As a process of gaining control over a foreign land and its people, colonization is a uniquely European phenomenon. The technological development of European countries in the nineteenth century allowed it a substantial advantage over less advanced countries, including those on the African continent. This process became known as new imperialism and resulted in large territories being subjugated (Díaz-Andreu 3). Although numerous settlements in the region were established by European countries in 1652, the second half of the nineteenth century became the defining era in the colonization of the continent (Frankema et al. 232). Major European states raced to secure authority over small African countries to obtain more resources and new trade routes. The proposed paper aims to discuss European colonization of the African continent as an economically and politically motivated process. The suggested title of the work is as follows: the economic and political nuances of European colonization and external control in Africa.
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The proposed article’s central theme is the economic and political causes of the colonization of the African continent by seven European nations: Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. The paper will also consider how the rivalry among these countries and other states led to the colonization of territories in West Africa. It will be argued that economic necessity should be viewed as the main theoretical framework for the discussion of the colonization of the African continent (Wabah and N-Ue 33). In the late nineteenth century, a need for new markets emerged and led to Africa and Asia being explored (Gudova 493). It can be asserted that the process of colonization was inspired by the European states’ need to expand their economic and political influence through the exploitation of the African region. The drive for colonization can also be explained through the prism of technological superiority, social atavism, and civilizing mission theoretical frameworks (Wabah and N-Ue 34-35). However, it will be argued that these theories explain contributing causes of the colonization, with the economic and political necessity explaining the root cause.
For the proposed study’s purposes, a literature review will be employed as the primary research method. Several articles on the colonization of Africa will be analyzed to support the thesis of the paper. The study by Wabah and N-Ue will be utilized to examine the existing theoretical framework for discussing colonization. The review will include research papers and articles on each of the seven nations with colonies in Africa. For example, Belgium’s economic and political needs and pro-empire diplomatic action will be reviewed and examined (Poncelet 152; Schayegh 151). Similarly, the proposed research will include information on the 1885 Berlin Conference and the 1896 Berlin Trade Exhibition and their impact on colonization (Babatunde 55; Steinmetz 47). The economic development of African countries and various European nations in the nineteenth century will also be discussed. Specifically, mercantilist imperialism and the industrial revolution as a catalyst for colonization will be considered (Liu 687; Oluka et al. 6). Overall, studies examining the causes and the process of colonization from different perspectives will be utilized to support the thesis of the proposed research.
In summary, the colonization of the African continent by the seven European nations was a complex process. Several theoretical frameworks can be utilized to explain the motivations behind it, including technological superiority, social atavism, and civilizing mission concepts. However, economic and political necessity can be viewed as the primary cause for colonization of the continents, enabled by the industrial revolution in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Pre-colonial Economic Viewpoint on Colonial Footprint
The evaluation of economic bequests in African countries calls for the distinction of the patterns and situations at the initiation of colonial rule. The era is generally regarded as the European scramble for Africa, which occurred between 1879 and 1905 (Zounon and Mullet 2). During that time, most African regions had sufficient tillable land, and adequate labor was readily available. However, the abundance did not include resources since most of the mineral endowment in Africa was either inaccessible with pre-existing industrial know-how, was yet to be evaluated overseas, or was unidentified. The suppositions can be justified through the landmark discoveries of diamond in Botswana and oil in Nigeria that happened during the decolonization period.
Moreover, large-scale farming was infeasible due to the low fertility of the land, which made cultivation costly in the absence of animal dung and manure. Most savannas and forest zones did not rear or use a large flock of animals for plowing and transportation to prevent sleeping sickness. The farming activities were also rendered unfeasible during the dry season due to the non-uniform annual rainfall distribution (De Juan and Pierskalla 160). Consequently, most of the labor during the rainy-free periods was directed to craftwork. This also facilitated the adoption of labor-saving and land-extensive farming techniques, though the returns on the workforce were constrained by soil leanness. The preceding delineations attempt to illustrate the reasons behind the high productivity of overseas African labor after some centuries (Kulkova 245). The descriptions also lay the foundation for the causal economic reasoning of the outward slave trades that later intensified labor scarcity within the African continent itself.
