indicated by a correct
diagnosis of a patient’s condition and an accurate case-history.
Hopefully, the facts and interpretation that follow will make a small
contribution towards reinforcing the conclusion that African
development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the
international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of
underdevelopment of Africa over the last five centuries.