Long answer: Africans never learned from the events of colonization. They have kept dancing around with their masters who never cared for them. It is the Africans’ stupidity and not the Europeans’ faults. Everybody should be looking for their own interests. Nobody has ever developed through the mercy of others.
Respect and dignity are earned. Nobody gets/hands them for free, especially with regards to masters and their former slaves, colonizers and their former colonies. How did the Americans earn it from the British? How did Chinese earn it from Japan? Everything is earned, freedom, dignity, respect, you name it. This is the concept that African leaders don’t seem to grasp. Do they care? I don’t really know. Some do, but many don’t. They can’t think long-term at all for their countries.
What about if colonization never happened?
These what-ifs questions are really pointless in my opinion. “what if slave trade never happened?” Where would be the African Americans? What a bunch of “nonsense” questions! How about “what if WW II never happened”? All similar questions and their cousins in that same family are just pointless. These events happened. The main questions should be: What happened? How did they go down? Where they terrible? Now what we do about it?
Imagine a Rwandan asking: What if genocide in Rwanda never happened? What I like to ask is: “ It happened and was horrible”. Now what? How can we learn from it? Correct all the wrong to move forward in the right direction to make the future better. The rest is really nonsense to me.
Why are many African countries still lagging behind economically?
Colonization was a terrible experience for Africans. No question about it. However, blaming Africa’s problems today solely on colonization is just preposterous. It is a lack of responsibility and accountability on the African’s side.
For starters, this is a map of Africa and the European invasion on the continent in the early 20th century. Major colonizers are France, United Kingdom, followed by Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, and Germany.
In my opinion, the biggest mistake that Africans made after the so-called “ independence” was to keep Europeans around in their business. They should have cut them off completely, diplomatically and any other bilateral relations they had with Europeans. Till today, that is the African’s problems.
- When you get “ free” from your slave master, you don’t let them hang around your house anymore. This is what Africans did after their “ independence”.
- When you finally leave your abusive husband of more than 60–70 years, you don’t text them ever again or allow them to come to hang out at your house. This is what Africans have continued to do for over 40–50 years.
The Europeans have never had any interests to develop or to “ civilize” Africans. All they came to Africa to do was for their own self-interests. This is why any African leader who tried to push for the complete independence of Africans was killed and murdered by the Europeans. Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Patrice Lumumba in DRC and most recently Muammar Gaddafi.
Africa’s problems today are all related to lack of African-Intra trade, corruption fueled by the aid industry, tribalism, identity politics among many others. Till we fix this, I am afraid many African countries will continue to lag behind economically. As an African, I blame colonization on Europeans, but anything else after the independence is Africans’ faults ( the so-called neo-colonialism). They have allowed it to happen for over 50 years now.
Till today, many African countries are not really free. They are “misguided” and controlled by Europeans and North Americans for the most part. Who would you blame for this? I blame Africans to allow Europeans to dominate them for another half a century. We have became way too dependent on Europeans. Many of our leaders are absolute shit and quite frankly useless.
Africa Intra trade
The real reason why Africa still lags behind economically as a continent is because:
- We don’t trade with one another.
- We don’t think long term.
- We like to import things from Europe and China for no reasons. From simple things such as Q-tips, vegetables, meat. Africa is big. We have huge arable lands, good weather for harvesting twice every year, and others. It is a shame that hotels in Africa have no choice but to import chicken from America, butter from France, and fresh produce such as tomatoes and other vegetables.
All these things are simple stuff we should be doing to create jobs, collect more taxes, increase GDPs and create independent and free economies. There is no way you can be free when you are still dependent on your former slave masters in the forms of “ peanuts” aid.
Change of mentality
If Africa had gotten rid of Europeans from the 1970’s, countries would have no choice but to trade with one another developing their economies. Instead of exporting their raw materials, they would have developed their industries to export finished products for more money. Instead, the events of imperialism, the cold war gave rise to dictators and all revolutionary leaders in the independence movement were killed one by one in more than 40 African countries.
- Today, it is a shame that I have to buy chocolates imported from Belgium, France, and Switzerland when 95% of all Cocoa production comes from Ivory Coast and Ghana.
- It is a shame that Nigerians have a shortage of fuel sometimes when they have one of the largest oil reserves in the world.
This list can go on and on. You can talk about DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, and quite frankly majority of the countries. Again, if Africans had stopped bilateral relations with the West, they would have worked together to develop themselves and their economies through trade, business, innovation and entrepreneurship. The same way that Asian countries such as South Korea, China, and others did it.
Look at this map above about Africa’s abundant minerals and other natural resources. There is absolutely no reason why we should have oil refineries in the middle east when we can produce ours right here at home. Are you telling me that all these 10 or so countries cannot get together to create their own industries to make final products? Again, this is Africa’s problems. Not working together and thinking long term.
Education, tribalism, and corruption
Colonization left Africans feeling inferior to Europeans. After 70–100 years of domination, torture and brutal inhumane acts of violence and genocides, Africans thought that they were not as competitive as the Europeans. Credit to Europeans on this one. They have used it to their advantage for many years. They fragmented societies and made ethnic groups hate one another till today. Is this their problems? Yes, during colonization. But afterward, it should have been Africans job to unite and noticing that whatever differences they had, they were one people.