Further, the structure of incentives within Africa promoted the posterity of self-sufficiency. Subsequently, during the mid-twentieth century, it was broadly hypothesized that the pre-colonial economies were overwhelmingly subsistence-based. However, the studies of the 16th and 17th centuries reformed this assertion, particularly in West African states that demonstrated adaptation to extra-subsistence manufacturing (Zounon and Mullet 3). Despite the destruction of the economy in West Africa by the Dutch disease, the abolition of the slave trade paved the way for its strong comeback. The resumption saw the West Africans produce extensively and on a large scale for domestic and overseas markets. However, due to labor shortage and the absence of substantial production economies of scale, the employers found it challenging to cope with the reserved minimum wage (Kulkova 245). Therefore, the overall labor markets during pre-colonial Africa assumed the slave trade nature.
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Attaining and maintaining political centralization amongst Africans was challenging during the pre-colonial period due to the vast land. The political disintegration promoted the iconic Atlantic slave trade in West Africa since the big states lacked the stimuli and capabilities to renounce their involvement (Kulkova 246). The dispersion of Africans later enabled the conquest of almost all African states by Europeans. However, Ethiopia was the only African state that was able to resist the colonialists. This is because it had a well-established economy supported by the surplus agricultural produce from the fertile soils in central provinces.
Interestingly, the majority of the African states were colonized during the establishment of industrialization in Europe, and the Europeans were searching for markets in Africa for their countless commodities. Noteworthy, the items could be profitably made in Africa as it had the comparative benefit of implementing the land-intensive primary manufacturing due to its promising land-labor ratio (Zounon and Mullet 6). Nevertheless, some of the native populations in West Africa had taken advantage of the access to the growing overseas market and the supply-side economics ahead of colonization. Countries like Cameroon and Senegal produced thousands of tons of palm oil, rubber, and groundnuts from the 1880s (Cappelli and Baten 925). The countries started supplying the items to the European merchants for sale in foreign markets.
Post-colonial Economic Transformations and Variations
Productivity per person in Africa, especially the Sub-Saharan countries, has been the lowest compared to the other continents in the world. However, African states’ economies have witnessed gradual expansion since the inception of colonialists due to the introduction of changes in performance and policy. The structural policy alteration in the 1980s marked a crucial shift from administrative to market-based approaches to resource distribution (Zounon and Mullet 5). However, the transformation had less impact on the majority of the former French colonies. This is because the conservation of an exchangeable currency had aided the government in circumventing some of the additional quantity and price controls formerly introduced in British colonies. The performance of the cumulative economic growth rates in the area remained considerably promising until 1973 (De Juan and Pierskalla 162). The following decade was characterized by stagnant or negative growth rates due to the adopted structural adjustments. Nevertheless, the declining development in the region was eased by the Chinese-steered boom before the 2007 crisis, and the gross domestic product growth was estimated to be 5% per annum. The ensuing period experienced an increase in food and fuel prices resulting in a global financial crisis.
However, there were peculiar exceptions to the overall growth patterns in some countries. Cote d’Ivoire, though it shares almost similar geographical features and endowments as Ghana’s different colonial masters, experienced an augmented normal growth trend. Interestingly, the average growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in Cote d’Ivoire from 1960 to 1978 remained at 9.5% (De Juan and Pierskalla 164). Unfortunately, there followed a civil war that caused stagnation of the GDP for numerous years. In contrast, the initiation of organizational modifications in Ghana resulted in low per capita income in 1983 as opposed to the high GDP in 1957 during independence. Nevertheless, Ghana is one of the countries where the structural adjustment was successful in Africa. It underwent an average growth rate of about 5% during the subsequent twenty-five years after 1983 (Kulkova 246). Therefore, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire exhibited inverse growth rate patterns. Finally, Botswana is the only Sub-Saharan country with incessant economic growth (about 9.3% per year) since independence (Kulkova 246). The country has sustained its expansion for approximately four decades.
Relating Economic Perspectives Based on Colonial Legacy
The acknowledgment of the ideological and theoretical discussion about economic development history assumes diverse political and scholarly deliberations. The cases of African oppression by colonialists necessitated championing of rational economic growth by radical theorists and nationalists. Studies have attributed the relative poverty witnessed in most African states at the end of the twentieth century to be principal to the aftermath of European colonialism (Zounon and Mullet 6). The deprivation emanated from the settling of the Europeans in Africa in large numbers and instituting systems of governance and private property rights that favored them. Remarkably, the subjugation promoted economic progression in Europe and European colonies in Australia and North America. Through the extraction, the colonialists subdivided land and plantations among the European settlers (Yoo 49). The scheme accorded European settlers and investors secure and inexpensive land control. Additionally, the strategy forced Africans to offer labor to European mine-owners and farmers willingly.
