Monday, April 10, 2017

The consequences of colonialism

Today, natural resources from the entire continent of Africa create less revenue for African nations than for the Western multinationals extracting them. For example, Zambia is among the poorest countries in the world, and the Swiss company Glencore rakes in billions from copper mining inside the country. Even the International Monetary Fund and World Bank played a role in advising Zambia to implement policies that would benefit Glencore at Zambia's own expense. This tradition of Western powers exploiting African resources is long-established; the fact that it still happens today is clear evidence that colonialism is the root of modern-day socioeconomic issues across the entire continent.

Africa had a rich history of culture and prosperity. Civilizations based on commerce existed well before Europeans took over. The ancient Egyptians were pioneers in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. The Kingdom of Sheba was considered the first true African indigenous state. It was not established by foreign conquerors and was said to be the site of the enigmatic Ark of the Covenant. In present-day Mali, one of the wealthiest African empires thrived for more than 800 years. Valuable goods like gold and salt were mined and traded with merchants who hailed from faraway places including China and India. Although slavery was a product of intertribal warfare and existed before European settlers invaded, colonizers took an existing practice that was already immoral and dehumanizing and amplified it on a global scale to extract profit for themselves. The entire continent of Africa was drained of both its natural resources and its people.

Colonization didn't give countries in Africa a chance to progress on their own. Instead, colonizers intruded on their land and exploited the naturally abundant wealth in Africa. In essence, colonization stunted the growth of countries that were controlled, and now that nations have gained their independence, it is going to take time for them to catch up with the Western world. This is a travesty that cannot be overlooked. 

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