Slavery, colonialism not badge of honour

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Disaster and Development Nexus

By Gift Chatora

Published by Peach Publishers (2019)

ISBN: 978-1-77906982-5

DECADES after being emancipated from colonialism, a number of African countries still lag behind in terms of development.

In aspects that encompass social, political and economic development, African countries are struggling to keep up with the rest of the world.

Instead of implementing development initiatives and policy, most leaders in Africa comfortably seek help to complete few development projects started by their former colonisers. 

In defence of the continent, one might suggest that it is unfair to entirely blame Africa because her process of development was disturbed by both slavery and colonialism. 

However, it is important to note that some countries in Africa have deteriorated long after the coloniser iwas gone.

It is sad to note that many African nations fall in the category of ‘developing countries’ while a few remain in the ‘least developed’ classification.

Africa clearly needs to up its pace with in development.

The writer of the book under review this week brings to the fore an interesting argument showing a close connection between disaster and development.

The book is a product of Gift Chakora and is simply titled Disaster and Development Nexus.

Chatora argues that it is through the occurrence of a disaster that opportunities for development are opened up.

The writer notes that colonisation brought about disasters associated with war, therefore independence gave Africa the opportunity to implement new development initiatives.

The book Disaster and Development Nexus is a piece of prose that brings arguments from a theoretical perspective emphasizing that it is impossible to separate disaster and development.

The book highlights that it is in disaster that development initiatives are destroyed and created while development schemes increase and decrease vulnerability.

“Disasters and development are closely linked in that disasters can both destroy development initiatives and create development opportunities and that development schemes can both increase or decrease vulnerability,” writes Chatora.

To show the relationship that exists between development and disaster, Chatora  quotes R. Stepheson (1994) who states that:

“Disasters set back development programmes by destroying years of development initiatives; Rebuilding after a disaster provides significant opportunities to initiate development programmes; Development programmes can increase an area’s susceptibility to disasters and Development programmes can be designed to reduce susceptibility to disaster and their negative consequences.”

Development, according to the writer, is a process that does not occur in a vacuum or in isolation.

There is need to create a culture of sharing resources and technology so that no country is left behind.

The writer points out that where there is development, there is a constant positive change of human life.

“…Development’, encompasses continuous ‘change’ in a variety of aspects of human life. The dimensions of development are extremely diverse, including economic, social, political, legal and institutional structures, technology in various forms …the environment, religion, the arts and culture,”  writes Chatora. 

The book emphasises the point that disasters must not be a setback as they will forever remain part of society.

Arguments raised by Chatora gives the reader an opportunity to measure development patterns, if any, in their societies.

According to Chatora, development therefore should be rooted in objectives that seek to increase, improve and widen the distribution of basic life-sustaining goods and services such as food, shelter, health as well as protection.

He emphasises that where there is development, living conditions must continuously improve and there must be provision of  jobs, better education and greater attention to cultural and human values. 

Some parts of Africa lag behind in development because certain groups, such as women and youths, have been deprived opportunities to access land and other resources.

“…in Africa, particularly in the agricultural sector and other fields, most governments fail to pay attention to gender concerns,” said Chatora.

In the book Disaster and Development Nexus, Chatora recommends and concludes that development should be supported or guided by modernisation and sustainable theoretical frameworks.

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