The effects of decolonization in Africa

Africa is a very good example of what happens when decolonization occurs the right way, as well as the wrong. By 1963 all of Africa was independent of European rule, Rhodesia is the only exception (Lecture). Africa was under rule by numerous countries at the height of imperialistic control, unsurprisingly these countries also felt their decolonization strategies should differ from one another. This disparity led to African countries either becoming somewhat successful in obtaining their own independence or becoming a place of major conflict resulting in death tolls that reached hundreds of thousands.

In countries such as Nigeria, education and a presence of “elite” groups were more present thanks to access to higher education from Britain. during the time that Britain had Nigeria as a protectorate, Britain hoped to create a group of elites who in theory would emulate Britain both politically and economically. This was done through investing in schools in Africa as well as programs made to offer the people of Nigeria a chance to go to Europe and go to a college or university at a reduced cost. As expected, this sounds good on paper but was ultimately given out to only a finite group of people. Regardless, when the time for de-colonization was upon them they still had people ready to take power who knew what to do.

Furthermore, we see countries such as Belgium stray away from this method of decolonization. Belgium had rule over the Congo during the imperialistic era of Europe. During this time, Belgium feared that educating the people of the Congo would lead to a revolt as it already had in other countries such as Russia or Germany. This method benefited them up until they abruptly decided to give Congo their independence, which resulted in conflicts that would ultimately kill hundreds of thousands. The lack of structure and self-sufficiency Belgium gave to the Congo would eventually be what caused such damaging conflict.

All in all, these two countries only provide a small idea of what decolonization did to the countries of Africa. When European countries gave independence to these countries it usually resulted in massive civil wars that sparked conflicts for decades to come.

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