This essay was written to explain why Africa is actually poor in order to refute the racists that say it’s poor because of the majority black population. I will probably rewrite this in the future to be more organized and smooth to read but without further ado here is the essay
White Supremacist argument
White supremacists will argue that Africa is poor because of the black population that makes up the vast majority of Africa and that Europeans and descendants of Europeans are naturally superior because they’re white and they use the USA and European countries as examples of this proposed superiority.
This argument self-evidently hold no value whatsoever. In order for such an argument to hold any weight they would have to explain, with evidence, why having less melanin in your skin makes you automatically biologically superior to someone with more melanin in their skin.
Therefore we’ve already thrown this “argument” propagated by white supremacists out of the window and we can move on to why Africa is actually poor and dysfunctional.
The foundation of any and every society that has ever existed on earth, is food and food production. Without food, a society would collapse – This is obvious. Without food the people would be starving, in which case there would be a revolution caused by the lack of bread in the hands of the many.
The foundation of nomadic primitive communal hunter-gatherer societies was, as the name suggests, hunting and gathering. And each societal epoch afterwards also had their own ways of producing food. In the slave society it was the slaves who worked the fields by hand with little help from tools of animals. In feudal society it was the peasant farmers tilling the fields for their lords with plenty help from tools and animals and today in the capitalist society we have the farmer working for their landlords with help from large machinery.
Once humans had developed agriculture along the Fertile Crescent and other places where the soil was good for farming, cities and what we would call now call something resembling modern civilizations (structure wise) started to appear along these areas and thus, we have organized agriculture.
Crop yields and what fruits and vegetables Are produced differ drastically depending on where you are because different crops require suitable climates for whatever you’re growing. What you produce also has a massive impact on your society because as stated before, agriculture is the foundation of which moderns society in built upon.
The largest crop in the UK is wheat and barley. Wheat requires lots of sunlight and temperatures between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius. In the United States one of the largest crops is corn which requires pretty much everything wheat requires to grow but it also requires more nitrogen rich soil making corn an ideal crop in the American Midwest. It would be extremely difficult to grow these crops in tropical or desert-like climates or areas with different soil compositions making them a rare crop in Africa. Usually corn and wheat in Africa are only found along the Nile or in South Africa.
Corn in Africa is their largest Crop yield but it is only found in Northern Africa and South Africa where it is actually possible to grow. In Africa the most widely distributed crop is rice. Rice is an ideal crop for most of Africa. To grow, rice requires tropical lowlands and a long, warm growing season. Rice requires constantly wet soil and is and usually grown in flooded fields.
Why is this important? You may ask yourself. Well, because nutrition is a huge factor in a productive society and depending on your geographical location and ability to grow certain crops, nutrition is limited. In the UK the largest crops are barley and wheat and in the United States the largest crops are corn and wheat. In Africa the two largest crops are corn and rice.
The nutritional values of wheat are far superior to that of corn and rice.
Wheat; per every 100 grams provides us with about 339 calories.
Rice; per every 100 grams provides us with about 130 calories and corn for every 100 grams provides us with roughly 360 calories.
Remember, corn is not available to most of Africa.
In carbohydrates for every 100 grams, wheat, corn and rice, in order listed, produce, 71 grams, 74 grams and 28 grams.
In potassium these same crops per every 100 grams, in the same order, produce, 431 mg, 287 mg and 35mg.
The point being here is that you can get a lot more energy from consuming wheat than you can the same quantity of corn or rice. This meaning wheat is a more valuable crop and largely unavailable in Africa. In Africa, to get the same amount of energy and nutrition as 100 grams of wheat they will have to produce a three or four time larger quantity of rice. This means more African citizens will have to be farmers in order to produce enough nutrition to feed the community.
Another factor in this is the means in which these crops are produced. In the UK and the US more yield can be produced per farmer because of heavy machinery to aid the farmer. In Africa most everything is done by hand. An American farmer can produce about 100 times or more than a single African farmer, not because the American farmer is genetically superior, but because the American has heavy machinery to aid him in crop production.
Hence, way more Africans will have to partake in agriculture production to sustain the community and country. 65% of the African labour force works in agriculture whereas in America and the U.K. It’s less than or is 1%. Leaving more citizens available to read, study, work in industry, science, medicine, services, participate in the arts, etc. which results in a more productive society. Africa does not have such geographical luck therefore they have a weaker foundation to build upon their society than the United States or Europe. Not because of colour, but because of climate and geography.
With all geography aside, everyone knows of the great disorganized mess that Africa is in today. It’s not only a result of their limited food production in the majority of Africa but because of European imperialism.
European imperialism in Africa was at its worst during the scramble for Africa during the 19th century. Basically, during the industrial revolution, at the rate European capitalists were consuming materials they needed more to sustain their production and Africa, being as resource rich (the Congo alone has a potential 21 trillion dollars worth of untapped minerals) and close to Europe as it is was a prime target for the capitalists to wrap their hands around.
All of Africa during this era, with the exception of Liberia and Ethiopia, was dominated by extremely oppressive European powers. The French dominating most of the north and west regions of Africa, the English in the south and east, along with the Germans, Belgians and Italians in other regions scattered across Africa.
Traditional politics and lifestyles in Africa were destroyed by the hand of European imperialism. Many locals were killed, forced into labor or captured and sold as slaves. Due to massive exploitation of African resources during the 19th and early 20th century, materials became more scarce in Africa while at the same time there were massive surpluses of materials being produced with these stolen materials in Europe.
During the imperialist rule of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Belgium under king Leopold II who reigned from 1865-1909. The Congo experienced horrific exploitation and brutality. There was forced labour, villages and customs of the natives were destroyed, the resources massively exploited, traditions of the native tribes had been suppressed and an estimated 10 million Congolese died as a result of this brutality and exploitation under this imperialist rule.
Because rubber and ivory were in high demand there was massive deforestation, elephants were killed at an unsustainable rate and the forced labor endured by the Congolese workers was unbearable. Villages in the Congo were commanded to work for Leopold II and collect rubber or be subject to amputations or death. Workers that did not meet the rubber quotas had their right hands amputated and if they continued to fall behind or refuse to work than they would be executed.
Everyone knows now imperialism in Africa was merely just for personal gains and interests of the rich but back in the age of imperialism in Africa the imperialists would justify it by saying they are “civilizing the savages” of course, if by “civilizing the savages” they mean forcing the natives into unbearable labour to destroy the beauty of their own nature and mercilessly exploit finite resources for nothing more than to better the lives of a wealthy few in Europe and then kill or amputate body parts off of all forced labourers who do not comply or meet quotas; than by all means they surely “civilized” Africa.
Sarcasm aside, in all reality, imperialism caused massive disorganization(which still exists today), famines, death, disease and ruthless exploitation of the forced labourers and the resources they were collecting. That is the taste of imperialism, and all across Africa the Europeans ruled mercilessly with their conquest for more riches and nothing else in mind but that.
Africa today, as a direct the result from the terror and disorganization of European imperialism, limited food production and lack of funds, suffers from power struggles, oppressive governments, battling warlords, genocide and widespread famines and disease. Not because of color or race but simply because of its geography and history.
Guns, germs and steel by Jared Diamond.