In the late 1400’swealth-hungry traders arrived from all over Europe to start their colonialpractices in Africa. They traveled through, focusing on coastal regions to setup trading posts. Through their travels, traders raided towns and initiatedslavery.
A profusion of starvation and disease hit Africa during this time, asa result. European missionaries infiltrated Africa in hope of instillingEuropean customs and ideologies and converting them to Christianity, which inturn destroyed African customs and traditions. European traders also looked toexploit Africa’s abundant raw materials. U.S.
and European colonizing leaders debatedhow to split up the continent, without consent from African natives. Thisproduced increased African inter-ethnic-group tension and aggression, whichpaved the path for future socio-political and cultural conflicts in Africancountries. By the late 1800’s, European culture was assimilated by the Africanpopulation. Europeans had split up most of the continental territory by the late1880s and between 1884 and 1885, European representatives created regulationsfor annexing territory as a method to stop competition for African colonies.
The colonial government and the colonial economy were two factions of Europeanpolicy in Africa. They controlled trade and natural resources in Africa and hadsent so many European products to the continent that native African industriescould not compete and inevitably failed. Each region specialized in a differentcash crop, which destroyed traditional African forms of agriculture. Africanswere also taxed by some colonial governments and were forced to dispose oftheir land and work on farms or mines for wages in order to pay these taxes. 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,copper, platinum, uranium, tin, diamonds, timber, agricultural exports, land,and human capital. Africa has been a crucial source of raw materials and humanlabor for Europe’s industrialization. Without it, Europe could not have madeits manufactured products for exports. Now the United States, China, Japan,Russia, India, Turkey, Israel, South Korea, and Brazil want a slice of Africa’sriches.
They all come to the continent with the same supported corporations, worldorganizations, foreign aid, loans, diplomacy, and military intervention to getwhat they want. International organizations such as the International MonetaryFund, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and theInternational Development Association are all using “multilateral aid”, just aneo-colonialist trap. These entities “have the habit of forcing potentialborrowers to submit to various offensive conditions, such as providinginformation about their economies, submitting their policy and plans to reviewby the World Bank, and accepting agency supervision of their use of loans”(Nkrumah, 1965).
In February 2007, theUnited States decided they wanted “in” on African resources. President GeorgeW. Bush created the United States African Command (AFRICOM), whose militaryactivities were later increased by President Obama.
Africa is a gold-mine fornatural resources that China is already starting to exploit, and the U.S. wantsto benefit as well. Through this militarized form of U.S. imperialism, theUnited States wants to get unrestricted access to natural resources, suppressAfrican countries by promising assistance with infrastructure, and increasemilitary 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 ownthe oil, it needs to control all of it and everywhere. The bottom line is thatneo-colonialism produces tremendous amounts of profit, just as colonialism didprior. Western nations have monopolized the markets and now control commodityprices due to lowering prices they pay and obtaining 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.