Date of Award

5-1-2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Department of International Affairs and Development

First Advisor

Dr. Henry Elonge

Abstract

This study is a discussion of the political economy of development in the Southwest province of Cameroon, West Africa, highlighting the role of the Cameroon state in the agricultural development of this province. It is essentially a case study of farmers in the Southwest province, which examines the role of Ahidjo’s economic strategy of planned liberalism and the national economic development plan in the economic development of the province. Cameroon gained independence in 1960, and shortly after that the country’s president Amadou Ahidjo adopted and implemented a national economic development plan over a twenty- year period whose primary goal was to achieve rapid growth and the sustainable development of the country. At the same time, Cameroon’s development was guided by an economic ideology of planned liberalism that emphasized a strong role for the Cameroon state in economic development. The findings from this analysis suggest that, the planned liberalism strategy under Ahidjo contributed significantly to the economic development of the Southwest province and the state of Cameroon. Ahidjo’s “big government” approach to economic development, through planned liberalism was critical to development especially in the agricultural sector. This study has shown that Ahidjo’s popularity and success during his presidency was determined by his successful economic policies toward the farmers in the Southwest province. Additionally, Ahidjo’s vision of a strong state capable of intervening in development proved crucial in realizing Cameroon’s economic development. In conclusion the study recommends that in order for the Cameroon’s efforts towards economic development to continue, the country needs to increase the resources of the rural poor. Secondly, the government has to provide better infrastructure and to support economic development activities.

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