They should have set their differences aside and unite one people. As a Rwandan, I say this with absolute shame and disgust. I was born in the middle of a civil war and a brutal genocide broke out when I was barely five. Can I really blame the Belgians and the French on the Rwandan genocide? Yes, partially. But, I would be stupid to not say that Rwandans did the dirty work whatever France did behind the scenes. You see, Rwandan issues in the past and present should be solved by Rwandans themselves and not the Europeans ( Belgium, France, or Germany). To think otherwise is absolute craziness.
The tribalism we have today, the identity politics, corruption, and many other issues, Europeans have nothing or little to do with that. These are African issues and can only be solved when we own them, accept them, and be accountable. They might have started during colonization but it is our fault that we still have them today.
What should Africa do?
All of these are African’s problems and not the Europeans. From the beginning, Europeans never wanted Africans to be “ independent” anyway. They fought hard to keep their stronghold with colonization. When they were forced to give in, they were probably surprised by the free pass they were given.
Today, they control Africa through the aid industry and unfair trade practices. By African working together, they would have developed themselves before waiting what the Europeans have to say about them.
Do you ever wonder why Africa has absolutely little say about their state of nations? Popular statements such as “ Africa, the dark continent in the 80’s” or “ Africa is rising in the early 2000’s” are the West view of Africa and how things are going. What is the African’s view of their continent? I don’t know. We never hear those because they either don’t matter or they don’t exist.
Countries who trade with one another tend to be peaceful with one another. After WWII in Europe, Germany and France got friendly not because they liked each other, but because they had mutual benefits exchanging goods and services. If Africa had been trading within themselves, the wars we had in the 1980’s and 90’s, many of them would not have happened.
Africa, they never show you. There is another side of Africa that the media never want to show to the world. It is the African job to brand and market themselves. Sharing their stories today and taking charge of her economy and politics.
All women flight crew from Ethiopian Airlines, from pilots, co-pilots and flight attendants. Where else do you know about this? Only in Africa.
African young men and women entrepreneurs in business making it big. No other place to become a millionaire while young than Africa, especially starting from nothing. Your sweat equity and commitment with longterm vision are all you need.
VW, German Cars to be assembled in Rwanda ( Made in Rwanda Brand new Cars) ( Picture was taken on 27th June 2018 by Taarifa Rwanda).
This week, the plant was officially inaugurated by His Excellency Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. His speech did resonate with me. It was music to my ears.
“Africa does not need to be a dumping ground for second-hand cars, or second-hand anything. In the long run, you end up paying a higher price anyway. If you can pay a high price for second hand, why not pay a high price for something new? It is a simple choice. Africans, Rwandans, we deserve better. This is one way of showing how we can afford it. For these and other reasons, this promising partnership with Volkswagen is off to a good start. “
-President Kagame speaking at the Launch of Volkswagen Mobility Solution in Kigali, Rwanda.
Africa is really a diverse continent. There are low-income countries, middle-income countries, and higher income countries. Many people seem to bundle Africa into one, which is really wrong and unreasonable.
- Countries such as Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea are already developed. They are independent and don’t need any assistance. Majority of their people live way better standards of living than many people in the West.
- Middle-income countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, and many other countries have developed systems of governments and need nobody’s help in my opinion. Whatever issues they face, their people and governments can solve them on their own.
- Many of the low-income countries such as Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and similar others need to get their acts together and focus on free market principles in trade, tourism, business, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Whatever help they need, their fellow African countries can help them improve key sectors of their economy to allow them to run and sustain themselves in 5–10 years.
Plan to move forward.
If Africans were to wake up and started working together ( today in 2018), there would be no need to cuddle with Europeans or North Americans by 2030. Are they going to do it? Your guess is as good as mine. I am simply daydreaming. In the end, African people are the sole loser. We are disrespected, treated like shit around the world, thanks to our representatives. It is a big shame and I am so sick of it. Try traveling in Europe on an African passport or worse go through the process of applying for a visa to Europe. You will be treated like a “criminal” checking into a federal prison at any airport.
Over the years, my documents have been double and sometimes triple checked for literally no reason. I have been pulled out for “random” checks at Frankfurt, Heathrow, Schiphol, etc.. while traveling with my co-workers from Europe and USA were just chilling. Over time, you get to see what it is all about. It is an absolute disgrace, honestly.
Africa is not poor. It is managed poorly.
Today, Europeans have little to do with Africa’s mediocrity. This is why any country who get a good visionary leader or a series of good leaders for a consecutive 10–15 years or more, they improve fast and quite well. Botswana, Seychelles, Mauritius are good examples. My home country of Rwanda is even a better example in this case.
If Rwanda can do it, no country should have any excuse. Not even Somalia.
“We must understand that the time for babysitting is over and that we will never develop as we feel we have a never-ending need for Europeans, Americans, Asians, or other babysitters.” President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
Good leadership matters. That is Africa’s main problem today. Take that “magic pill” and you will fix our problems in no-time. African people are the most hardworking and resilient people I know. We need better representatives at the top. They don’t have to be perfect.
Just leaders who care and have the passion for their people. African people don’t ask too much. Just hope for today and excitement for the future. The rest is really quite easy. Ask the African people; the majority will agree with me.