The colonial administrators further propagated the exploitation through coercive labor recruitment. The Africans were obliged to work for the European private entities or states. The colonial governments even disregarded and barely acknowledged or promoted the emerging campaign for land rights for African-occupied land in European colonies (De Juan and Pierskalla 168). Consequently, from the rational choice establishment and dependency viewpoints, the primary iniquity of imperialism in Africa was that the colonialists failed to introduce a pure capitalist system. Conversely, they directed their gravity towards accumulation and competition necessary for invoking sustainable economic growth.
However, there are few constructive overviews of colonial supremacy in Africa. The majority of the studies moot the conquest of intra-African rivalry, eradicating internal slave business and slavery, and the institution of mechanized transportation. Supplementary explorations give a discourse on the infrastructural investment and the establishment of contemporary manufacturing in the Belgian Congo and settler-driven economies. Despite the twentieth-century economic globalization, the British empires are accused of pioneering the rejection of tariff protection and other pro-market policies between 1846 and 1931 (De Juan and Pierskalla 169). Besides the promotion of tariffs, the last three decades of the British reign in Africa were characterized by the institution of marketing boards. In contrast, the French colonies have less to complain about since their masters adopted the French empire protectionism.
Despite the pessimism and optimism on implications of colonial rule legacy, most theorists purport that its significance is over-rated. The conclusions have been driven by the transient colonial rule in Sub-Saharan countries and the shortcomings of the colonial states (Kulkova 247). Some philosophers argue that the progress witnessed in peasant economies, including the tremendous expansion of cash crop economies, was facilitated by Africans through their entrepreneurship and economic astuteness. The critics have also pointed to the scenario where leaders in African countries cannot amass huge revenues from domestic resources. The scholars argue that the phenomenon has prevailed since colonial rule (Kulkova 247). They assert that African elites emerged to be the patrons of foreign states, thereby forging relationships that only profited from themselves and the colonialists. Despite the dependency theory emphasizing the foreign agency’s preeminence in shaping historical upshots, the African elites contributed significantly to the establishment of the extrovertive trend of the African political economy.
Economic Development Variations and Similarities during Colonial Era
The execution of the scramble for Africa was envisioned to be less costly for European taxpayers. The doctrine of the colonialists, particularly the British, anticipated that every colony would be fiscally self-reliant (Yoo 36). Subsequently, any expansion in government overheads was to be funded from higher revenue undertakings. For example, through the custom proceeds fueled by the aggravating coca bean exportation by the colony, Ghana enjoyed the construction of a new harbor, more roads, and railway networks. The French were also committed to financing the expenditures in their colonies. This resulted in major infrastructural development across west African states in the 1920s (Kulkova 247). However, the outlays in Ghana were abridged after some years due to export price decrements, which resulted in condensed revenue growth.
After the abatement during World War II, several inducements made most colonial governments get involved in the post-war regime with novel public allegiance. This was perceived as active promotion of economic development in the states they presided over. The increased spending led to the partial redemption of the developmental context emanating from the urban taxpayers. However, the colonial administrations continued to obtain surplus tax from Africans than they expended in Africa (Kulkova 248). For instance, the statutory export marketing boards in British West Africa amassed significant proceeds by maintaining a substantial margin between the prices disbursed to manufacturers and the amount rendered to the boards. The surpluses were reserved in London in the form of bonds with the British government. The funds helped the economy of the British metropolitan to recuperate from the dollar shortage occasioned by the post-war.
The distinct character of the colonial masters attributed some variations to the well-being of those exposed to European governance. The contrasts are drawn concerning the two largest European empires, namely the British and the French. The former employed indirect rule by relying on the African rulers and chiefs as mediators, while the latter deployed the assimilation doctrine by absorbing minority Africans into French citizenship and culture (Yoo 38). Notably, the economic variabilities emanated from the conformation of the corresponding African kingdoms. Nonetheless, the two colonial administrations shared a common approach to using African intermediaries. The only dissimilarity was that the French were committed to eradicating African dynasties while the British insisted on collaborating with the African monarchies.
