Why go back five centuries to start an explanation of Africa's crisis in the late 1990s? Must every story of Africa's political and economic under-development begin with the contact with Europe? The reason for looking back is that the root of the crisis facing African societies is their failure to come to terms with the consequences of that contact. Start
15th century- Expanding European empires in the New World lacked one major resource -- a work force. In most cases the indigenous peoples had proved unreliable (most of them were dying from diseases brought over from Europe), and Europeans were unsuited to the climate and suffered under tropical diseases. Africans, on the other hand, were excellent workers: they often had experience of agriculture and keeping cattle, they were used to a tropical climate, resistant to tropical diseases, and they could be "worked very hard" on plantations or in mines. Economics was the driving force.
-Tinubu square, commercial centre of today's Lagos and home to Nigeria's Central Bank, is named after a major nineteenth century slave trader. The transatlantic slave trade and slavery were major elements in the emergence of capitalism in the West. the slave trade and slavery helped to make England the workshop of the world. Profit from slave-worked colonies and the slave trade were major sources of capital accumulation which helped finance the industrial revolution. Okh….To assess these consequences, we need to look at the three corners of the Atlantic’s “triangular trade”. First, what effects did the trade (and the loss of so many people) have on Africa itself? Second, how important was the trade to the development of the Americas? Third, what was the impact of the trade on Europe? Could Britain, the first “industrial nation”, have industrialised without the slave trade? The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa
Perhaps the hardest of these areas to address is the impact on Africa… The...