The answer to the profound question regarding the causes of Africa underdevelopment is not to be sought anywhere else but on the ugly reality that transpired in the course of its colonial history and the whole forces in combination, at present, that have plunged one the richest continent in the world into the poverty capital of the world.
It is a fundamental truth that Africa is blessed with abundant natural resources, having traced the origin of human development and civilization to it. Humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution occurred on that continent.
The fossils of early humans who lived between 6 and 2 million years ago come entirely from Africa.
It is well-known fact that Africa is rich in petroleum, diamond, gold, iron, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, sugar, salt, cocoa, tropical fruits, woods, and many more natural resources.
It has also been statistically and evidently proven that the underdeveloped countries of the world and particularly Africa are the ones with the greatest wealth of natural resources, hopelessly they are the poorest in terms of development; goods and services presently provided by and for their citizens.
Why is Africa not developed despite these abundant natural resources remains a response that still eludes our thoughts?
Although there is an abundance of speculations or answers developed by scholars, contributors, and researchers from both North and South divide on the question of African under-development. But the problem still remains unsolved.
A question no one is asking remains at the beehive of an immediate answer to Africa’s problem.
And that is, what are the causes, why is under-development persistent in the continent, and who is benefiting from Africa’s underdevelopment?
Brief History of African’s Development Before Colonization
The echo system of human society in Africa portrays the historically complete development of all modes of production. And the oldest civilization can be traced to nowhere else but to Africa, and in ‘Khemit’ currently recognized as Egypt.
As evident from the history of every society so it is found in African earliest social development where the first stage of economic activities is as historically shown a gathering economy in which people gathered products from nature for survival.
The second is a producing economy in which people engaged in breeding livestock, growing crops, and mastering the methods for increasing production with the help of manufactured implements of labor.
In a wake to more enhanced economic activities, Afro-Asiatic trade – an earliest African mode of production based on Agrarian and Industrialization has taken form during the Sokoto Caliphate according to Abdullahi Sule Kano, a Professor of Political Science at Beyero University Kano, before the intrusion of colonial rule.
Africa was still witnessing pockets of hunting and gathering societies in the first quarter of the third millennium, from the Bushmen of the Congo Basin to the Koma people of the Mambila highlands in Northern Nigeria”, Sule Kano wrote on The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy.
The city-states of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia currently known as Iraq, once a territorial extension of Africa and the kingdom of Egypt have also begun the realization of urbanization.
This period also marked the development of “proto-cuneiform” writings, the discovery of silver, migration from central North Africa to the Nile valley among many other settlements.
There is abundant evidence to prove colonial justifications as usually stated that Africans were barbaric and not developing, hence the need for their conquest wrong and unscientific.
In fact, Africa like everywhere where else, and as with every civilization that has attained development all passes through a certain social developmental stage. A historical transitional stage with a certain development stride.
Lord Macauley’s account of his visit to Africa gives a vivid picture of the development of the continent before colonization.
He said in 1835 while addressing the British Parliament that;
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such a high moral value, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”.
While the statement has received serious criticism among African’s. It has witnessed many duplications in an attempt to conceal its authenticity.
In fact, many were of the view that the attached image of Lord Macaulay was not his real image as if a discovery of HD Camera was made in 1835.
Oh well, the British have a stored archive of every speech given by the parliaments, how about that.
What Are the Causes of Africa’s Underdevelopment?
It is without a doubt that the present condition of Africa was orchestrated before anything else by the colonial intervention. The destitute relations between Africa and Europe during the colonial era are evident.
These relations are nothing more than trade, but in its most barbaric and atavistic form ever experience in the history of mankind with a great sighted future disadvantage impacts that still persist centuries after.
It is a trade properly so-called by colonial apologists as if it is a profitable exchange relation entered into by the duo. But it is in reality a shipment of captives from Africa to various other parts of the world where they were to live and work as the property of the Europeans.
The process by which captives were obtained in Africa was not traded at all. It was through warfare, trickery, banditry, and kidnapping, so, it is slavery, and it was earnestly designed for future impacts that will not benefit Africa.
The Europeans are so deceptive that they will never call it slavery, but let me remind you that in east Africa and Sudan where many Africans were forcefully taken by the Arabs for trade, the processes were named by the Europeans as ‘Arab Slave Trade’, it will be justified also to call the forceful captives and shipment of Africa by Europe during the colonial era ‘European Slave Trade’.
Measuring the significance of the European slave trade in Africa will mean the massive loss of African people in their great numbers – more than 200 million.
A composition of able-bodied young men and women, between the age of 15 and 35, preferably in their early 20’s and the sex ratio being 2 men and 1 woman; as stipulated and demanded by the colonial rulers.
Now, when one-loss a large magnitude of its labor force at a time when more enhanced economic activities critical; for social development was needed what do you predict of its future?