The Effects of African Colonialism

Essay by monsieurmarcUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2006

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More than three decades after the majority of the African nations declared their independence, there remains, still, no consensus on the legacy of colonialism. With most of Africa still struggling to stand on its own, the rattle of debate continues as to what exactly the effects of colonialism were on Africa. Colonialism had torn apart formerly neighborly kingdoms, yet it had also created relationships betweens tribes which had not previously existed. It had introduced Africa to the industrial age, but it exploited Africa's resources for European countries' profit. [Formal medicine and education was established, but only to the elite few] Those who contend that colonialism made no positive impact share the simple-minded vision of those who claim that presence of Europeans completely saved Africa. While the murky waters of good and evil, right and wrong, blanket Africa's colonial past, the imposition of the foreign rule and its effects on the economical and political futures of her inhabitants far outweigh the positive aspects brought about through colonialism.

One casualty of colonialism in Africa did not surface until after the African countries declared their independence: self-sustainability. Although politically independent, African countries were not financially capable of taking on the demands of running a country, forcing them to ask for help in the form of military, money (loans), technology, and markets for trade. However, like many countries which find themselves in this type position, the countries of Africa have had a very difficult time shedding off their international dependence. Today, Africa pays more money every year in loan interest payments to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group (IMF/WB) than it receives loans from them, often depriving the inhabitants of those countries from obtaining the necessities of life. This financial dependency allows the IMF/WB to impose Structural Adjustment Plans upon the...