Economic Impact of Colonialism in Africa

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Throughout the centuries Africa has been a continent of agricultural achievement and plenty. Agrarian practices and technologies developed in Africa were emulated by the world’s great civilizations and radiated to every corner of the world. It’s speculated by many naturalist (most notably Charles R. Darwin) that modern agriculture originated in Africa. Ancient cave paintings discovered by archeologist in Africa are certainly some of the earliest evidences of plant and animal domestication. Arabic and European historical accounts agree that African diets were varied and abundant from the beginning of recorded history up until the middle ages. The African continent is rich with natural and intellectual resources. Northern Africa has rich oil deposits that, once discovered, have made billions of dollars. Sub-Sahara Africa is rich with deposits of precious minerals such as gold and diamonds. Throughout much of history Africa has been thought of as a rich land. But the Africa we know today as being plagued by famine, poverty and war came about at a much later date. These tragic circumstances could have been partly caused by the massive economic dislocation caused by the slave trade and colonization of the 19th and 20th century (Hopkins 13). Colonial powers representing outside interest setup “extractive institutions” across Africa. These “Extractive Institutions” refer to those entities that exist for the sole purpose of pull resources out of a country. Now that many of the colonialist powers have left, these “European-style institutions” still exist well into the turn of the century.

The African people are skilled agriculturalists and quite possibly one of the results of the European incursions into the continent could have been t...

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...are men. Once educational institutions are in place problems with public health, investment decisions, religious radicalism, and violence will begin to fade away.

Works Cited

Artadi, Elsa V., and Xavier Sala-i-Martin. The Economic Tragedy of the XXth Century: Growth in Africa. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003. Print.

Assié-Lumumba, N'Dri, Ali A. Mazrui, and Martial Dembélé. "Critical Perspectives On Half A Century Of Post-Colonial Education For Development In Africa." African & Asian Studies 12.1/2 (2013): 1-12. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 May 2014.

Easterly, William Russell., and Ross Levine. Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard U, 1996. Print.

Hopkins, A. G. An Economic History of West Africa. New York: Columbia UP, 1973. Print.
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