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Rated: E · Essay · History · #1108911
An essay on the inlfuence the western has had and has on Africa.
Africa and the Western World
“It seems evident, in countries where many people do not even speak the official language of French or English, let alone the five to ten languages of other local tribes, that most Africans have no idea what they are wearing when they put on these shirts.” (Loftus) The Western World has had a huge impact on the continent and culture of Africa. This impact has been neither dominantly positive nor negative, but it is clear what the Western World should accomplish in the future in respect to Africa.
The Western World has done some good things for Africa. One of the most obvious things the west has done to help Africa, is aid. The American public has been in overwhelming favor to help aid and educate Africa, especially on their HIV/AIDS crisis. In a 2004 poll to the Associated Press, 65% of those questioned favored the American policy which included spending fifteen billion dollars to fight HIV/Aids in Africa. In another poll, 71% favored “the federal government spending five hundred million of three years in Africa and elsewhere in the world on programs to helps prevent the spread of HIV/Aids from mothers to infants” (Africa). In 2005 the G-8 doubled foreign aid to 50 billion and forgave all aid debt Africa was burdened with. There were also “Live 8” concerts played internationally and simultaneously with superstar performers to raise money and awareness on the poverty and debt in Africa (Easterly). Another positive, but debatable, impact the Western World has had on Africa is its own colonization at the hands of Europeans. The very first colonization came from Asia and Europe, in the Northern parts of Africa which saw colonization by major uber-civilizations like the Romans, ancient Egyptians, and the Greeks. The next major time Africa saw colonization was through the Arab trade in sub-Sahara Africa in 600AD. But neither of these early brushes with more advanced societies saw much change in Africa. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that Africa was truly impacted by the attempts of other countries to use the native resources. There did in fact exist established empires like Britain, Portugal and France, but parts were controled by Britain the most after major wars like the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War (Colonization of Africa). Colonization can be considered a positive thing if the country being colonizated is not taken advantage of. It’s a good thing because it helps the country to grow and prosper economicaly and socially, colonization helps countries to better themselves in the future and modernize.
The Western World has also negatively influenced Africa. The most obvious negative effect the Western World has had on Africa would probably be the enslavment of Sub-Saharan Africans to the Americas which lasted from the 1490s to the 1870s. The trans-Atlantic slave trade devastaded Africa, especially having an impact on the middle region of West Africa. Another negative influence is one that affects Africa’s culture and ultimately their traditional belifs and values. Western pop culture travels to Africa and has a great effect on African teens. It changes their ways of communicating with eachother which are no longer traditional. Things like girls making the first move socially, which is against the cultural normalities. It appears that “western influences in the media are making young Africans question their traditional beliefs and values.” (Monash). The Western World has also had a negative effect economically on Africa. When the Western World colonized Africa, they did it only to get certain resources for themselves, so as the continent matured as a continent, they became dependent on the Western World both economically and culturally.
There are some key things that the Western World should do in the future in order to be a positive influence on Africa. One thing the the west should stop doing is aiding Africa so immensly. This sounds like a bad thing but in fact too much aid is a bad thing. U.N. reports say that massive aid plans like the “Millenium Developmental Goals” have failed and that aid efforts are not producing the desired results. It seems that “Economic development in Africa will depend on the success of entreprenuers and African political reformers. It will not depend on the acitvities of patronizing, bureaucratic, unaccountable, and poorly informed outsiders.” (Easterly) We must help to economically nurture it as a peer country and not a 3rd world country whose resources are at our own disposal. Africa is beginning to come out of a period where it was controlled by “Marxist” leaders who use manipulation and fear to control their people. The beginning of the 20th century began to see capatalist modes of production rise and help the country to prosper. (African Westernisation) Africa has also begun to see more and more of urbanization and is changing quickly and drastically.
In conclusion, the Western World has greatly affected Africa. Africa has been majorly impacted both positively and negatively by the west and will continue to be impacted. Also in the future the Western World should not so much smother Africa with aid and pity, but release and help Africans help themselves; take more of a backseat ride to see where Africa can and will go. Afterall, “Africa’s true saviors are the people of Africa.” (Easterly)

Works Cited

"Africa: Aid for HIV/AIDS Crisis in Africa." Americans and the World. 2005. World Public Opinion. 02May2006 <www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/africa/africa3a.cfm>.
"African Westernization". Google Answers. 1 May 2006 <http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=201393>.
"Colonization of Africa." Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 02May2006 .
Dia Ph.D, Mabaye. "Geography 303, Geography of Africa". Winthrop University. 1 May 2006 <http://faculty.winthrop.edu/diam/>.
Easterly, William. The West Can't Save Africa." The Washington Post 13February2006, natl. ed.: A21.
Loftus, David. Western Influence found in the African Bush. Oregon: News Review, November 9, 1989.
Monash University, "Western Influence on African Flirts". Monash University. 1 May 2006 <http://www.monash.ac.za/news/2004/western_influence.html>.

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