The Economic Decline and Cultural Degradation of Africa

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The Economic Decline and Cultural Degradation of Africa

While many of Africa's problems result from internal issues such as poor leadership, corruption, population and land degradation, it is clear that western countries have also played a major role in furthering the economic decline and cultural degradation.

By constantly giving handouts and aids to African governments, western countries have made these African nations to become dependent on these types of assistance rather than focusing on growing their own economies. Other issues involve taking more than they give, encouraging social vices such as corruption and hurting local industries such as the clothing industry.


Africa's underlying problems are land degradation and climate change which go on to affect agricultural activities which are the major economic driving forces in these nations.
Additionally, problems such as population swells, soil degradation, erosion and global food prices have resulted in increased pressure on land in African countries.
According to data from NASA satellites, there is extensive degradation of land in Africa with "studies showing that more than 40 million Africans are trying to survive off land whose agricultural potential is declining". Climate change has made the situation even worse. With scientists predicting desertification, droughts and hunger in most African countries, it is clear that food security will be a serious issue in a few years to come.


Corruption and illicit flow of financial resources from Africa to western countries have negatively impacted the economy of African countries. According to an official of the UNECA, at least 1 trillion dollars have left the continent illegally to western nations over the last 50 years. In 2012, African countries sent 2 trillion dollars more to western countries than they received in terms of aids.
Corruption has resulted in state failure and poor governance in African countries. According to the African Union, an estimated 25 percent of Africa's GDP is lost due to corruption.
In 2016, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) released a report that showed that the increasing levels of corruption in African countries were majorly due to "the blind eye often turned to corrupt people by western nations".
The African governance report IV indicates that there is a good amount of evidence showing that illicit financial flows out of African countries are as a result of operations of foreign players.


Recently, the Trump administration questioned how much of the aid given to Africa by the US is likely to be used in fraud, corruption waste and abuse. Over the years, African countries have become overly dependent on foreign aids, handouts and loans much of which do little or nothing to help with economic, development and food problems in these countries.
The president of Ghana, argued that aid from foreign countries is unsustainable and harmful to both countries. In a speech in London, he said that African countries should not be "beggars of the world" and should strive to be self dependent by utilizing the available resources to enable social and economic development.
A study carried out in 2014 showed that 20 African countries owed 390 billion as foreign debt. Since 1980, a total of 16.3 trillion dollars has been drained out of African countries as payment of debts and investment returns for investments done by western countries.


Dependency on foreign goods has led to deterioration of local industries in African nations. A good example is the clothing industry. Donated clothes from the U.S. end up being sold cheaply in African nations thus making it difficult for the local clothing industries to grow. East African Community's recent proposal to ban secondhand clothing imports was not well-received by the U.S., with the US Trade Representative (USTR) threatening to impose trade sanctions on African nations if the proposal goes through.


With the continued increase in social, technical, cultural and political interdependence between nations, people are now more interconnected than ever before. Rapid improvements in the internet and communication technology has led to more cultural exchange with the African culture being extensively affected. With more exposure to western cultures most people in African nations, especially the youth, are now emulating western lifestyles leading to degradation of the African culture.


While land degradation and poor leadership are internal problems that have led to economic decline in African countries, most of Africa's problems have been caused by western nations. African nations have become overly dependent on aids and handouts from western nations and thus have not been able to focus on their own economies. Hurting local industries and encouraging or turning a blind eye to corruption are also ways in which western nations have played a role in causing economic decline in African nations.

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