African continent is viewed as a poverty stricken continent, with bad leaders that depend on the outside world for their development. Watch through the media organizations, images and stories of Africa have resulted to lots of insults as well as the continent being looked at as a hopeless and helpless continent.But what the world should remember, is that African Underdevelopment is the creation of Western Development. In other words, without Africa, industrialized nations of the world wouldn’t have industrialized.The development of the West, were achieved through many phases of exploitations of Africa’s raw materials and human resources.
A. Pre-colonial Period
B. Colonial Period and
C. Post-colonial Period
The Pre-colonial Period.
Before the trans-atlantic slave trade, Africa had its own communal mode of productions, buying and selling of goods.Meanwhile in Europe, due to change in political economy from feudalism to agricultural capitalism, it meant that european countries needed materials as well as labourers to work on lands captured during european expeditions.Hence, the beginning of trans-atlantic slave trade from 1519-1865 which led to the capture and enslavement of about 12 million able-bodied men and women shipped from Africa to the Americas, West Indies and other places. Out of the 12 million only about 10 million survived the inhumane journey and punishments dealt on them.These about 10million survivals were forced to work in fields, cotton plantations, sugar cane plantations, homes and other places owned by their slave masters. Profits and taxes from labour were sent to develop british and american cities.
Many years down the line, in 18th century Britain, due to the independence of America and competition between France and Britain to claim ownership of Canada, in addition to the soil exhaustion in Britain, the change from agricultural capitalism to industrial capitalism. The Slave Trade System became non-profitable for Britain, So Britain waged a war for the abolition of slave trade system. Its opposition against slave trade was also against trade barriers which restricted countries to have trade relation with other countries.
The Colonial Period.
The gains from Agricultural capitalism only lasted till 1870s. Then Europe became bankrupt due to the rapid change from Agro-economy to industrial economy, including the absence of raw materials to drive this new form of economy. The european countries saw Africa as a land with vast natural resources. So in 1884-1885, they had a meeting in Berlin which brought about the direct imperialism and colonialism of African states during the scramble for Africa.(https://africhistory.com/africa-for-dinner/ )It paved way for Europe to exploit African continent once again, using the raw materials ( Cocoa, Crude, Gold, diamonds, Minerals) from Africa to further develop Europe while africans were left with nothing but abuse. The colonists concentrated on raw materials and crops that were needed in Europe and ignored other forms of cash crops. Lands with raw materials like golds, diamonds as well as fertile lands were forcefully taken from Africans. They Introduced printed forms of transection from europe and annihilated African forms of using Gold dust, Gold dinar, Cowries, Copper, Tin etc. Finished products from raw materials were brought to Africa for consumption, industries were localized in europe while the raw materials came from Africa.
The Post-colonial Period.
The discontinuation of colonialism freed Africa politically but not economically. After WW II, in the name of independence and free trade by the International economic and political system, it pulled together all unequal nations to compete against each other in the open market. However, the structures for continues exploitation of Africa were still intact, while they pretend that the market was fair to every nation. The vacuum of leadership made the nationalists, who were proud independent fighters to become leaders of the independent nations.But their greed, coupled with the support of the colonists made them to turn into dictators and military rulers. Furthermore, as long as they continue to play by the books of the colonist and support their interest, the europeans never cared if the impoverishment of the continent leads to the starvation or wars within Africa. So while Africa was left to crumble europe develops off the back of Africa.
Even in this contemporary period, many of the Francophone African Countries still receive their printed legal tender from france. Ethnic and religious clashes are resolved in europe not in Africa. While the natural resources are still in abundant in Africa, the industries or technology for the finish products are not in AfricaSo, these three periods combined made Africa to still remain underdeveloped infrastructurally, economically and politically.Imagine if there were no slave trades, no imperialism, colonialism in Africa. Imagine if Africa was given a fair playing ground to carry her agendas. Do you think Africa would be developed right now.
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