Underdevelopment is one of the key issues that have affected Africa since time in memorial. This concept can be defined as a condition where the resources of the country are not utilized to realize their full potential. The area experiences slow local development. Underdevelopment is an elaborate process that emanates from a number of factors, such as lack of exploitation of available resources or capital to start economic activities. These interplays pose a key threat to the undeveloped nations. The eminent characteristics for this state are the large gap between the rich and the poor people. The high underdevelopment in Africa can be blamed on the foreign institutions as well as Europeans who occupied African nations during the ancient times. The European countries played a sufficient role in the decline of African economy. Therefore, the paper l argues that the European nations, as well as the foreign institutions, promoted underdevelopment in Africa.
At first, European nations contributed to underdevelopment in Africa through the introduction of the slave trade exposed with respect to the local population a long time before colonization, in the pre-colonial period. Although the opinion exists that the slave trade benefited both the Africans and the Europeans, I believe that it only helped the African slave traders but it never aided in the development of Africa as a whole. Slave trade is reported to have caused a massive migration of Africans from their original homeland to European nations. Slave trend was a major blow to the African economies. This process disrupted African economic activities as Africans left their domestic working environment, and they were shipped to foreign lands to provide labor overseas. The slave trade focused on sending the energetic and knowledgeable people who could have steered the African economies forward. As a result, this phenomenon left Africa with the old people who could not enhance the domestic economic development. Resources that could have been exploited for economic activities were never exploited. The consequence of these circumstances was continuous underdevelopment characterized by absolute poverty. Agricultural activities were mainly affected since the African nations did not have workers. On the other hand, the slave trade led to security threats. Many communities who participated in the trade acquired a lot of weapons. The same contributed to insecurity, and commerce among the neighboring communities was negatively affected. Trade could not thrive because communities started treating each other with suspicion. Regional African trade collapsed due to the slave trade; underdevelopment became eminent. The disrupted economic activities, depleted sources of labor, as well as the lack of exploitation of available resources, are the major factors reinforced by Europeans that led to underdevelopment of Africa during the pre-colonial period.
The colonial era is another example demonstrating massive underdevelopment of Africa and revealing the contribution of Europeans to this process. While the statements exist that Africans benefited from infrastructure development, Europeans simply exploited Africans. During the colonial period, the Europeans grabbed African resources, such as land, leaving the local nationals with small parcels of land. The colonial period was marked by massive exploitation of Africans. When the Europeans seized all the productive lands, they did more harm by employing the Africans as the laborers. For instance, the Africans were paid with peanuts, which made their opportunities to develop their own economies impossible. Furthermore, the primary goal of the Europeans at this time was to provide raw materials for their domestic industries. Thus, the Europeans exploited valuable minerals in Africa, and they used them to develop their countries, while the African economies were left with no valuable resources. Apart from that, they never intended to promote the Africans in any way. To illustrate, the roads that they constructed and other infrastructure were not meant for the use of Africans but made to ensure that Europeans could easily transport their products. The above facts confirm my argument that the underdevelopment in Africa relates closely to the exploitation of local residents and resources by European nations.
The European states also played a significant role in the underdevelopment of Africa during the post-colonialism era. Since the Europeans believed that Africans could not steer their economies forward alone, they never pulled out completely. They continued to exploit Africans in indirect ways. For example, such institution, as International Monetary Fund (IMF) started giving Africans aids and grants. The idea of issuing loans was not wrong, but the loans came with conditions that were meant to exploit the Africans. The funds were delivered as a package with strict conditions on what was to be done, and it was also coupled with high-interest rates. The African nations still feel the effect of this unfair deal today. Moreover, the European influence on Africa did not end after colonization. Europeans did not surrender African resources. Regardless of that Africans were seemingly given independence, they never got the full rights to exploit their resources for their economic progress. This issue had negative impacts on the economic development of African nations. The African economy continued to experience decline, despite that the colonization was over. This situation happened because their key resources remained in the hands of Europeans. Therefore, this point also confirms my argument that Europeans are to be blamed for the economic decline of African nations. The opponents present an idea different from my opinion. The representatives of this side of the argument ascertain that foreign nations should not be blamed for the economic challenges that have plagued Africa. They assert that if advanced states had not invaded Africa, the locals would still live in the darkness. The Africans had all the resources, but they were rendered useless due to the lack of technology to exploit the same. Europeans provided technology that aided in exploitation of the resources. Moreover, African nations did not have the appropriate conditions to steer up economic activities, such as infrastructure. However, I tend to refute their position because, for example, the roads that were created were meant to facilitate easier transportation of European products. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Europeans provided jobs for the Africans, and as a result , the economic status of the Africans improved. Nonetheless, the type of employment provided was meant to exploit Africans.
In addition, the opponents have a strong perception that the Europeans steered the little economic development that is seen in Africa today. They argue that the Europeans contributed much in setting the economic base for Africans. For example, the foreigners provided Africans with a sufficient economic foundation through enhancement of skills that were vital for the development. In particular, the Europeans equipped them with agricultural skills that they never had. At the same time, the opponents fail to recognize that Europeans exploited Africans in the name of providing the skills as they used African resources for development of their industries.
I believe that Europeans caused economic decline in Africa. Their contribution can be evidenced from the time of the slave trade up to the time of post-colonial era. During the pre-colonial era, the European nations engaged in slave trade which had negative economic impacts on Africa. Things became worse during the colonial period since the Europeans massively exploited African resources. The trend did not even stop after the end of colonialism and Europeans continued to exploit Africans economically.