Colonialism In Africa Essay

10. Africa and the International Community The continent of Africa has faced and continues to deal with many problems due to its geography, colonialism, and economic exploitation. Africa contains roughly 1/3 of the primary commodities in the world, yet it is one of the poorest regions. Geography on the African continent is diverse from deserts to rain forests and beaches to mountain ranges. The pure size of the continent and some extreme environments has made it challenging to develop infrastructure and regional international trade.

Ethnic conflict on the continent, primarily due to colonialism and arbitrary boundaries, has also hindered the development of the region. Africans often have a stronger allegiance to their ethnic group than their nation and this can create challenges as countries attempt to unify and develop. The African people have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest birth rates in the world. This leads to an extremely young general population in comparison to other regions, which can create problems due to lack of experience.

Throughout history, Africa has been taken advantage of by Westerners who exploit the people and land for their own profit. The West and other countries like China continue to hold influence over the Africa continent due to its import dependence for foreign aid, technology, and goods. As Africa works continues to develop it faces many political, economic, state building, and trade challenges. The United Nations reported that Africa contained the most countries susceptible to political and economic failure. Many living standards in Africa have actually digressed since the 1980’s.

The continent also struggles economically because it exports mainly raw materials, which are often cheap, and must import finished product, which are more expensive and would make the continent more money if they could develop the goods within Africa. Government corruption is another issue that many Africa nations face with an estimated $150 billion lost annually. Africa also has difficulties retaining those with higher educations, when nations do invest efforts into providing education, because they can often get better or higher paying careers in other regions.

In recent years international focus have been placed on Africa for its crude oil. This is good for many African nations, but may only be a temporary solution if the revenue is not properly invested in the economy and supportive of healthy development without corruption. While Africa has faced many hardships and struggles to develop, most Africans are hopeful about the future. Their motivation and perseverance will them to continue to work on economic, education, and health care improvements as well as working to eradicate corruption from government systems.

11. The Middle East The Middle East is one of the most diverse regions in the world with extreme differences in wealth, religion, and history between the nations that compose the area. Many religions were created in the Middle East, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. The term Middle East is a little confusing because there is not technically a middle region, since the world is round and not flat. Another confusing aspect to the region name is that some North African countries, the Maghreb, are considered part of the region.

One of the common denominators of Middle Eastern nations is Arab nationalism, with most countries considering themselves part of the Arab world, which is predominately Muslim. While most Middle Eastern countries are predominately Muslim they differ in their dominate type of Islam practiced, Shia or Sunni, and this can cause conflict in the area. This region of the world has a rich history with many ancient cities forming in this region due to the Fertile Crescent, which is an area of land with an environment conducive to agriculture.

For a time, most of the Middle East was a part of the Ottoman Empire. After the fall of the empire many Middle Eastern countries were colonized until World War II when many Western countries could not afford to maintain colonies. In many Middle Eastern countries, tribal sentiments exist and influence political, social, and economic conditions. This region of the world contains some of the richest and poorest nations in the world. Most of the allocation states, that do not created revenue through taxes, make money off of oil exports and are rich.

Other countries in the region are often production states that do derive revenue from labor and taxes are often poorer in comparison to their oil producing neighbors, creating wide spread economic disparity. Organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have also added to the poverty of poor nations in the region through huge loans and structural adjustment programs. The Middle East contains religious and ethnic conflict, most notably with the State of Israel. This conflict actually stems from European secularism and nationalism.

The British government took control of Palestine from the Ottomans and established it as a nation for Jewish people. This created a major problem because Palestinians had been living in that area for a long period of time. The violence and lack of coexistence between Jewish and Palestinian people has stemmed a lot of conflict in the region. In recent years many Middle Eastern people have called for political change, stemming the Arab Spring in many countries, some civil resistance proving more successful than others.

12. Latin America Latin America, like many other regions of the world, has been significantly influenced by colonialism. This region stems from the United States-Mexico border south to the end of Argentina and Chile. Latin America contains many wonderful geographical elements, such as the Andes mountain range, and Amazon River. This region has a miraculous history with innovative civilizations like the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. Unfortunately, European explorers wiped much of these civilizations out. Many modern Latin American countries face obstacles due to their history of colonization.

Land in this region has become a problem with many corrupt political leaders taking land from ordinary citizens and churches, distributing it to caudillo, wealthy landowners, for a cheap price in return for their support. Another issue that Latin America faces is that of racial hierarchy. Many indigenous and African members of the population are kept in the lowest levels of society with limited resources available to help them improve their quality of life. Latin America’s economy has struggled to keep up with the developed economies of other nations, even though Latin America joined the free-market earlier than many other regions.

In order to remedy this problem, the Economic Commission for Latin America attempted import substitution industrialization to prioritize national development. At first, Latin America experienced success from this new economic strategy in the 1950’s through the 1970’s, but in the long term it failed because of structural defects. After this period of time, Latin America entered into what is known as “the lost decade” because of its debt. International financial institutions tried to help Latin America with its debt, but were ultimately unsuccessful due to institutions inability to keep Latin Americans best interest in mind.

Many of the Latin America nations also struggle with corrupt governments run by dictators, though most of their constitutions are founded on democracy. In recent years Latin America has not been extremely dominant in global policy and economy, but the region is working hard to improve itself. Countries, like Brazil are attempting to bolster themselves back into international prevalence through hosting events such as the World Cup and Olympics, as well as cracking down on political corruption in the region.