Saturday, February 13, 2016

Neocolonialism in West Africa

I am currently reading Samir Amin's Neocolonialism in West Africa which is nearly as old as I am. The economic problems and obstacles to development in the region he points to are almost exactly the same as the ones faced today. Unfortunately, the policies during colonial rule and the first decade of independence that created these problems are also the same as today. One crop primary commodities like cocoa for Ghana still dominate the various national economies of the region. There has been very little diversification and no successful move to either import substitution industry or value added manufacture export. Instead Ghana continues to rely excessively on the export of cheap raw cacao to fund the importation of virtually everything including basic food staples and things like toilet paper. It is kind of depressing to realize just how little real economic progress has been made in West Africa in my life time. There has been some growth benefiting the wealthy and politically connected classes that are closely associated with the Asian, European, Lebanese, and White South African owned companies that totally dominate the economy here. But, there has been no real development of any type of independent indigenous industry in the more than forty years since Nkrumah died.

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