• William Tordoff


Before examining the basic properties of the adminstrative systems of the African states at independence, it is well to remind ourselves of the colonial legacy. Colonial rule was alien rule, superimposed from outside mainly in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and established in the midst of ongoing cultures. It was exercised by predominantly European administrators, who were few in number in relation to the population being administered within what was typically a centralised and unitary framework; thus French West Africa, which comprised eight territories, covered a huge area and had a population of some 15 million, was served in 1937 by only 385 colonial administrators, of whom half were posted to offices at headquarters in each colony.1 These administrators had a political role for, protestations of political neutrality not with standing, policy was not only implemented by civil servants but was primarily formulated by them. This role began to change in the terminal stages of colonial rule as government became much more specialised in function and, first in British Africa and then in French Africa, the rudiments of a ministerial system were introduced. Nevertheless, the colonial state was par excellence a bureaucratic state. This had its impact on the post-colonial state, which tended to adopt with only slight modifications the inherited civil service structure, rules and procedures, as well as the preferential arrangements for civil servants in relation to salary, housing, and medical services.2


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Further Reading

  1. Adu, A. L., The Civil Service in Commonwealth Africa (London: Allen &Unwin, 1969).Google Scholar
  2. Chambers, R., Managing Rural Development: Ideas and Experience from East Africa (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1974).Google Scholar
  3. Finucane, J. R., Rural Development and Bureaucracy in Tanzania: The Case of MwanzaRegion (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1974).Google Scholar
  4. Hyden, G., Jackson, R., and Okumu, J. (eds.), Development Administration: The Kenyan Experience (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1970).Google Scholar
  5. Le Vine, V. T., Political Corruption: The Ghana Case (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  6. Mawhood, P. (ed.), Local Government in the Third World: The Experience of Tropical Africa (Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1983).Google Scholar
  7. Morgan, E. P. (ed.), The Administration of Change in Africa (New York: Dunellen, 1974).Google Scholar
  8. Riggs, F. W., Administration in Developing Countries: The Theory of Prismatic Society (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1964).Google Scholar
  9. Rweyemamu, A. H., and Hyden, G. (eds.), A Decade of Public Administration in Africa (Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau, 1975).Google Scholar
  10. Schaffer, B. B. (ed.), Administrative Training and Development (New York: Praeger, 1974).Google Scholar
  11. Seidman, A., Planning for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1974).Google Scholar
  12. Tordoff, W. (ed.), Administration in Zambia (Manchester University Press, 1980).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William Tordoff 1984

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  • William Tordoff

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