Western Influence: The Unseen Control Over Africa

Western Influence The Unseen Control Over Africa

The historical script of Africa has been punctuated with interference from Western powers, hinged on personal interests. A deep-dive into the annals of the late 1800s uncovers the onset of this hegemonic relationship. Armed with superior technology and a pang of relentless hunger for expansion, the Western world penetrated the rich expanse of Africa. They were met with an abundance of resources, warm-hearted people, and fertile land. The primary obstacle, ironically, was the very inhabitants of the land.

The narrative of Western imperialism was one of violent dispossession. Colonisation saw the murder and enslavement of indigenous populations, driven by the West’s technological advantage. This dark era was shrouded in a faux paternalistic concern for the African populace, as epitomised in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The White Man’s Burden’. Published in 1899, this poem painted the West’s colonisation as a noble duty, justifying Africa’s exploitation in the name of civilising the continent.

One stark illustration of this exploitative agenda was the Berlin Conference of 1884. This gathering of Western powerhouses, including Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, and Italy, divided Africa’s landmass without any regard for the cultural and ethnic ties of its people. Africa, in essence, was carved up like a cake on a Western dinner table.

Africa’s resurgence in the mid-1900s brought waves of independence. Yet, these fledgling nations were left to grapple with the remnants of hastily assembled local governments, a tragic inheritance from their former colonisers.

In 2002, all African countries, bar Morocco, unified to form the African Union (AU). The AU aims to facilitate economic and political growth and counterbalance the historical scars of colonisation and apartheid. However, given its relative infancy compared to institutions like the EU and NATO, the AU remains at a disadvantage in the international arena.

Read Also: Europe Lacks The Morality To Pontificate For Africa

This imbalance is also evident in sectors like education. Hungary, for instance, enjoys a literacy rate of 99%, while Mali, an African country, lags behind with just 26%. Additionally, issues such as malnutrition and disease persist, largely due to the misappropriation of resources by external forces and internal corruption.

Despite these hardships, Africa’s economic importance cannot be understated. With vast reserves of diamonds, oil, and other natural resources, Africa is a pivotal player in the global economy. Beyond economics, there is a moral imperative for the West to acknowledge and redress the enduring effects of its historical dominance.

Presently, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) form a bulwark against the consequences of past exploitations. Through promoting education, political stability, human rights, and economic equality, NGOs offer a glimmer of hope in an international system fraught with disparities.

The ghost of Western dominance haunts Africa, its impact pervading every facet of life. The ‘helping hand’ of the West has, in reality, been a hand of control and exploitation. Recognising and confronting this historical injustice is a critical step towards forging a more balanced global community.

A peace-keeping body for global governance, the United Nations, holds the responsibility of fostering international tranquility. However, in the face of the persistent exploitation of Africa by Western powers, the concept of peace becomes a distant reality. Notwithstanding the opinion that Africa does not require aid, the glaring evidence paints a picture of a continent under systemic exploitation.

Over the years, the Western world has been involved in Africa’s systematic plundering. One conspicuous example of this is the phenomenon of ‘land grabbing,’ where foreign entities seize vast tracts of African agricultural land. This practice, intensified after the 2007-2008 global food price crisis, has resulted in the displacement of local communities, environmental degradation, and escalated food insecurity.

In terms of resources, Africa is a treasure trove of minerals, yet the majority of the profits from these resources flow not to the African people but to Western corporations. A prime example is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which possesses an abundance of cobalt, an essential component for electric vehicle batteries. Despite these riches, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with most mining profits being siphoned off by foreign entities.

The issue extends beyond the mere extraction of tangible resources. The ‘brain drain’ effect, spurred on by Western corporations, lures away Africa’s most skilled professionals, weakening the continent’s human capital base and inhibiting socio-economic development while disproportionately benefiting Western nations.

Moreover, Africa’s portrayal in Western media often feeds into harmful stereotypes and narratives that disempower the continent and its people. These distortions serve to distract from the West’s historical and ongoing exploitative practices and discourage scrutiny of the West’s role in Africa’s challenges.

These stark realities necessitate a pressing call to action. It is time for Africa to reclaim its autonomy and resist the systemic pillage of its resources, both human and natural. Africa is not merely a collection of nations grappling with hardship; it is a continent teeming with potential and resilience, defined by its rich cultural heritage.

The United Nations, embodying international order, must facilitate this awakening. It bears the onus to demand that Western powers cease their exploitative practices. Systemic change, not charity, is the solution. Only by recognising and confronting these exploitative dynamics can we pave the path for a fairer, more peaceful, and more prosperous Africa.

In sum, Western dominance over Africa is not a historical artifact; it is an ongoing reality that shapes present-day conditions. It is high time for the international community, under the leadership of the United Nations, to confront these uncomfortable truths and foster an environment that genuinely promotes Africa’s self-determined growth and development.

The narrative of Africa’s story must change, and this shift begins with a collective awakening. Africa must rise to a new level of consciousness, realising its power and value, and reclaiming control over its resources, both human and natural.

Africa’s potential is immense. Boasting a young, rapidly growing population, rich cultural diversity, and vast natural resources, the continent has all it needs to be a major player on the global stage. Yet centuries of exploitation and systemic injustice have left Africa and its people wrestling with the shadows of the past. The shackles of colonial legacy, perpetuated by ongoing Western dominance, continue to hamper the continent’s progress.

However, this does not define Africa’s future. The continent can and must rise above these challenges. Africans must empower themselves, individually and collectively, to resist Western control. This means investing in education to foster a knowledgeable and skilled workforce, driving innovation, and fostering socio-economic development.

Critical to this transformation is the recognition of Africa’s inherent value. Africa must resist the narrative that its wealth lies in its raw materials alone. Rather, its true wealth resides in its people, their ingenuity, resilience, and diverse cultural heritage.

A shift towards self-reliance will allow Africa to assert control over its resources. This requires stringent regulations on foreign corporations, comprehensive reforms in the governance and management of resources, and the promotion of local enterprises. It also necessitates the cultivation of African leadership that prioritizes the interests of the people and the continent over external entities.

Moreover, Africans need to challenge and change the damaging stereotypes propagated by Western media. By telling their own stories, Africa can redefine its image on the global stage, shifting from a narrative of dependence to one of strength and self-determination.

In essence, this is a call for an African Renaissance—a resurgence of African identity, a revival of its strengths, and a commitment to a future defined by Africans themselves. This resurgence should not be mistaken for isolationism; rather, it is about engaging with the world as equals, not as subordinates.

The United Nations and the global community can play a supporting role in this transformation, but the driving force must come from within Africa. The international community must respect Africa’s sovereignty, stop exploiting its resources, and start engaging with the continent as an equal partner.

The path to such a transformation will not be easy. It will demand courage, determination, and unity. Yet, it is an achievable goal. In the words of African proverbs, ‘Unity is strength; division is weakness.’

In conclusion, Africa’s future rests in the hands of its people. The time for Africa to rise, resist Western dominance, and reclaim control over its destiny is now. Only then can the true potential of this vibrant, resilient continent be realised.

Africa Digital News, New York