In West Africa, the French utilized forced labor more because their territories had insufficient cash-earning attributions. The variation in colonial legacy between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana was portrayed by using particular policies that oppressed African farmers but benefited the white settlers (Yoo 38). This implied that the Ghanaian cocoa farmers accumulated wealth more quickly for the state, hence the discrepancy in economic growth at independence between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Further research on African countries governed by either French or British administrators revealed that there were fewer occupational achievements in British-ruled states than in the French-ruled countries. However, the British colonies were found to have invested more in education than the French colonies. Finally, as of 1990, the French colonies witnessed higher GDP in purchasing power parity (PPA) than the British colonies (Kulkova 248). This is because economic growth was promoted by the legacy of settler cultivation in French colonies.
Specialization in Export Products among the African States during Colonial Reign
Monoculture and extroversion of African economies are greatly fated and blamed as a conquest of colonial diversion over African involvements. However, the dangers incorporated in acute specialization require fine-tuning against the final income gain to be anticipated from the utilization of proportionate benefits. The setting of the relative advantage of the colonial economy could be recognized (Yoo 40). Unfortunately, capitalization of the profit later raised concerns about the kind of venture that would positively deepen the gain. Questions were also submitted regarding the distribution of the proceeds and overheads. The African colonies experienced varied ideological conflicts, more so on power equity amongst the various interested participants. Noteworthy, the primary variation was between the settler and peasant economies.
During the eve of the European scramble for the continent, Africa had started accruing substantial relative benefits in exporting agricultural commodities. In west Africa, exportation was promoted by shared engrossments of the population, colonial governments, and European traders. Initially, the British permitted Ghanaian farmers to cultivate cocoa beans (De Juan and Pierskalla 164). However, they were outwitted in the commercial competition against other African manufacturers due to prejudice and lack of governmental support compared to their counterparts in Sub-Saharan countries like South Africa. The African growers also eclipsed the French planters in Cote d’Ivoire upon the abolition of Corvee. Colonial administrations succeed in their dependency on the hard work of the small African peasants and capitalists in the cultivation and domestic promotion of export crops. This was witnessed in Nigeria and Ghana, where the productivity increased twenty times in the tangible foreign trade value from 1897 to 1960 (Yoo 50). The production intensification benefitted the British corporate welfares and the colonial treasury through custom duties.
There were also growing pressures for the colonial government to allow venturing into other industrial sectors. This saw the African growers in Nigeria push for authorization to establish large oil palm plantations to serve as raw materials for soap manufacturers. Unfortunately, they were frequently rebuffed because the African manufacturers conveyed the commodities through large-scale techniques that were well acclimated to the factor benefaction. The African agronomists abandoned colonial extension officers’ guidance that contravened the conditions of effective habituation. The constructive governmental contribution was to strengthen and approve the capitalization of the economic proceeds from export farming. The administrations accomplished this partially by investing in infrastructure such as transport, which even the African investors also financed.
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There was also the establishment of the land tilting system amongst African planters. In Ghana, the colonial government endorsed the farmers’ indigenous customary right to possession of their duly planted trees. This was regardless of the results of any impending lawsuit on the land freehold with the growing trees (Yoo 42). Subsequently, the African growers relished adequate occupancy security and felt relieved to invest in tree crops. The aftermath was the establishment of large-scale cocoa plantations in Ghana, making it the global cocoa supplier.
In other countries like South Africa, they had diamonds and gold. However, their lucrative exploitation needed the reduction of labor cost, afar from the physically implied labor-land ratio. Studies have revealed that the deployment of this coercive involvement in the workforce sphere made the South African mines profitable (De Juan and Pierskalla 166). Further research indicates that granting free market privileges to colonial administrations in South Africa would have resulted in the repression of black wages. This is because the rulers would utilize land appropriation and measures to prevent Africans from offering labor to European-held land except as laborers.
Relating the economic bequests of the European regime with destitution in peasant and settler economies is intricated in the numerous differences between distinct colonies. Nevertheless, it can be generalized that income and wealth distribution was, and has continued, much less inequitable in the peasant economies than in the settler ones (Yoo 44). Preliminary discoveries by a few researchers underpin the presumption that land ownerships set the basis for minimum wages in the peasant economies. This facilitated the migration of laborers into the export-growing zones to benefit from export proceeds that were initially shared amongst European firms, African landowners, and Asian and African intermediaries. In Ghana and Uganda colonies, the real wages in the peasant economies were found to start rising from the 1920s and 1930s, respectively, with further gradual improvement without lowering (Yoo 51). However, the real wages in South Africa for black gold extractors began to assume constant increment in the 1970s (De Juan and Pierskalla 166). This trend in real wages and expanded African agricultural exports that promoted real wage growth in peasant economies led to the decline of infant mortality within the colonies.
