Blame 1884 and 1885, European representatives created codes for

Blame colonialism for Africa’s lack of development.


Africa’s lack of
development can be attributed to its history of colonialism and imperialism.

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In the late 1400’s
wealth-hungry traders arrived from all over Europe – Belgium, France, Germany,
Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom – and started their colonial
practices. They set up trading posts in Africa, with a special interest in
coastal regions. European traders raided towns and instigated slavery. A
profusion of disease and starvation hit Africa during the initiation of its
colonization. European traders also looked to exploit Africa’s abundant raw
materials. European missionaries infiltrated Africa to convert the locals to
Christianity and hoped to instill European customs and ideologies, which in
turn destroyed African traditions and religion. U.S. and European colonizing
leaders 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 in
African countries. By the late 1800’s, European culture was assimilated by the
African population. Europeans had split up most of the continental territory by
the late 1880s and between 1884 and 1885, European representatives created
codes for annexing territory as a method to stop competition for African
colonies. The colonial government and the colonial economy were two factions of
European policy in Africa. They controlled trade and natural resources in
Africa and had sent so many European-made commodities to the continent that
native African industries could not compete and therefore failed. Each region
specialized in a different cash crop, which destroyed traditional African forms
of agriculture. Africans were also taxed by some colonial governments and were
forced to dispose of their land and work for wages on European farms and in
mines to pay them.

Exploitation of Africa is still alive today, however instead of
colonialism 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 and
human labor for Europe’s industrialization, without it, Europe could not have
made its manufactured products for exports. Now the United States, China,
Japan, Russia, India, Turkey, Israel, South Korea, and Brazil want a slice of
Africa’s riches. They all come to the continent with the same supported
corporations, 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 World
Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the International Development
Association are all using “multilateral aid”, just a neo-colonialist trap. These
entities “have the habit of forcing potential borrowers to submit to various
offensive conditions, such as providing information about their economies,
submitting their policy and plans to review by the World Bank, and accepting
agency supervision of their use of loans.” (Nkrumah, 1965).

In February 2007, the
United States decided they wanted “in” on African resources. President George
W. Bush took an interest in Africa after the United States had ignored the
continent for a time. The President had created the United States African
Command (AFRICOM), whose military activities were later increased by President
Obama. Africa is a gold-mine for natural resources that China is already
starting to exploit and the U.S. wants to benefit as well. Through this militarized
form of U.S. imperialism, the United States wants to get unrestrained access to
natural resources, suppress African countries by promising assistance with
infrastructure, and increase military control by increasing the number of
military outposts. In a nutshell, the United States’ AFRICOM program’s mission
is stated to “advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security,
stability, and prosperity” – but for whom? The underlying fact is that in order
for the United States to own the oil, it needs to control all of it and
everywhere. The bottom line is that neo-colonialism produces tremendous amounts
of profit, just as colonialism did prior. Western nations have monopolized the
markets and now control commodity prices due to lowering prices they pay and
obtaining a profit.

Although Africa has
these riches as a continent, its people do not. The majority of the population
in Africa live in abject poverty. The governments of these people do not
provide standard living essentials including clean drinking water, electricity,
medical care, education, and even basic infrastructure. Infant mortality rate
in Africa is 120 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 10 in European
countries. The adult literacy is 45% versus a European adult literacy rate of
nearly 100%. Life expectancy is 40 years, which is roughly half of 75 years for
Europe. The GDP per person, which is one of the most basic measurements of
standard of living was $200 USD for Africa, compared to about $12,500 USD for
European countries. Africans do not have the skills to manufacture their own
tools and conveniently must depend on Western nations for tools, weapons, and
portions of agriculture. These statistics truly capture Africa’s foreign
domination. And what are the contributing factors of this treatment by a
people’s government? Corruption and foreign exploitation. Corrupt leaders
strike deals with global corporations and foreign countries for US billions.
Wars and political violence are prominent in the corrupt areas of Africa

It is undeniable that Africa’s
position poor is predicated on its history of colonization and its current
exploitation. Africa is still being exploited today to extract abundant natural
resources and labor at the expense of the African population, and to show Western
international control.