In the late 1400’s
wealth-hungry traders arrived from all over Europe to start their colonial
practices in Africa. They traveled through, focusing on coastal regions to set
up trading posts. Through their travels, traders raided towns and initiated
slavery. A profusion of starvation and disease hit Africa during this time, as
a result. European missionaries infiltrated Africa in hope of instilling
European customs and ideologies and converting them to Christianity, which in
turn destroyed African customs and traditions. European traders also looked to
exploit Africa’s abundant raw materials. U.S. and European colonizing leaders debated
how to split up the continent, without consent from African natives. This
produced increased African inter-ethnic-group tension and aggression, which
paved the path for future socio-political and cultural conflicts in African
countries. By the late 1800’s, European culture was assimilated by the African
population. Europeans had split up most of the continental territory by the late
1880s and between 1884 and 1885, European representatives created regulations
for annexing territory as a method to stop competition for African colonies.
The colonial government and the colonial economy were two factions of European
policy in Africa. They controlled trade and natural resources in Africa and had
sent so many European products to the continent that native African industries
could not compete and inevitably failed. Each region specialized in a different
cash crop, which destroyed traditional African forms of agriculture. Africans
were also taxed by some colonial governments and were forced to dispose of
their land and work on farms or mines for wages in order to pay these taxes.

Exploitation of Africa is still alive today, however instead of
colonialism it is now through imperialism and neo-colonialism. Africa is very rich in natural resources – oil,
copper, platinum, uranium, tin, diamonds, timber, agricultural exports, land,
and human capital. Africa has been a crucial source of raw materials and human
labor for Europe’s industrialization. Without it, Europe could not have made
its manufactured products for exports. Now the United States, China, Japan,
Russia, India, Turkey, Israel, South Korea, and Brazil want a slice of Africa’s
riches. They all come to the continent with the same supported corporations, world
organizations, foreign aid, loans, diplomacy, and military intervention to get
what they want. International organizations such as the International Monetary
Fund, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the
International Development Association are all using “multilateral aid”, just a
neo-colonialist trap. These entities “have the habit of forcing potential
borrowers to submit to various offensive conditions, such as providing
information about their economies, submitting their policy and plans to review
by the World Bank, and accepting agency supervision of their use of loans”
(Nkrumah, 1965).

In February 2007, the
United States decided they wanted “in” on African resources. President George
W. Bush created the United States African Command (AFRICOM), whose military
activities were later increased by President Obama. Africa is a gold-mine for
natural resources that China is already starting to exploit, and the U.S. wants
get in on the benefits. Through this militarized form of U.S. imperialism, the
United States wants to get unrestricted access to natural resources, suppress
African countries by promising assistance with infrastructure, and increase
military control by increasing the number of military outposts. In a nutshell,
the United States’ AFRICOM program’s mission is stated to “advance U.S.
national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity” –
but for whom? The underlying fact is that in order for the United States to own
the oil, it needs to own it all and always keep an eye on it. The bottom line
is that neo-colonialism produces tremendous amounts of profit for Western
nations – just as colonialism did in the past. Western nations have monopolized
the markets and now control commodity prices due to lowering prices they pay
and obtaining a profit.

Although Africa has
these riches as a continent, its people do not. The majority of the population
in Africa live in abject poverty. The governments of these people do not
provide standard living essentials including clean drinking water, medical
care, education, and even basic infrastructure. Infant mortality rate in Africa
is 120 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 10 in European countries. The
adult literacy is 45% versus a European adult literacy rate of nearly 100%.
Life expectancy is 40 years, which is roughly half of 75 years for Europe. The
GDP per person, which is one of the most basic measurements of standard of
living was $200 USD for Africa, compared to about $12,500 USD for European
countries. Africans do not have the skills to manufacture their own tools and
conveniently must depend on Western nations for tools, weapons, and portions of
agriculture. These statistics truly capture Africa’s foreign domination. And
what are the contributing factors of this treatment by a people’s government?
Corruption and foreign exploitation. Corrupt leaders strike deals with global
corporations and foreign countries for US billions. Wars and political violence
are prominent in the corrupt areas of Africa

It is undeniable that Africa’s
position poor is predicated on its history of colonization and its current
exploitation. Africa is still being exploited today to extract abundant natural
resources and labor at the expense of the African population, and to show Western
international control.