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West African Women and the Development Question in the Post–World War II Economy: The Experience of Nigeria's Benin Province in the Oil Palm Industry

Fred Ekpe F. Ayokhai, Bwashi Rufai


West African women as typified by the experience of women in the oil palm industry in Nigeria’s Benin Province participated actively in the transformation of the post–World War II economy. The role of the women in the oil palm industry in West African societies has not been given detailed attention in the historiography of the region. This study historicizes the process and its impact on the development of the women in the post–World War II economy. It finds that the colonial policies that facilitated and transformed the role of women in the oil palm economy did not only establish, but also sustained their exploitation and underdevelopment. It therefore recommends that the structure of the oil palm production that was inherited from the postwar colonial economy by post-independence West African states, including Nigeria, should be radically restructured to meet the needs of women in resolving the economic crisis in the region.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.