Why is Africa so Poor? You asked Google – here’s the answer
This powerful piece by Eliza Anyangwe responds the to commonly searched Google question: “Why is Africa so poor?” She responds by identifying several of the most impactful ways the ‘West’ has voluntarily forced Africans into poverty: slavery, colonialism and financial entrapments. She concludes that the collective amnesia British and other Western people experience about these phenomena further hinders the progress towards reversing them.
|article||6 minutes||ELIZA ANYANGWE||06-28-2017||https://www.theguardian.com/|
|eliza anyangwe||2018-03-01 00:00:00 UTC|
The story of why Africa is “so poor” is addressed in this Guardian article because it is a commonly searched Google term. The article begins with the entry point of the enslavement of over 11 million Africans who were taken to the Americas. The countries that lost the most people to these actions, are consistently the most poor today.
The poverty of African nations was sustained by centuries of colonial rule. This rule is noted by the article as being commended and “something to be proud of” from the British viewpoint. The objective of colonialism was to maintain overt control of resources and labor in Africa. But beyond this, British education and monetization of labor forced the destruction of African history.
Next, African leaders were handed pseudo-control of newly formed African nations, which they were not necessarily prepared for. In many cases, the Cold War determined which country would support the leadership of African countries. In many cases, the USSR or the USA supported authoritarian dictators to the detriment of the people of the country so as to maintain access to the country's resources.
Finally, as consciousness started to shift about the inherent wrongness of these actions, aid and financial ‘support’ were directed at African countries to ostensibly help them. However, by giving countries large loans, unfair intellectual property laws and trade deals, and opening their economies to the free-market, western nations once again “screw[ed] over African countries.” The unseen and overt forms of destruction of African prosperity by western countries has been the leading cause of African poverty. The ingrained ignorance and misrepresentation of African history leads even well educated individuals to misunderstand the cause of African poverty.
Lastly, author Eliza Anyangwe concludes a depressing truth about interpretation of ‘Africa’: “Our capacity to see Africa as divergent lets us off the hook so we don’t have to understand our own complicity in the challenges various African countries face today.”
- Profile of author Eliza Anyangwe: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/eliza-anyangwe
- “The west seems to suffer deep anxieties about the precariousness of its civilisation and to have a need for constant reassurance by comparison with Africa.” - Nigerian author Chinua Achebe: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/22/chinua-achebe-grandfather-african-literature-dies-aged-82