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Athow Brian and Robert G. Blanton present their study of African trade relations before and after European colonialism in “Colonial Style and Colonial Legacies: Trade Patterns in British and French Africa. ” This study is quite important as it is an effort to scientifically assess the colonial trade legacy in a comparative manner. In fact, it is the only research of its kind analyzing trade relations of previously colonized states of Africa between 1938 and 1985. The authors’ goal is to discover whether neocolonialism continues to exist in the previously colonized African states with respect to trade relations.
In other words, do the previously colonized African states continue to depend on the colonialists for trade? The underdevelopment of Africa is attributable to many factors, including the fact that it takes economically powerful governments with a strong sense of their goals to empower their people and develop nations. It is a well-known fact that the European colonialists had their own interests at heart. Their mercenary objectives could not accommodate the goal of developing Africa. African states that came to be ruled by Europeans were forced to produce agricultural goods as well as raw materials to meet European demands alone.
The “traditional agricultural economies” of the colonized states of Africa were forced by French and British colonialists to start specializing in cash crops that were solely meant for export. Although the French and British colonialists came to hold significant political power over the African people, the local needs of the latter were utterly disregarded. No wonder, although Africa continues to appear lush green to the human eye, its people suffer from severe hunger. After all, their needs have been disregarded even after independence was attained from the European colonialists.
As a matter of fact, the authors of “Colonial Style and Colonial Legacies” found that the African states that were previously colonized by the French continue to have France as their chief trading partner. Similarly, African states that were previously colonized by the British continue to trade with the British in addition to other states that had been colonized by the British. What is more, the trading style of the colonialists continues to be used by the African states that were colonized by the French and the British. French colonies of Africa were under a centralized rule.
For this reason, they continue to consider France as their chief trading partner. British rule was decentralized to a large extent. Moreover, the British had already established trade relations between the African colonized states and other nations across the world that had been colonized by the British. These trading patterns continue to this day, which is the reason why the authors of “Colonial Style and Colonial Legacies” refer to neocolonialism in African trade relations. According to the authors, old habits die hard.
Africa continues to suffer from severe poverty because its resources do not support the Africans. Rather, previously colonized African states continue to produce for the French and the British peoples. Africans are dependent on the moneys they receive for the goods they export to France and Britain, in addition to previously colonized British states in other parts of the world. Seeing that Africa appears to be on the losing side of this deal, the article, “Colonial Style and Colonial Legacies” calls for massive structural changes in the political and trade patterns applied in Africa today.
It would take African governments to develop a strong sense of their goals to achieve economic independence for the Africans – this time having the interests of their own people at heart.
Brian, Athow, and Robert G. Blanton. “Colonial Style and Colonial Legacies: Trade Patterns in British and French Africa. ” Journal of Third World Studies (Fall 2002). Available from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_qa3821/is_200210/ai_n9134671. Internet; accessed 27 November 2008.