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Lonrho in Africa: The Unacceptable Face of Capitalism or the Ugly Face of Neo-Colonialism?

  • CHIBUIKE UCHE (a1)
Abstract

Under the leadership of Tiny Rowland, Lonrho became the largest and most widely established company in post-independence Africa. Using newly available materials mainly from the National Archives London, this article investigates the activities of Lonrho in Africa and the company’s relationship with the British government during the period. Although Prime Minister Edward Heath publicly labeled the company as the “unacceptable face of capitalism,” evidence presented in this article suggests that this was at best a normative assertion. The subsequent Department of Trade and Industry investigation of Lonrho was carefully guided by the British government with the objective of protecting wider British interests in Africa. Evidence in this article therefore contradicts the view that the British government did not work “in concert” with British businesses in Africa once political independence became imminent.

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