Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Today, Africa is behind in technological development and usage. All of this comes from the basis set by the imperialistic colonialism. Nothing was done to give the people a sense of being Africa or to lead Africa. They were not prepared to develop Africa which should have been the responsibility of the colonist. The African people were left unprepared for their freedom. In a sense, they found another form of slavery that could be argued to have been worse than anything they had experienced before.
This led to economic problems that pester much of Africa in the twenty-first century. Europe pulled out, and Africa had to have an economy immediately. What Africa found was something they could not quite get a handle on. They found themselves in debt. It was not anything they brought upon themselves. This road to deep debt began with the “adverse terms of trade established in the colonial period.” Africa was the source of products. Commodities where harvested, dug up, and exploited not to be used in Africa. They were taken out of the land and used abroad. Africa had no basis to use their resources. They only knew how to extract them and send them over the waters. These resources were obtained cheaply so that Europe could sell at a high profit. Africa had no basis for a manufacturing economy or to be self-sustained in order to compete on that global stage as European colonialism “made African trade to be mainly export/import oriented.” Add to that the curse of freedom, and Africa was doomed.
Freedom can be dangerous when it is enjoyed too much. For Africa, this came in the form of “lavish and inappropriate spending” by the new governments who found themselves with gold and other resources sought after. Spending rose dramatically. The nations that would begin to find a firm footing were the ones who began to curtail the excessive spending and look to become self-sufficient instead of looking to Europe and beyond for their needs. They began to develop their own products, but it came along too long after independence.
Africa was technologically behind Europe when the first sailors set foot onto the land and discovered value that even Rome and Greece did not see in this vast land. They found labor resources, diamonds, gold, rubber, and ivory that would change the course of European economic history. What Europe did not realize was that it was a land of people with considerable potential. Africa was seen as a means to obtain wealth and status. In the end, Europe did more harm than good when it colonized the continent and disrupted various cultures that were advancing and had many attributes to give the world. Instead, Africa found itself struggling to find itself and keep its head above water once they got their own lives back. Problems never ceased once Europe began to meddle and control the dark continent.
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