Argue for the view that underdevelopment In sub-Sahara Africa today Is due primarily to the legacy of colonialism. Justify your argument using two countries as primary examples. The Impact of the colonial powers Is often Identified as the primary explanation for underdevelopment in today’s Sub-Sahara Africa. Although the colonial period is often seen as short, the long term effects have had a deep impact upon the Infrastructure of the continent with subsequent failure of numerous governments.
Paul Brooch, in his book Economics and World history mentions how this legacy of economic underdevelopment has “historical roots going back to European colonization. ” 1 Additional matters that have also been seen to have an Impact vary from economic, political and social. It is important to understand that the reason why underdevelopment has been so prevalent is due to the knock on effect of colonialism and Its long lasting Impact, which Is still visible today In Sub-Sahara Africa. Although Africa did not evolve and develop on its own, the presence of the colonial powers was important.
With the presence of large empires much like the British Empire, which at Its peak covered one quarter of the world, It Is easy to map the spread of colonialism. With the conquest of Africa by the colonial powers, it was to be devolved into colonies. This in a sense was one of the first signs of globalization becoming Integrated Into Africa. Over a decade onward, this Is not necessarily reflected as a good thing. The majority of Sub-Sahara African nations exist outside the global market and as former colonies of the western industrial nations, have remained subsistent economies, Although rich In resources, they possess little or no capital.
The colonial powers used colonialism to exploit the raw materials for export and gain. This is why today the majority of Sub-Sahara nations lack the most basic of physical and social Infrastructure. Often little Investment was made by colonial powers to benefit the natives. Take the example of the Portuguese, over a three hundred year span imperialism in Guiana-Bissau left only fourteen universities, an illiteracy rate of ninety seven per cent and only two hundred and sixty five miles of paved road. The economic history of Africa since widespread independence in 1960 has fallen short of expectation, dramatically.
It is clear to see that, although in some states great effort had been made to ‘Jump start’ the economy; In general the vast majority of African states were better off during the early stages of disconsolation than they were at the turn of the millennium. The data taken from figure 1. 2, in the World Banks report on, “The Challenges of African Growth” commissioned In 2007 compares the growth of nations per capita in contrast to 1960. Each nation’s progress is compared from 1960 to 2004. Corruption is incredibly prevalent in the Sub-Sahara region; this can be tied o the colonial powers.
The colonial powers did not Just only exploit the natural resources of their colonies, by putting complex laws and taxes in place through the medium of local government the colonial powers were able to dominate the local work force to their advantage. In effect, the taxes made it almost impossible to be disfranchised from the colonial powers. The colonial controlled industry, which includes Jobs like mining and farming, was not paid well and there were little benefits. This conduct installed by the colonial powers left one to think that the high bevel of exploitation is still present today.
Only last week the I-J announced it would be cutting its aid to Uganda admits a corruption scandal, in 2012 the British government is set to have spent around EYE million on aid in Uganda. It is reported that since Nigerian independence in 1960, more that ‘$380’5 billion dollars has either been stolen or wasted by the Nigerian government. The country is regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt by graft watchdog, ‘Transparency international’6 . Transparency International currently rank Nigeria at 143 out of 183 nations with a core of 2. Out of teen. The score out of ten fits on a scale of one to ten, the lower the score the higher the level of corruption. Nigeria is plagued by corruption so endemic and monumental it is hard to separate if from state policy. This has a knock on effect as the heads of state are more focused upon personal gain than the state of the nation. Although there are exceptions; Botswana, a nation of two millions boast an impressive GAP of $14. 8610 Billion. Although if you were to compare it to Insignia’s GAP, which was $235. Line 2011, it appears much smaller but then again an additional 16012 million people live in Nigeria. Botswana has managed to establish a developed economy with a healthy growth rate. In an interview with Sir Quest Massive, the Ex-President of Botswana he states that the reason for Botswana healthy growth is, “it was a question of resources becoming available, but the management of those resources”13. The minerals that were available to the nation were key but it was down to the management of this resource that Botswana has differed from nations like Nigeria.
In May of this year crude oil production in Nigeria was set to hit 2. 1 million barrels a day. As of the 16th of November of this year, according to Bloomberg the price of a barrel is at $89. 2715. Yet when Nigeria was given independence, the British left a federal system in place with a selected leader. It was not long before he was overthrown and in 1999 was the first time that Nigeria was to conduct a democratic election. This system has allowed Nigeria to fail, the 2011 Index of Failed States places Nigeria at 16th out of 177 countries, alongside Somali and
Zanzibar. The simple lack of government due to poor foundations left by the British has allowed one of the richest Oil nations in the world to also be one of the poorest. On the other hand, the infrastructure left by the British due to the strong relationship between the nations is thought to be the key to why Botswana has been such a success. The British Botswana was left with a strong local government and a strong foundation of education which has not only allowed the economy of Botswana to thrive, but also has established a free and fair democracy with little corruption.
Now in the 21st century, the force of globalization has led to a surge of neo- colonialism in Sub-Sahara Africa. Neo-colonialism is the process in which developed nations control developing states through a process of economic domination, instead of invading like the colonial powers. With the rise of India and China, and the decline to America we nave seen especially wit the Chinese. Only yesterday d announced the sale of a 20% stake in Nigerian oil to a Chinese accompany. This is the most recent case in point of Chinese interests buying up commodities and evolving mineral sources in Africa another example of neo-colonialism at work.
China is not the only other emerging economy of the fore front of neo-colonialism. India, another nation that is part of the BRICE alliance has also had native companies investing heavily in Sub-Sahara Africa. “Indian farming companies have bought hundreds of thousands of hectares in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Monogamous”18. This is so the land can be farmed and product exported back to India. It is thought that more than eighty different Indian companies have invested El . Billion in landed.
With India set to have one of the strongest Gaps by 2050, this rush to grab land in the poorest parts of Africa is very reflective of what happened through colonialism and I think that neo-colonialism can be seen to be a force to promote underdevelopment once again in Africa. It must be taken into account that it would be delusional to simply focus on corruption, colonialism and neo-colonialism being the main issue of underdevelopment in Sub-Sahara Africa. There are many other attributing factors. Trade has often been hard to cultivate economic stability ND development, for Africa agriculture is its universal top export.
Although when exporting outside of the continent, especially in the case of the west traders are hit by high exporting embargos which often make it very hard for the exporter to gain from the transaction, whilst the other party does. Religion has played a huge role in the shaping of politics and conflict within the region. The borders laid out by the imperial powers rarely matched existing pre-colonial political, social or economic division. Thus meaning today you see a vast mix of ethnicity that simply clash. This was one of the causes of infamous, 1994 Rwanda genocide.
More recently in July of 2011 the world witnessed the creation of South Sudan. This followed after decades of conflict between the North and South, in which an estimated one and a half million people are thought to have eddied. Sudan previously had been split into different ethnic groups; the north had a majority of Muslim and the south hand no dominant group Just a mixture of many. This led to a somewhat explosive situation resulting to years of civil dispute which not only led to death of many but mass destruction, although South Sudan is rich In oil, it is a weak and undeveloped state.
In conclusion, from analyzing the sources and evidence available relating to Sub-Sahara Africa and the effect of colonialism, it is clear to see that even today the inheritance of colonialism is a major factor of underdevelopment in the region. The legacy of the colonial powers means the region still has a lot of ground to make up over the coming. But the resources are available for this, but will they be a help or hindrance in the presence of external pressure. Only time will tell. Words: 1811