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This paper was presented at the International Literacy Year Colloquium in October 1990, in Washington, D.C. It argues that there is an urgent need to redefine African development and education to set these on the right track. Three decades of development efforts, based on nonAfrican models, has resulted in regression, not development. Conclusions for needed change are based on several years of successful educational experimentation in mother tongues in Cameroon. African society is a valid milieu for economic development and should not be denigrated by outsiders or its own people. The society should not try to take on either a capitalist or a socialist orientation, but keep its own healthy combination of the two. African development and education must be deeply rooted in the soil of African culture and languages.