The picture above represents the Human Development Index. Created in 2013, it shows areas with high or low life expectancy, income and education. As you can see most of Africa with the exception of the South and the North have a very Low Human development index.
There are a few reasons why this happened, and i will proceed to explain as much as i can so feel free to contribute in the comments section.
You see – In the world which we live in today, Africa is usually referred to as the “Dark continent” – Poverty, Violence and corruption are regarded as the norm in Africa. The media places a magnifying glass on the problems in Africa, sometimes urging foreign governments to “help” Africa.
Most African countries suffer from the Dutch disease
The dutch disease is an economical paradox which simply refers to negative consequences that arises from sudden increases in a country’s income. Large amounts of foreign support and the discovery of abundant natural resources can lead to a sudden increase in a country’s income which in turn produces less incentives/narrows the economic focus for the country to improve their manufacturing industry – An example of this is Nigeria and Oil.
Nigeria is blessed with crude oil most of which was found in the Oil boom of the 70’s. But how many indigenous companies extract this oil in Nigeria ?? Probably zero – It’s all BP, CHEVRON, SHELL and the likes. Nigeria depends solely on her ability to naturally provide Oil rather than improve other areas and aspects of their economy. Foreign aid doesn’t make things better, it terminates local entrepreneurship, allows corrupt politicians to rob the nation blind or experiment with senseless policies.
On the instance of foreign aid – In order to qualify for certain aid programmes a country’s GDP must fall under a certain threshold. Corrupt governments will therefor under-report economic performance in order to qualify for this aid – This is why Nigeria for example has delayed re-basing their GDP because it would result to a higher GDP figure and Nigeria may no longer qualify for certain aid programmes. Corrupt government officials wouldn’t want this to happen because they are the sole beneficiaries of Foreign Aid. Therefore some economies may be more developed than their “statistics” suggest.
Another problem facing Africa today is the Charity porn influx instigated by the western media.
you won’t see these kind of images portraying Africa – The media doesn’t allow that because it won’t generate enough “sympathy” for the charities, what they would rather let you see is this — Hungry African child = Africans can’t take care of themselves = More aid = Kills local entrepreneurship which is very crucial in building a strong economy. Africa isn’t in control of her image, the charity/poverty porn does more harm than good in Africa.
Finally, Majority of the Tribal boundaries aren’t consistent with the Governmental boundaries which were set from the colonial days.
You see most of Africa remains a colonial construct formed by colonial masters for geopolitical and trade interests. Different tribes are amalgamated together to become one country – Tribes who do not have anything in common. A declassified file from the British counsel dating back to the Nigerian civil war stated thus-
“The priorities for London were maintaining the unity of Nigeria for Geo-political interests and protecting British oil interests.”
Just incase you do not remember, the British forces supported Nigeria in the late 60’s when Biafra tried to claim independence from Nigeria – it has been estimated that between 1-3million people died because the British and Russian forces supplied arms to Nigeria whilst food and supplies were blocked from reaching Biafra. Some of these actions have lasting impacts on Africa – In the case of Nigeria, tensions still remain between the largely Islamic northern region and largely Christian Eastern region.
The thing is, Africa is a very beautiful place, with rich culture and natural resources – Corruption exists everywhere – Africa is just seen as more corrupt than other regions because we have no power over our image.
If you don’t think America or the United Kingdom is corrupt, then tell me what American soldiers are still doing in Iraq and Afghanistan today ? Where are the weapons of mass destruction they claimed Saddam was hiding ? The Economic crisis of 2008 – Where do you think it stemmed from?
Someone once said to me – “If Foreign Aid really worked, Africa would be the most developed place on the planet.”
Your comments and contributions are very welcome.