Further, the majority of the African colonies did not have mineral endowments and suitable land for cost-effective export farming. Subsequently, the regions were not preferred for European settlement; hence their economies were not steered by peasant manufacturing and zealous African rural-industrialists. Therefore, those economies had to depend on periodic exports of masculine casual laborers and on tilling the less profitable cash crops such as cotton (De Juan and Pierskalla 165). However, the labor timing for these crops clashed with the food crops, thereby causing a danger to food security.
Physical wellbeing was also quantified using the average height of the African population. The poorer colonies experienced smaller wealth improvements than the colonies with well-endowed economies. The colonial governments sought to improve productivity in the less favorable economies by creating capital-intensive and macroscale projects. Examples of such huge projects include the Office du Niger irrigation scheme in Mali and the mechanization drive of the East African Groundnut Project in Tanganyika (Bjornlund et al. 55). However, both projects failed due to low productivity attributed to prevailing physical surroundings and factor ratios. Therefore, settler colonialism failed to improve the living standards of the indigenous residents. The Europeans subdivided the land into colonies for utilization by the settlers or white-owned companies who transformed the areas into modern manufacturing.
Manufacturing-driven Economic Development
The occurrence of industrialization in Asia led to more labor-intensive trends than in North America and Europe. This was facilitated by the substitution of the extended working hours with extra machines, thus yielding a higher labor-capital proportion at any quantity of throughput. Other areas like Sub-Saharan Africa that faced capital and labor shortage concerning land were not well suited to adopt the mechanization until the beginning of the 20th century (Cramer et al. 22). By the time the majority of African countries attained independence, South Africa had obtained a significant manufacturing segment. The South Africans were followed by South Rhodesia, which ventured into the production sector on a smaller scale. The low-cost black labor assisted only in unskilled occupations while the specialized jobs were conserved for the whites.
The growth in manufacturing was realized by the institution of tariff protection in areas where local benefits, especially in cement manufacturing and brewing, did not exist. Mining was important because it offered the import-purchasing power to cater to the importation of raw materials and capital items (Cramer et al. 27). The quarrying venture also served as a direct and indirect revenue source for the government. The administration utilized the collected earnings to develop manufacturing through the provision of efficient infrastructural networks. The growing European population provided both the capital and pool of skilled workers (Yoo 46). However, the most outstanding contribution by these Europeans was the political responsibility to fund the industrialization process. Promoting the value chain in countries like South Africa turned out to be a drive for significant scopes of European voters who controlled the administration. The phenomenon is still active in some African countries even after independence.
Nevertheless, in South Africa, the joint government comprising Labor and National parties embarked on promoting import-alternative industrialization policies. The motive was steered by tariffs and state capitalization in steel and electricity (Cramer et al. 52). In response to the concerns of the novel South African taxes by the administration, South Rhodesia followed suit for substitution. The growth of modern manufacturing also emerged in the Belgian Congo. Just in other Sub-Saharan countries, the mines offered a favorable framework for import-relieving manufacturing through the provision of import-purchasing strength and infrastructure.
Remarkably, South Africa prevailed as the leader in manufacturing in the Sub-Saharan region during the colonial period. However, more expansion was heavily curtailed by the high cost of accessing skilled labor. This is because only a small proportion of the workforce had access to tertiary education. Additionally, the economy offered a limited market for the goods generated by mass production. Further, the exploitive racial policies inhibited economic growth. The stagnation was exhibited in 1960 when South Africa had immense modern manufacturing, it was uncompetitive globally (Cramer et al. 98). Senegal, a French-colonized West African state, experienced a slight growth in manufacturing during the colonial era (Cappelli and Baten 930). This is because it served as the commercial and administrative center for French operations in West Africa, hence having access to technical expertise, capital, and people with managerial experience. Nonetheless, the economic development in African states was later propelled by decolonization and government grants that necessitated the European companies to start local factories to safeguard their existing markets.
