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15.07.2019 Feature Article

The Long Walk Towards Self-Sufficiency In Africa

Access to clean drinking water in many places throughout Africa is still a challenge
Access to clean drinking water in many places throughout Africa is still a challenge

Although often referring to an alleged civilizing mission with respect to the relatively backward populations of sub-Saharan Africa, European colonial powers dedicated themselves above all to the exploitation of the continent's natural resources.

Only in some cases, the European presence in Africa led to the effective development of the occupied regions, for example through the construction of infrastructures.

In the places where communities of European origin was established, for example in South Africa, the local population was generally discriminated politically and economically.

The African colonies were distinguished in territories that the Europeans hoped to use as a source of raw materials and a commercial outlet for their products. Exploitation colonies such as the Gold Coast, the Free State of Congo, Nigeria, and other colonies encouraged European emigration.

The borders were traced in an arbitrary way and traditionally enemy populations were forced to cohabit while others, united by the same language and by the same story, were divided. This would have created serious problems for African states even after their decolonization.

The ideologies that inspired the colonial policies of the European powers were different. France proposed the assimilationist model in which Africans could obtain the same rights as the French if they acquired the culture and values ​​of the French nation.

In practice, however, the possibilities for Africans to really participate in the administration and public affairs on an equal footing with whites were actually very limited. France actually met some resistance, the one embodied by the well-known figure of Lalla Fadhma n'Soumer in Algeria.

We can, therefore, deduce that colonialism has blocked the natural development of African societies but decolonization also has its immense faults.

The first independent governments have also succumbed to despotism and rampant corruption, aggravating the situation and preventing the use of resources, often huge, which could have given a strong boost to economic development, even if African economies have suffered a strong acceleration from the 50 years onwards.

The industrial reconstruction in Europe, the emerging Asian economies, the new American industrial development had an insatiable hunger for raw materials, which the continent could offer at low cost.

Thus; an economy that produced new wealth, an industrial and agricultural development that gave new jobs, but rather mining exploitation without an immediate return on the growth of the colonies.

With the advent of independence, there was hope that the new African nations could soon reach self-sufficiency. This has not happened, on the contrary, we have seen precisely the opposite. Without a modern and efficient industrial park, with agriculture mostly devoted to covering local needs, with unprecedented population growth, African economies are in fact downgraded.

African countries have become heavily in debt, encouraged by financial institutions controlled by the United Nation. The funds were not invested for development or did not yield the expected results.

By the early 1990s, it was clear that African countries were unable to repay debts and that debt service was blocking the growth of various countries. In recent years, various African countries have seen themselves repaying a debt to the World Bank and to some Western countries.

Three-fifths of the farmers are engaged in family crops, with limited productions slightly higher than the family's need. This type of agriculture is based on outdated and ineffective techniques and does not provide capital for reinvestment.

The time is approaching when the living condition in Africa will be extremely difficult than the current situation.

The fact that the African continent lacks the knowledge to utilize its own resource, China's taken over the continent and the heavy depending on African resources by Western Europe, the prospects on the black continent is very bleak and if care is not taken, Africa may face the threat of hunger because of gradual population explosion,

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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