European colonization has impacted the development of once colonized lands drastically. One of the primary ways European colonization affected Sub-Saharan Africa was the state’s economy and inability to recover financially. During the decades of colonization and land exploitation, European countries used African agricultural welfare and human capital to strengthen their position in the international market and play power politics, which stands for the leaders’ perception of politics as a manipulative tool instead of meaningful governance. As a result, the vast majority of resources were drained from the continent, leaving African residents to rehabilitate from financial losses on their own. Significant economic exploitation, which presupposed no financial reward for the resources used by European leaders, made Sub-Saharan Africa highly dependent on the external market and economy, allowing European states to use the situation and encourage African leaders to adopt favorable international policies. In such a way, Sub-Saharan Africa never had a chance to rehabilitate from the colonial exploitation fully.
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The second significant way European colonization changed Sub-Saharan Africa once and for all concerns the socio-political patterns of continental development that mostly derive from economic disadvantage and oppression. During the European colonization, Suh-Saharan Africans were explicitly oppressed, dehumanized, and exploited. As a result, even in the post-colonial world, part of the Sub-Saharan African population, especially in the West, remains dependent on European influence due to the existing inferiority complex. As a result, instead of building a mighty continent of their own, many African leaders tend to continue the vicious loop of dependence on the external markets and political powers. The impact of European colonization was aptly summarized in Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa: while European colonizers refused to acknowledge the significance African continent for European development, the modern distribution of political power happened at the expense of African resources.
As far as the assistance and support of once colonized lands are concerned, I think that such help should be beneficial for the continent’s sufficiency and development or should not exist at all. Historical evidence demonstrates that after the end of the colonization, some countries in the African West entered a trade agreement with Europe, and others were restrained from the declared Yaoundé Conventions (Odijie 1). As a result, the countries dependent on trade agreements were proven to fall for the neo-colonist model instead of developing the local economy from scratch. Hence, the current financial help presented by Europe does not help instate the position of Africa in the global market for personal gain. The financial aid provided by Europe is not an investment but a way to drag the continent into debt and economic dependence or a modernized version of colonialism. For this reason, help for the nation is only appropriate when it is perceived by former colonizers as a reparation rather than a pragmatic investment.
If I were a leader of a once colonized nation, I would accept help from the former colonizers under the conditions described above. The feeling of dignity and self-worth, although significant, does not justify the fact that a post-colonial state requires financial grounds to commence a national renaissance. Hence, if the nation’s only intention is to make amends for the damage caused to a whole country, any help would be accepted as exercising my nation’s indisputable right to reparation.
Odijie, Michael E. “Unintentional Neo-Colonialism? Three Generations of Trade and Development Relationship between EU and West Africa.” Journal of European Integration, 2021, pp. 1-17.
Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Verso Books, 2018.