upon a time, Africa was considered to be one of
the greatest civilizations on earth. They had an
advanced social and economical structure far beyond
the Europeans. Then came colonization and the total
destruction of this thriving culture. The Europeans
with their "Gun Boat diplomacy" ravaged the countryside,
taking everything of value. Africa was in a tailspin
from which it could not recover.
the confine of globalization, some of the western
economic powers have tried to facilitate their economic
growth by imposing their own economic models. However,
time has shown that this system cannot be sustained
due to expanding debts, depressed world prices for
natural resources, and an increase in farming subsidization
by the industrial countries. Further, industrial
countries have continued without success to reform
their policies toward Africa with the same results.
The world community has to rethink their whole approach
or Africa and other nations like it will continue
to live in the Dark Ages.
major problem is that the world is separated into
two spheres; the rich (north) and the poor (south).
Like any good capitalistic society, the north wants
to get richer. To do so, they must find a way to
increase capacities and decrease costs. With unionized
workers and environmental laws, it becomes extremely
difficult for companies to achieve this goal within
their own borders. So they move south, to take advantage
of the more favorable climate. However, the jobs
that are moving are not for skilled labor but for
basic labor, which does not increase the knowledge
base of the population. In other words, there is
no transfer of knowledge or technology; therefore,
growth cannot be achieved or sustained because the
profits, the technology and the knowledge do not
stay within the border and a greater dependence
is created toward the north.
dependence is by far the greatest challenge underdeveloped
countries face. The exports of underdeveloped countries
taken collectively or separately are mostly farming
or mineral goods and their imports are for the most
part manufactured goods coming from the industrial
countries. In fact, underdeveloped countries depend
far more on industrial countries than industrial
countries depend on them. Statistically speaking,
80 percent of the total world trade is between industrial
countries, compared to trade between underdeveloped
countries and industrial countries, which represents
only 20 percent. This also has the effect of a major
disparity in their trade balance: underdeveloped
countries always end up owing more money to the
underdeveloped countries trade between themselves
less then 20 percent of their total exports and
imports. Therefore, their internal continental trade
structure is less admirable. What is needed in Africa
and other nations like it is a more comprehensive
long-term plan instead of always trying to fix short-term
economic shocks. To do so, they must become more
self-reliant as a region. They must learn how to
depend on each other instead of on industrial countries.
They must basically enclose themselves and develop
their own growth models or face being the industrial
countries' bitch for another millennium.
© 2000 Philippe Duford All Rights Reserved
E. Duford is a Law School student at Ottawa University
with a background in Economics and Political Science.