By the end of the European colonial rule in Africa, there were no significant manufacturing industries to show. This was greatly attributed to the labor shortage, limited markets, and the relative benefits of land-concentrated principal production. Further, the colonial governments withdrew opportunities from the status quo and ensured that the monopolistic European merchants traded the manufactured commodities. Nevertheless, the colonialists laid the foundation for much larger manufacturing growth in the African continent to support its ever-growing population (Cramer et al. 132). The increased enrolment of Africans in schools facilitated instilling specific skills amongst workers, who promoted skilled labor-intensive industrialization. The knowledge was also important as it assisted African leaders in gaining control of domestic economies during the transition and after independence. However, the newly independent states were not fully equipped to undertake labor-based industrialization. The countries that continued with industrialization deployed capital-intensive approaches. Consequently, the established factories were infeasible since they accrued liabilities rather than profits. The trend is detrimental to the economy of any country as it leads to overburdening of the taxpayers.
African Markets and Entrepreneurship
Before, during, and after the colonial regime, the African enterprises have driven transformations in the selection of goods and the means of production organization. The practice has been salient in West Africa, whose pre-colonial economies in the nineteenth century started to be more market-based than in other Sub-Saharan regions (Austin et al. 540). The colonial effects on African markets and entrepreneurship were the macroscale land appropriations for utilization by the European corporations and individual settlers (De Juan and Pierskalla 163). The segregation of peasant colonies from the plantation and settler colonies emerged to be exogenic to African economic antiquities. However, where African manufacturers managed to penetrate wide-range export markets earlier than the European exporters, they accrued substantial benefits to influence economic and policy colonial policies. The success was enough to convince the colonial policy formulators to quit agricultural production in favor of Africans.
In most Sub-Saharan states, the Africans took the initiative to cultivate and produce extra grain to furnish the internal markets. The colonial governments countered by expelling Africans from the food market into the employment market through the reservation of land for Europeans. The Africans were also prohibited from letting their land and had little time to work for themselves at the expense of providing labor to European settlers (Austin et al. 544). However, on realizing that African production influenced market resilience, the colonialists introduced agricultural marketing restraints. Such strategies included the lifting of limitations on Africans to grow high-value cash crops. Consequently, the African production increased market coverage more rapidly in peasant farming-export economies than in settler economies.
The African investors were also required to lease labor like their counterpart European entrepreneurs, despite the colonial regime being hesitant on innovation. This necessitated the move to campaign and pushed against slavery. However, the substitution of the slave market by wage employment market in regions with huge slave populations like West African states relied greatly on African cash crop cultivation advancements (Austin et al. 549). Notably, the continued deployment of forced labor by colonial masters during the inter-war years was highly criticized by the Geneva-based International Labor Office (De Juan and Pierskalla 170). This humiliation made the Europeans less reluctant to steer economic developments and reforms.
Like import-export trade and shipping, the banking sector was highly affected by cartelization. This tendency was most predominant in colonial West Africa (Mekoa 44). The initial introduction of boundaries and colonial reign itself interrupted inter-African exchange channels. Additionally, the growing existence of European traders in the jurisdiction relegated countless African merchants from the intermediation network between shippers and farmers. Later, there was the emergence of systematized opposition to European cartels that were constrained to certain colonies. For instance, the African brokers and farmers confronted the unbroken European trading syndicates in Ghana for cocoa hoarding (Austin et al. 564). At the advent of independence, more African entrepreneurs began maneuvering in the domestic exchange and export-import sectors. However, they were significantly limited to the subordinate levels of the corporate pyramids. Nonetheless, the African traders accumulated profits from the overall diversification of the economies.
State Capacity toward Economic Growth
It is widely acknowledged that countries play a crucial role in economic development, ensuring enforcement of economic activity regulations and availing tangible public commodities. Though the colonial governments experienced grave financial constraints, they presented to Africans in an undemocratic manner the prospective of acquiring loan funds (Johnson and Koyama 2). This is because the colonial administrators were limited in their recourse to financial markets by the civic proclamation that every colony be economically self-reliant and stabilize its budget. The inauguration of a unitary currency in each territory as the legal tender lowered the aggregate transaction overlays. In some instances, the demonetization of prevailing currencies adversely affected Africans in possession of them. However, the municipal treasuries deprived their colonial servants of the self-sufficiency to reproduce money. The French franc was used amongst the French colonies while British West Africa issued the pound, which was always exchangeable at the same rate as the metropolitan pound (Johnson and Koyama 4). Not until independence that the novel African administrations were permitted to introduce their national currencies. The British colonies widely embraced the option, while most of the French colonies rebuffed the plan.
