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Old 3 Apr 2008
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What is wrong with Africa?

Having travelled the length of Africa people at home ask me a lot what is wrong with Africa. I've heard many reasons/excuses for the poverty/wars/disease/corruption in these countries and without wanting this thread to get out of hand, can anyone give a short answer - based on your own experience there - as to what in your opinion is wrong with Africa and why.
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Hi Rich

A VERY good question - but maybe basing judgement on "experience" is not really the way to arrive at a useful answer? Perhaps a look at the history of Africa before and after colonialist capitalism might be more revealing /informative?
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Africa was a land of tribal societies carved up by the imperialists from Europe, then set free to operate with European style governments, with borders that have no relation to the people that live there. Doesn't work so nicely among the tribes.

A lot like the middle east.
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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... and if you then look at where natural resources are abundant, and what sort who has been supported by western powers and who wasn't... .

Ever wondered why Angola and Congo have been so bad for a long time?

Uranium in the '60, Coltan in the '90... Maybe?
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Wink Democracy is not a very good form of government,but it is about the pick of the bunch

Quote:
Originally Posted by quastdog View Post
Africa was a land of tribal societies carved up by the imperialists from Europe, then set free to operate with European style governments, with borders that have no relation to the people that live there. Doesn't work so nicely among the tribes.

A lot like the middle east.

I had a similar theme in mind when I read the question: but it is part of the story. This is compounded by dragging the whole continent into the 20th century very rapidly, via the European expansion into the "Dark Continent" in the 19th-20th century - the big grab for land and resources.

Much the same thing that the Spanish did in Mexico in the 16th C.
Just as the north american settlers did to form the modern day USA, around about the same time as Africa was being colonised - it's in the nature of mankind surely; someone is in a position at some time in history to expand rapidly and they tend to get on and do exactly that.
Personally, I have never forgiven, or forgotten, those pesky Vikings for their excessive pillaging, raping and looting in England and further afield.


On the other hand, you could reverse the argument and say that there is nothing wrong with Africa, compared with the so-called first world countries and their pseudo-democracies. That's what Pres Mugabe would argue anyway!

The short answer to your question is: human nature is the problem
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Last edited by Walkabout; 3 Apr 2008 at 23:45. Reason: short answer added
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Old 4 Apr 2008
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Africa

Great question, it is almost impossible to understand if you haven't been there and still difficult to when you have but you at least get a feel for the complexities of the place.

As mentioned above, one thing that was dramatically different to most other regions of the world is the deep entrenchment of people as tribes and not of nations. Of course the borders in no way relate to this and it would be impossible to do so even if you had a blank slate.

The best way I can descibe it to westerns is to imagine that the EU eliminated all the borders in Europe in every way shape and form and told everyone that they should all think of themselves as Europeans. Of course, the Germans would still consider themselves German first and formost, retain their own culture and traditions and favour their dealings with other Germans. Same with the Brits and the French and everyone else. As a loose analogy, this is what Africa is like, a lot of different tribes have been lumped into one country and they essentially end up fighting each other with the aim of advancing theselves and their own peoples more than advancing their entire nation as a whole.
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Old 4 Apr 2008
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Mountain man, you do not have to imagine that here in Europe - that is what has happened-(yes they have left a thread of border up between countries but not a real border) they have a European parliament overiding nation parliaments, single currency(except for the moment the uk) and huge movement of people from poorer nations to the richer ones causing discord everywhere then there are two or three countries UK, Germany and France trying to run the whole shebang and stamping on everyone else - where will it end up - Like Africa.
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Old 4 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adventure950 View Post
Mountain man, you do not have to imagine that here in Europe - that is what has happened-(yes they have left a thread of border up between countries but not a real border) they have a European parliament overiding nation parliaments, single currency(except for the moment the uk) and huge movement of people from poorer nations to the richer ones causing discord everywhere then there are two or three countries UK, Germany and France trying to run the whole shebang and stamping on everyone else - where will it end up - Like Africa.
Sorry,

*you can't say that the EU Parliament is "over riding" nation states and then say that 2 or 3 countries are running it all.

*And there are countries other than the UK who dont use the Euro, so I'm afraid that's not correct either.

*Poor people have always migrated to richer countries, so that's nothing to do with the EU.

*To suggest that Europe will "end up like Africa" is wild statement, to say the least.

*And a borderless Europe is fantastic, don't you think? I hope you do.

Last edited by Caminando; 5 Apr 2008 at 13:52.
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Old 5 Apr 2008
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The short answer to your question is: human nature is the problem
Karl Marx informs us that "human nature" is formed by society and history. It is changeable, not fixed, and varies in different places and times.

So there really isn't such a thing as "human nature".
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