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The factors that promoted proto-nationalist activities in West Africa before the Second World War

Exclusion of Africans from economic activities
One of the factors that promoted nationalist activities before the Second World War was that the Africans were excluded from the economic activities of the time. For example, the import and export business was controlled by the Europeans, Syrian and the Lebanese. The retail sector, which should have been left for the Africans, was also taken over by the same foreign elements.

The role of ex-slaves
After the end of the slave trade, some of the slaves returned to West Africa to settle. These slaves who came from Britain saw how those places were governed and there felt that there was the need for the Africans to be involved in the way they are governed on their own land and in their own country.

The role of the educated elite
The educated elite felt that with their level of education, they have been given some roles to play in the governance of their country but this was not so. They were excluded from governance both at the central government and the local level. One of the ways of solving this was the formation of the nationalist movements of the time.

The Western system of education brought in its wake a large team of school graduates who did not have any form of employment. This category people thought they should have been given some form of employment in the Civil and Public Service but his was not the case. This group also had to join the nationalist movement to push pressure on the colonialists.

Discrimination in the Public service
The few African who found employment in the Public Service realized that they were being discriminated against. The Africans realized that they were being employed in the lower strata of the service though they may have the same qualifications as their European counterparts. This also contributed to the rise of nationalism.

Opposition to Ordinances
The introduction of the 1897 land Bills which sort to disposes the indigenes of their fertile lands, or so it was suspected, elicited a strong opposition from the local people. The locals also opposed the waterworks Bill of 1934 because it was seen as an obnoxious law. The opposition to these laws and others also formed the bases of proto-nationalism.

1. a. What is Proto-nationalism? [3 marks]
    b. Explain six factors that gave rise to the agitations between 1919 and 1939.

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