Rodney argues that a combination of power politics and economic exploitation of Africa by Europeans led to the poor state of African political and economic development evident in the late 20th century. First published inthe book was enormously influential in the study of African history. This book was groundbreaking in that it was among the first to bring a new perspective to the question of underdevelopment in Africa. Rodney had determined that the only path to true human development and liberation for the majority of the people of his country was through the transformation of their own lives in a struggle to replace and reshape the neo-colonialist government that dominated their society and prescribed their existence.
Nonetheless, the book became much better, in my opinion, when it arrived at the main subject, the exploitation of Africa and Africans by Europeans.
The last three chapters cover the period of slavery, the period of colonialism, independence, and "the supposed benefits of colonialism for Africa".
These chapters are full of excellent material that remains highly relevant given that Europeans continue to assert that colonialism was beneficial and to exploit African countries and other regions.
Like many texts, this one makes clear how Europeans gained our wealth through plunder and exploitation. It seems obvious that this would cause economic problems for the preyed-on region, but I had never thought of this, because I had not grasped the sheer scale of that slave trade.
Bythe amount of European manufactured goods purchasable by the same quantity of African raw materials had fallen still further. There was no objective economic law which determined that primary produce should be worth so little.
Indeed, the developed countries sold certain raw materials like timber and wheat at much higher prices than a colony could command. The explanation is that the unequal exchange was forced upon Africa by the political and military supremacy of the colonizers, just as in the sphere of international relations unequal treaties were forced on small states in the dependencies, like those in Latin America" - Colonies were taxed.
Africans paid for "the upkeep of the governors and police who oppressed them and served as watchdogs for private capitalists In effect, therefore, the colonial governments never put a penny into the colonies.
A great deal of this forced labor went into the construction of roads, railways and ports to provide the infrastructure for private capitalist investment and to facilitate the export of cash crops. Taking only one example from the British colony of Sierra Leone, one finds that the railway which started at the end of the nineteenth century required forced labour from thousands of peasants driven from the villages.
The hard work and appalling conditions led to the death of a large number of those engaged in work on the railway. In British territories, this kind of forced labor including juvenile labor was widespread enough to call forth in a "Native Authority Ordinance" restricting the use of compulsory labor for porterage, railway and road building.
More often than not, means were found of circumventing this legislation. An international Forced Labor Convention was signed by all colonial powers inbut again it was flouted in practice.
It is our contention that this is completely false. Colonialism had only one hand - it was a one-armed bandit. What did colonial governments do in the interest of Africans? Supposedly, they built railroads, schools, hospitals and the like. The sum total of these services was amazingly small.
For those chosen few, the British colonial government maintained a segregated hospital service of 11 beds in well-furnished surroundings.
There were 34 beds for the half-million blacks [ Social services to which Africans did have access were provided solely to facilitate exploitation. Where exports were not available, roads and railways had no place.What caused Africa’s underdevelopment is a complex issue.
Europe’s past (and present) exploitation of Africa played a significant part. Before the Europeans arrived in Africa, Africa had vibrant economic, social and political structures.
The Africa trade is dominated by diverse natural resources that the continent enjoys in abundance. However, trade varies from one country to another. Countries such as South Africa represent the higher side of the spectrum whereas regions such as Burundi have the least trade volumes.
A majority of African countries are underdeveloped and therefore, rely heavily on foreign aids to survive. Before a bomb ended his life in the summer of , Walter Rodney had created a powerful legacy.
This pivotal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, had already brought a new perspective to the question of underdevelopment in Africa. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney The Strengthening of Technological and Military Aspects of Capitalism Chapter Six.
Colonialism as a System for. The decisiveness of the short period of colonialism and its negative consequences for Africa spring mainly from the fact that Africa lost power. Power is the ultimate determinant in human society, being basic to the relations within any group and between groups.
It implies the ability to defend one /5.
North Africa experienced colonisation from Europe and Western Asia in the early historical period, particularly Greeks and Phoenicians.. Under Egypt's Pharaoh Amasis (– BC) a Greek mercantile colony was established at Naucratis, some 50 miles from the later Alexandria.
Greeks also colonised Cyrenaica around the same time. There was also an attempt in BC to establish a Greek colony.