Since the colonial administrators experienced similar heuristic restraints as the preceding African federations, the government propagated the dependence of pre-colonial empires upon taxes on people and trade, as opposed to land. During World War II, the main fiscal invention by the colonial regime was the introduction of the export marketing boards, which became the primary revenue boosters (Johnson and Koyama 6). With the nearing of independence, the period of war provided African elites with unique opportunities like transforming educational prospects for their populations. After independence, the ordinary African producers and traders realized the weakness of the fiscal instruments (marketing boards) and started dodging them by transacting on parallel markets.
The other infamous legacy of colonial rule during the partition of Africa was smuggling. The upshot led to the imposition of boundaries that separated societies sharing a common culture. Some states were partitioned into small units with insignificant economic feasibility, while others became potentially ungovernable due to their large sizes (Johnson and Koyama 9). However, research has revealed that some of the segregated states eventually acquired social acceptability and universal legitimacy. Despite the colonial settlement constituting numerous small states, the majority of the colonies were bigger than the pre-colonial communities in which they were instituted. In French West Africa, some of these colonies marshaled sections of the extensive regional divisions.
Despite the continued preservation of the colonial borderlines, the colonial efforts to impose Weberian bureaucracy have been rendered less satiable. The ethnicity prominence has aggravated this in most African states for factional competitiveness over resources (Johnson and Koyama 13). Most anthropologists and historians believe that Ethnicity in African countries was greatly engrained through the divide and rule of colonial policies. The prevailing historiography asserts that there is partial justification for the concentration on colonial states’ capability to discover and manipulate civilizations, including those concerned with chieftaincy and ethnicity. However, the scope undermined the potentiality of African elites and persons to predispose to the inherent outcomes. No matter the convention, all ethnic groupings began during the colonial era and were conceptualized and strengthened by the collaboration between African and colonial elites (Johnson and Koyama 16). The scholars argue that ethnicity has been a fundamental principle for conflicts and political associations in most African countries since the colonial regime. This affects economic development because ethnic disunions are perceived to be primarily accountable for overlaying amassment rather than promoting growth strategies in post-colonial Africa.
Finally, the abridged revenue-generation ability of African colonies and increased nationalist movements coerced the colonial governments (British and French) to embrace early decolonization. Despite the colonial administrators raising concerns about their coming days under independent African governments, the decolonizing authorities failed to acknowledge their expressions (Johnson and Koyama 18). The motive of such affairs was disclosed a few years later with the British government’s involvement in the Biafran secession that was sparked by the British oil firms’ interests (Korieh 77). Additionally, the French government continued to pry into the affairs of its former colonies via the franc zone even after independence.
Summary, Implications, and Conclusion
The dissertation has addressed the aspect of colonial influences concerning the extended economic growth dynamics. The consideration has overwhelmingly covered land abundance dating from the 1900s to sequential labor and capital scarcity and the widespread exchanges in West African indigenous markets. The issue of political centralization has also been related to the low levels and varying economic developments. The paper has outlined how the colonial administrators and European companies capitalized on both institution and infrastructure establishment to boost African economies as the chief-commodity exporters. In both situations, the deep-rooted economic rationale for forced labor persisted. There was also the sustained presence of slave trade in the ancient colonial African countries and the deployment of intensive land grabbing to enhance migrant labor supply in settler-based economies. However, there were evolutions in West Africa, and the imminent contrast between the British and French policies revolved around settler and peasant colonies’ identities.
Nevertheless, the colonial rulers of these countries did dismally in the preparations for the upward growth of economies. This would probably be associated with their short-lived economic prospects. Consequently, the initial cohort of post-colonial administrators reigned over economies that had obscured growth. The economies were characterized by an inadequate cheap and educated workforce and a lack of sufficient cheap electricity, which are requisite for the successful initiation of industrialization. As a result, the West African economies and tropical African countries have had to undertake vigorous post-colonial financing in education and other public amenities to attain a significant growth in labor-intensive production.
The colonial administrators exhibited a better infrastructural change and a regrettable record for poverty eradication, even in countries endowed with mineral resources. The intensive use of intimidation was vital in the expansion of white-governed colonies, which almost exterminated industrialization by introducing politically driven importation policies. Nevertheless, the colonial rulers left a legacy of sustained population growth amongst African countries that has continuously remodeled the factor ratios and improved the long-term economic prospects of the whole African continent.
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