Who Impoverished Africa?


Who Impoverished Africa?

Africa as a continent is blessed with abundance of material resources, which includes arable land for agriculture. But these resources are yet to be fully operationalized in the lives of the African people. According to the World Bank, more than a quarter of the hungry in the world live on the African continent. One fifth of people living in Africa are considered malnourished.  the average poverty rate of the Sub-Saharan African stands at about 41% of the world’s 28 poorest countries, 27 are domiciled in Africa, all with a poverty of above 30%. 

African Marxist Scholars like Walter Rodney (1972), Claude Ake (1981) and Samir et al (1987) were quick to blame the western countries of Europe and America responsible for Africa’s under development. The theory of slave trade, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, dependency and globalization was fully utilized to examine and expand their arguments. Although, Western Scholars counter-veiled their arguments and disregard the disposition of the African apologists. However, theory of modernization was used by the Western apologist to explain the African failure to catch up with the modern states realities. As explained by Ashley (2019), Modernization theory emerged in the 1980s as an explanation of how the industrial societies of North America and Western societies of Europe did developed. The theory argues that development in fairly predictable stages which involves:



Rationalization (Scientific) 


Mass consumption 

The adoption of democracy 

This is to say, the Africa’s underdevelopment is premises on the continent inability to leverage systematically on the pathway so provided by the Europeans to achieve similar form of development as did the Western nations. 

The Western stereotype of development drew criticism from non-Western countries. As further noted by Ashley (2019). The Western modernization theory failed to account for the West reliance on colonization, slave labour, and  the exploitation of natural resources necessary for the pace and scale of development according to the White Supremacy.


However, Matunhu (2011) conceived modernization as a concept rooted in Capitalism imposed on African countries without regards to the existing economic and political systems in place, which was intended to raise the standard of living of the poor but often consist of disseminating knowledge and information about a more efficient technique of production.

As expanded by Rodney (1972) and Samir et al (1987) there was claim that the economies in Africa used advanced African technology and techniques, this revelation shows that before the first encounter with European idea of development, Africa had already founded its path to development.

But because the individual was not the centerpiece of modernization rather the urban city area, to enable the White Supremacy consolidate their stronghold for economic exploitation, the experiment was quick to pass for an elephant project which  completely isolate the  African people from the center of attraction especially those living in the rural areas. Hence, modernization which according to the European apologist was meant to improve the standard of living and generally improved production of goods and services for the African people became their worst nightmare.

Chinua Achebe (1958) noted that the central trust of modernization theory was disguised in nature to the advantage of the super-ordinate rather than the sub-ordinate. Hence “Things Fall Apart”, the end result was that modernization experiment in the African context became a total failure. 

For Samir et al (1987) Modernization impoverished Africa through colonialism and imperialism by which the Western nations depleted the continent’s resources to sustained their growing demands for raw materials back home, and to search for new markets for their under-consumption goods occasioned by industrialization. 

Why Sustained this Argument?

However, colonialism and counter argument is long gone, but the post-colonial states of Africa particularly the Sub-Saharan Africa seems too locked up in endless visual circles of poverty and impoverishment. But for Igwe (2010) the impoverishment of Africa should not be blamed on the colonialist but rather on the leadership failure of the continent. Amir (2014) affirmed similar view as Igwe, and Ourspeech.com was quick to highlight the following as the remote causes of poverty in Africa:

  • Corruption 

  • Poor governance

  • Limited employment opportunities 

  • Poor infrastructure

  • Poor resource usage

  • War and unending rivalry/conflict

  • Poor World Bank and IMF policies.

My Submission

Regardless of colonialism and its exploitation, the African leaders failed the continent, hence impoverished its citizenry. The continent has become a burial ground for its ruler, when they attained power and consolidate their power, they practically rule their people from foreign land, when they are sick, and they traveled abroad for medical checkup. Their family practically schooled in foreign land, the resources of the continent is launder abroad to live a luxury lifestyle. The only time, the African ruler remembers its people, is when they died in foreign and need to be buried in the continent. Poor political leadership informs the bad governance, which is the greatest barrier to socio-economic development.


A brief guide to modernization theory, Ashley Crossman, September 2019. Published in thoughtco.com

Access 2nd  of March, 2020

A critique of modernization and dependency theories in Africa: Critical Assessment: J. Matunhu (2011) African Journal of History and Culture Vol. 3. (5) PP 65-72 June 2011.

Samir A, Chitala D, Mandaza I (1987). SADCC Prospectus for  Disengagement and Development in Southern Africa: Studies in African Political Economy-United Nations University, London: ZED Books Ltd.

Rodney W (1972). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Dar es Salaam: Tanzanian Publishing House. 

Ake C, (1981) A Political Economy of Africa (new York, Longman, Inc)

Igwe stanley, (2010) How Africa Underdeveloped  Africa, Journal of Africa, 82-1/2 2012

Amir Abdulazeez, (2014), HOW AFRICANS UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA, Journal of Africa,  page 145 2018

Ouspeech.com ,  The remote causes of poverty in Africa, access 3rd march 2020



Hollar hormorh
03 Mar

Africa would have be the unique continent, we are the most talented. Our leaders cause the mistrie happening to us. We are the great. I'm happy to be African



Obasi Ifegwu
03 Mar

It is still the most unique continent. It's just a matter of time.



Kieu Viet
03 Mar

That's right, you guys are awesome. I'm Asian, nice to meet you, ...



preview not available Osato Jegede
03 Mar

I agreed with you 



Awotunde Afolasade
03 Mar

Mismanagement of resources by our past leaders and theft has caused Africans more harm than good 



Captain Philips
03 Mar

Honestly, colonial masters did Cos they were busy building and stealing resources instead of empowering our older leaders with the right skills to evolve and grow their knowledge. This was passed down till this present days no clue African Leaders.



Tijani Qudus
03 Mar

We are gifted in Africa but we are selling our own resources to outsiders, it's a pity. 



Paajohnny Qkueqku
03 Mar

Corruption has taken the roots of Africa, our leaders steal from the innocent poor citizens of our countries and fill their pockets with that. They will do all kinds of things to be rich themselves. We are suffering because of the kind of leaders we have.



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