Blame colonialism for Africa’s lack of development. Africa’s lack ofdevelopment can be attributed to its history of colonialism and imperialism. In the late 1400’swealth-hungry traders arrived from all over Europe – Belgium, France, Germany,Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom – and started their colonialpractices. They set up trading posts in Africa, with a special interest incoastal regions. European traders raided towns and instigated slavery. Aprofusion of disease and starvation hit Africa during the initiation of itscolonization.
European traders also looked to exploit Africa’s abundant rawmaterials. European missionaries infiltrated Africa to convert the locals toChristianity and hoped to instill European customs and ideologies, which inturn destroyed African traditions and religion. U.S. and European colonizingleaders negotiated how to split up the continent, without consent from African natives.This produced increased African inter-ethnic-group tension and aggression,which paved the path for future socio-political and cultural conflicts inAfrican countries.
By the late 1800’s, European culture was assimilated by theAfrican population. Europeans had split up most of the continental territory bythe late 1880s and between 1884 and 1885, European representatives createdcodes for annexing territory as a method to stop competition for Africancolonies. The colonial government and the colonial economy were two factions ofEuropean policy in Africa. They controlled trade and natural resources inAfrica and had sent so many European-made commodities to the continent thatnative African industries could not compete and therefore failed. Each regionspecialized in a different cash crop, which destroyed traditional African formsof agriculture.
Africans were also taxed by some colonial governments and wereforced to dispose of their land and work for wages on European farms and inmines to pay them. Exploitation of Africa is still alive today, however instead ofcolonialism it is now through imperialism and neo-colonialism. Africa is very rich in natural resources – oil,uranium, copper, gold, platinum, tin, diamonds, timber, agricultural exports, biofuels,land, and human capital. Africa has been a vital source of raw materials andhuman labor for Europe’s industrialization, without it, Europe could not havemade its manufactured products for exports. Now the United States, China,Japan, Russia, India, Turkey, Israel, South Korea, and Brazil want a slice ofAfrica’s riches. They all come to the continent with the same supportedcorporations, transnational corporations, world organizations, foreign aid,loans, diplomacy, and military intervention to get what they want.International organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the WorldBank, the International Finance Corporation and the International DevelopmentAssociation are all using “multilateral aid”, just a neo-colonialist trap.
Theseentities “have the habit of forcing potential borrowers to submit to variousoffensive conditions, such as providing information about their economies,submitting their policy and plans to review by the World Bank, and acceptingagency supervision of their use of loans.” (Nkrumah, 1965). In February 2007, theUnited States decided they wanted “in” on African resources. President GeorgeW.
Bush took an interest in Africa after the United States had ignored thecontinent for a time. The President had created the United States AfricanCommand (AFRICOM), whose military activities were later increased by PresidentObama. Africa is a gold-mine for natural resources that China is alreadystarting to exploit and the U.S. wants to benefit as well. Through this militarizedform of U.
S. imperialism, the United States wants to get unrestrained access tonatural resources, suppress African countries by promising assistance withinfrastructure, and increase military control by increasing the number ofmilitary outposts. In a nutshell, the United States’ AFRICOM program’s missionis stated to “advance U.
S. national interests and promote regional security,stability, and prosperity” – but for whom? The underlying fact is that in orderfor the United States to own the oil, it needs to control all of it andeverywhere. The bottom line is that neo-colonialism produces tremendous amountsof profit, just as colonialism did prior.
Western nations have monopolized themarkets and now control commodity prices due to lowering prices they pay andobtaining a profit.Although Africa hasthese riches as a continent, its people do not. The majority of the populationin Africa live in abject poverty. The governments of these people do notprovide standard living essentials including clean drinking water, electricity,medical care, education, and even basic infrastructure. Infant mortality ratein Africa is 120 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 10 in Europeancountries. The adult literacy is 45% versus a European adult literacy rate ofnearly 100%. Life expectancy is 40 years, which is roughly half of 75 years forEurope. The GDP per person, which is one of the most basic measurements ofstandard of living was $200 USD for Africa, compared to about $12,500 USD forEuropean countries.
Africans do not have the skills to manufacture their owntools and conveniently must depend on Western nations for tools, weapons, andportions of agriculture. These statistics truly capture Africa’s foreigndomination. And what are the contributing factors of this treatment by apeople’s government? Corruption and foreign exploitation. Corrupt leadersstrike deals with global corporations and foreign countries for US billions.
Wars and political violence are prominent in the corrupt areas of AfricaIt is undeniable that Africa’sposition poor is predicated on its history of colonization and its currentexploitation. Africa is still being exploited today to extract abundant naturalresources and labor at the expense of the African population, and to show Westerninternational control.