Ever since imperialists set foot in Africa, traditional African ways of handling issues, their way of thought and beliefs have been affected in one way or the other. Slave trade, conquests, colonization, European cultural influences and lately the surge in consumerism have all impacted on the African society and transformed it for decades. Colonialists used the facade of a lack of African history so as to introduce their innovations and technologies into the colonies. Colonization, however, got in the way for Africa to naturally grow its internal processes for state formation and development. There is no consensus on this matter, however, as researchers and scholars alike take different stands; some advocating that colonialism brought positive impacts to Africa while on the other hand others are stating that Africa can only make progress through the input of Africans themselves and that foreign assistance might impede this progress. In this regard, this proposal will focus on exploring the effects of colonialism on three African states, two of which were under European domination and the other was independent.
In order to understand the economic challenges facing African nations, it is important to understand their history and how the major European colonizers (France and Britain) influenced their colonies. It will attempt to answer the following questions: what was the contribution of European colonialists in the development of its African colonies? Did these colonial powers transfer their systems, beliefs, institutions and systems into their colonies? What were the development rates of the different colonies as compared to independent states?
Western values found their way into the colonies-exploitation of resources, consumerism, and materialism. It was at this time that Western Enlightenment began taking shape in Europe, which led to the growth of such values as democracy, religious freedom, and independent judiciary. Checks and balances were then established to safeguard against abuse of power and environmental degradation. Boundaries were drawn separating different ethnic communities, sparking ethnic conflicts and violence. After the end of colonialism, Africa started developing on its own, albeit in European terms. As agents of change, colonialists came up with export systems, improved infrastructure and education system aimed at making the colonialist venture successful. Commercialization of activities placed money value in different activities that had been previously done on a social basis. Before the advent of colonialism, Africans were producing for their own consumption and for barter trade where goods were exchanged for other goods. Western colonialists brought about the concept of private land ownership and plantation farming. Plantation farming which required huge tracts of land meant that African shad to be displaced to pave the way for farming.
Western nations relied on African states for resources for developing their economies. Even after the end of colonialism, there seem to be traces of western influence on independent African states. This comes in the form of stringent terms and conditions when these colonial powers lend to their former colonies. They dictate terms on how their former colonies should use the funds, which projects should be undertaken and who should be responsible for overseeing the projects. Such demands can be understandable given the state of wanton corruption by some of these African states, though it can be manipulated to induce western policies and influence on African states. They use funding as a way of pulling the strings behind the scenes and control how African states should be run, even when they are independent.
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