Economic Reasons for Imperialism

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Economic Reasons for Imperialism

By | October 2012
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THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN AFRICA
Faculty of Arts and Social sciences DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

UNIT CODE: SPO 102
COURSE TITLE: GOVT. AND POLITICS IN PRE-IND.AFRICA

TERM PAPER

Question
The motives behind imperialism and colonialism in Africa were purely economic. Discuss.

LECTURER: SHEM MWALW’A
STUDENT: NDIRANGU CHRIS MUGO
NUMBER: 1021356
DATE: 26/09/2012

INTRODUCTION

The reasons behind European imperialism in Africa were purely economic. Though there were other reasons, economic reasons can be argued to be core reasons that drove Europeans towards Africa. The economic reasons for European imperialism in Africa were: i. To acquire raw materials and cheap labour

ii. To create new markets
iii. To invest surplus capital
iv. To control foreign trade
v. To export industrial technology and transportation.

ACQUISITION OF RAW MATERIALS AND CHEAP LABOUR
Europeans, economically, were driven to Africa in the search of raw materials. Explorers, missionaries reported to their home governments on the vast raw materials available in Africa. It was also widely believed that Africa had vast quantities of raw materials. These raw materials were needed to feed the thriving industries in Europe which had grown rapidly as a result of industrialization. The factory system set up in Europe required raw materials in order to facilitate production. The raw materials gathered from Africa varied from one region to another. In West Africa the raw materials acquired were gold, cocoa, salt and spices. Among these gold was the most sought after due to its high commercial value. In East Africa the raw materials acquired were tea, coffee, soda ash and pyrethrum. In central Africa particularly in the Congo the Belgians benefited from the vast mineral deposits in the Congo. In South Africa the British South African Company (BSACo.) also benefited from the gold, Platinum and diamond...