Leading up to and in the wake of Live 8, there are many opinions being expressed about Africa and its rather impoverished state. Blogs have been written as we try to come to grips with this topic. In most cases we blog sincerely and to the best of our ability but without much expertise.
The following article in The Toronto Star is written by Paul Dodds who appears to be genuinely knowledgeable on this topic. Interestingly, he posits that Africa might benefit from less, not more, global interference. Here is an excerpt.
Africans grew their own food, built their own houses, healed their diseases, developed their own transportation systems and created their own art, myths and music. This involved a vast array of skills and considerable knowledge. Colonization marked a brutal disruption of all of it. Africans were taken from their villages and farms in order to work in mines and on plantations. There they learned skills required to take a subservient role in the production of goods that other people wanted.
When the supply of these natural resources failed, when European demand for the goods faltered or when a cheaper source for them was found elsewhere in the world, these industries died and Africans were faced with economic and social collapse. Africans had lost the knowledge, infrastructure and the social arrangements needed to take care of themselves.
But why did Canada, the United States and Australia not end up poor if colonization is the cause of Africa's poverty? Ironically, these regions were blessed with being relatively resource poor. There was no gold or silver in those colonies. The early immigrants who arrived here came not to exploit wealth but to develop their own self-sufficient societies. Because we were resource poor we were left relatively alone by the colonizing power.
It is instructive to note that the native populations in these same developed nations continue to live at a level of poverty comparable to that of Africa. Our colonization, unlike that in Africa, never ceased and on both continents the original inhabitants remain impoverished.
Read the entire article at The Toronto Star.