Africa is the world’s second largest continent and is home to some of the most beautiful countries in the world with some of the most unique landscapes and wildlife which is why it is a top holiday destination. It is also a land of cultural and linguistic diversity. Over a quarter of all of the different languages that are spoken in the world are spoken in Africa in their relative regions.
Africa has a large quantity of natural resources, including diamonds, sugar, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, and cocoa beans, but also tropical timber and tropical fruit. Recently discovered oil reserves have increased the importance of the commodity on African economies. As we said earlier, Africa is home to some great resources sought after by the Western world. Almost half of the gold ever mined on Earth has come from Africa, and more specifically, from Witwatersrand in South Africa.
Both the cultural diversity and the rich mineral and natural resources of the continent could have been factors that play meaningful role for the development of the continent. However, due to the successive problems the continent faced it still remains poor and backward.
One of the challenges to the continents advancement was colonization. With a low population density, Africa has been colonized by non-African nations from the 16th century, all exploiting African resources to varying degrees. Some economists have argued this history of outside exploitation demonstrates the ‘scourge of raw materials’ problem.
After waging formidable struggle, African states have liberated themselves from the yoke of colonialism decades ago. What remains throughout the years was the impact of the colonial period which can be called cultural colonialism.
The term cultural colonialism refers to the extension of colonial state power through cultural knowledge, activities, and institutions (particularly education and media) or the systematic subordination of one conceptual framework or cultural identity over others.
By now Africa is attractive in many ways to everyone in the world. Indeed we can say that all eyes are on Africa. China, Japan, Turkey, USA, India … etc have formed strong trade and investment ties with Africa. The economic, trade and investment with these partners differs from the past. It is carried out under the auspices of the continental umbrella organization to reap mutual benefit.
As can be recalled Africa has suffered a lot during colonial period. It has lost its generation, resources, cultural dignity. But through struggle, it became free. Somehow the continent started to practice decision free on its own. It is now free to decide its diplomatic, economic ties with the rest of the world.
AS a result it is now enjoying good tries with these countries. Indeed Africa is part and parcel of the globe and cannot remain an island. So it is good that it is actively working on boosting bilateral trade. Yet there are two important points the continent should consider. First it has to work further on boosting intra Africa trade. People of the continent have a right to reap the benefits, economic or other, from the trade with in the continent.
Second, it has to move towards balancing its trade with the rest of the world and then outweigh the trade in due course. This may seem an ambitious wish. But if Africans reawaken their will power and reclaim their cultural dignity it is a good potential for development.
In deed countries of the world are eying on Africa in search of the raw material and cheap labor. This is a selfish approach that can leave the continent with no accumulation of asset and treading only in a vicious cycle.
But Africans can compete by producing their own brands. In order to do that Africans should resume their struggle against the impacts of the cultural colonialism. Through this they can join the global market as capable competitors and achieve better economic and political position. Therefore, they have to value their own culture. If they don’t value their culture no one will.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The
BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM
FRIDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2022