Educational rate of enrolling in primary schools for former British colonies is 62 percent compared to only 48 percent in the former French colonies as well as Portuguese colonies. Colonial education policy seems to have played an important role in the developing stages of countries present day. To avoid creating political and social unrest, the British limited educational opportunity at the secondary enrollment level, fearing that well-educated Africans would press for political rights in addition to competing directly for jobs held by white settlers.
The French were concerned as well with over-educating the native population. Nevertheless, the French enrolled a much larger percentage of their school-age population in secondary school given the number of students in primary school, which resulted in a lot of social unrest in most francophone African countries.
In terms of growth in GDP/capita, the former British colonies grew 33 percent between 1970 and 1980. Former French colonies and the Portuguese colonies grew much slower: over the same period their mean growth rate was 11 percent. Recognizing human capital's role in determining long-term economic growth, it appears that a country's colonial past--specifically whether it was under French or British rule--will have an important impact on future economic development.
Brown, David S (2000) Studies in Comparative International Development: Democracy, colonization and human capital in Sub-Saharan Africa, Spring, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p20. 21p.
Natural Resources Curse
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