Neocolonialism: Exploitation of Africa

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Neocolonialism: Exploitation of Africa

Throughout the history of man, Africa has played an important part in the development of the world, through political, economic and social means. Recently, Africa and its people have been used more as a tool for other parts of the world for the development of their industries and economies. The recent trajectory of events has begun a period of Neocolonialism in Africa, in which the outside world has been scrutinized by Africans as exploiters of their land, resources and human rights. To access whether the outside world is truly at fault for exploiting Africa during this time, by unethical treatment of the people of Africa, research into specific case studies and outlying factors need be reviewed.

To mention first, the idea that the outside world has never been able to exploit Africa at any point in history cannot be defended. During the age of Imperialism, European states began to colonize Africa, in the “scramble for Africa”. All of Africa was subjected to colonization with exception of Ethiopia and Liberia. Africa was divided into colonies during the Congress of Vienna in 1819, between the major European powers. The decision of the European states went against the Peace of Westphalia which declared that no state could not invade or conquer another sovereign nation without legitimate reasoning1. What was reasoning for the European states during this time? The reasoning was that of racism and the belief that the white man was superior to the any other race. This reasoning allowed the Europeans to justify their colonization in Africa and the rest of the world.

After the Second World War, movements throughout Africa for independence began to explode. Following the war, these movements occurred in every country and the first African country to be liberated was Libya on December 24, 1951. Independence movements around the continent still continue today with South Sudan becoming acknowledged by the international community as a sovereign country. However, the argument is being made that Africa is truly not free from its shackles from the former Imperial powers and Robert Young states that “although the formerly colonized territories gradually had their political sovereignty returned to them, they nevertheless remained subject to the effective control of the major world powers, which constituted the same group as the former imperial powers (Young 45). The term “neocolonialism” was coined by the first Ghanaian president and pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah2. Neocolonialism is defined as the use of capitalism, globalization and cultural forces used by the former Imperial powers to gain economic and political control of specifically Africa but as well as other parts of the world2. Kwame Nkrumah argues “the essence of neocolonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus political policy is directed from outside” (Young 46). This argument is shared by fellow experts of neocolonialism, and that Africa has still is being subjected to interference of the outside world. The United States in addition, is considered as one of the newest members of this group of outsiders that is exploiting Africa for its resources. Kwame Nkrumah gained popularity following the Second World War, due to his philosophy and work for African independence. He was a major vocal leader in the movement for Ghanaian independence and became the first President of Ghana after its liberation. In addition, to arguing for African independence, Nkrumah wanted to create a united African coalition, similar to the European Union predecessor, the European Coal and Steel Community2. However the plan failed due to different allegiances to the two sides of the Cold War. There has been a lot of talk of the Neocolonialist and what they have done, but there has been little to no mention...