Why is there poverty in Africa?
This question has been much discussed; in the realms of politics, academics, and the mainstream media. Poverty in itself has so many contests, ranging from both individual and collective perspectives. Questions on poverty have variations and several factors which attract diverse answers; exploitations, greed, slavery, and colonialism. In Africa, poverty has been dealt with more from subjective matters than from objective truth. Poverty is complicated both in definitions and experience. In society, individuals can be poor due to factors not adhering to how the people define poverty. If the individuals, in the colonies of their colonial masters were poor because they had no independence; then we can conclude that they are or were poor due to colonialism. But if, they are still poor even after independence, yet we still say they are because of colonial exploitation; then we can conclude that there are no reasons for their poverty at all since no concrete justification is made for their poverty.
One could ask; were riches exploited for Africans to be poor or they were poor just because they had colonial masters? Can we then conclude that Africa is poor because of colonialism? What about Ethiopia and Liberia who weren’t colonized? Are they rich because they weren’t colonies? Tibet and Nepal too weren’t colonies yet are ranked among the world’s poorest countries. If colonialism cannot justify the poverty in Africa as some intellectuals claim, then why is Africa poor? We can also compare the state of poverty in Africa to the state of the rich in the Western world. Countries like the United States, New Zealand, and Australia were once colonies; yet are still ranked among the world’s richest countries. China, as of the 1960s and 1970s were still struggling for sovereignty together with Hong Kong who had theirs in 1997 is among the richest countries in the World. India was once colonized by Britain but now attracts superpower nations today.
How then can anti-colonialists make a case with regards to colonial exploitations and poverty in Africa? Even after independence, (which was vehemently believed to be the blueprint of liberty and prosperity) no African country was able to boast of peace and stability. History has it clear that lives lived under the colonial masters by far were better than the lives lived under their own leaders. Bloodbath through wars and brutalities after independence are still minor subjects in the mainstream discussions of African freedom and solidarity.
What then is poverty?
This question still pushes us to ask the very first question: “Why is poverty in Africa”. The reason being that in Africa, it is better to ask the question: “why poverty in Africa” than to ask: “what is poverty” Our actions and attitude define poverty than the definition of poverty itself.
In Africa, individuals lack the institutions to exhibit and showcase their talents. Collectively there are no proper human rights protection mechanisms. Hence, African societies are always weak in both mental and psychological. Illusions about poverty are a plaque to African progress. Even, the very few who are rich cannot strategize any system in liberating few individuals who have something to prove. Africans are able to utilize their talents and potentials only when they are in abroad. In the Western world, human rights protections are enormous, which descends as far to their animals.
Must Africa be rich because it has a greater number of natural resources? Or Europe must be poor because she has fewer resources? If the occupants, on the richer land in the world are the poorest among the occupants on the resource-poor lands; can we say people get richer due to the rich endowment of natural resources? Or do people get poorer due to resource-poor lands? On the scale of natural resources, DR. Congo is richer than Japan, yet by far individuals living in Japan enjoy greater prosperity than the individuals living in DR. Congo. And the reasons aren’t obscure. One can make a case for exploitation, slavery, and Neo-colonialism. Of course, arguments of such will make sense. However, the issues turn back to the question; of why African leaders fought for independence in the first place. Needless to say; they didn’t know that the attainment of independence wasn’t the blueprint of freedom and prosperity.
What at all guarantees wealth of a nation? As we know, it isn’t natural resources. If so, South America and Africa and the people within could have been the richest in the world. Britain is richer than Venezuela, and Malaysia too is richer than Ghana. Answers to the questions as to why this is happening are hypocritically discussed in the mainstream media in Africa and their diasporas. The delusions of wealth in the minds of Africans are far greater than we think. Sometimes, they claim to be rich because they have enormous portions of natural resources. And they argue with feeble reasons, that they must be rich just because others have gotten richer through exploitations of their minerals. They further worsen the argument by pointing to the imperial capitalism of their colonial masters. None of these discussions has ever carried true substance.
Whether pre-colonial era or post-colonial era; in simple analogy, Africans think they are poor just because others are rich. Hence, those who are rich are so because they rendered them poor. And that is a total delusion of wealth. In articles and essays, the argument seems fuzzy. People from higher education and scholarly backgrounds analyze with their concrete facts, proving with whatever findings that Education, Civilization, Architecture, and other disciplines in the Western worlds were stolen from Africa. These are the fundamental premises to their findings, and through such naiveness that they fetch solutions to their problems. Universities think tanks, and higher institutions all hold on to this delusion. The notion has always been “we are poor because they are rich”
The methods of teaching, so far in Africa have always been about “the oppressor and the oppressed”. The youth and the whole embodiment of African societies including diasporas feel oppressed. They think and meditate on how Whites are flourishing through their exploited minerals and knowledge. As a result, children in Africa grow in resentment, rage, anxiety, and the spirit of retaliation.
The socialist-cloned societies are also one of the plaques igniting these delusions of wealth. It gives more reasons why everything is politicized in Africa. The arrays of socialism are deep, government controls everything, and the liberty of the people by far is taken away. In the territories of gold, diamond, silver, and crude oil; people still sing the chorus of poverty. To them, it is forbidden for people like Germany or Belgium to be rich because they have fewer natural resources. Even in the hands of their own leaders they still blame colonial and imperial masters for their current ruins. Would there be prosperity, peace, and freedom, had it not been colonialism? Why is Ethiopia still in ruins and Liberia still struggling? Is the United States richer than Belgium because she exploited more from colonies? Who had richer colonies in Africa, Belgium, or the United States? Why is China richer today? Did she colonize any African country?
A country is rich not because she had been exploited by colonies, and a country is poor not because she has been exploited by colonial masters. If leaders in countries like Liberia, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and others can’t practice common human rights protection; how can their natural resources be useful to their living? If the people are not in a good state to toil the land to make use of it, how then do we expect them to prosper? Governments are not ready to create institutions to kindle human resources how can individuals equip themselves? Before the colonial era, Africans didn’t know the use of gold and silver, they only used them to aggrandize their Kings and Queens. Today, they are still not making good use of it. One must think about it before making anti-colonial comments.
China hasn’t colonized any African country and yet she still obtains most of her riches in Africa. It has been more than seven decades and all that is happening under the auspices of African leaders are free and fair elections. Methods used by France in putting African colonies in debt are the same methods used by China in putting some African countries into the abyss of debt. The African Union with aimless and visionless policies can’t realize past mistakes and correct them. China hasn’t deployed new forms and strategies in ripping off Africa yet they are doing it with success and progress. If Africans lament, they are poor because Europeans looted and exploited them, then the next generation must worry because they would have China in addition to blaming.
Africans have never tried anything new. Their societies are demoralized with ignorance, depressions, diseases, and anguish. Their societies are full of homicides, anxiety, rage and resentment with senseless upheaval of religious worships. They have just volunteered to be poor. However, such affluence cannot give complete answers to why some societies are richer than others. Countries that have free-market style of economy like the U.S as compared to countries with extensive State intervention and planning like Africa should give a negative thought about socialism. The Socialists States, irrespective of their resources turn to be poor with greater human rights abuses. There is no other definition or explanation given to what is going in Cuba, Venezuela, and Africa apart from this.