The remnants of colonial domination have bitterly lingered in Africa with profound intensity. The failure to wrest economic control over the continent’s resources from former colonial powers is the reason why there is widespread poverty in Africa.
Western perceptions continuously rule out the possibility of organic progress in Africa. Neocolonialism (which the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Amilcar Cabral, etc. sternly warned about) has diminished the will power of Africans as they remain mired in the erroneous dogma of the ‘white savior mentality’. This view ignores the incontrovertible truth that Africa grapples with hunger because Western powers are stealing African agricultural produce to make obscene profits via foreign markets.
This regrettable material reality, specifically designed to perennially trap Africa in a vicious cycle of poverty, is abetted by unprincipled leaders who are selling away their countries to the highest bidders under the illusion that foreign investment will automatically change their countries’ fortunes. Foreign ownership of vast tracts of land (private property secured by title deeds) is commonplace in African countries. As this reality obtains, African peasants are squashed on small pieces of land with poor productivity; land without security of tenure for that matter. This harms subsistence farming. African peasants are thus subjected to the arbitrary whims of the state as it paves way for private capital. Because the peasants do not have private title deeds, they have no power to refuse state orders to vacate their land where private capital desires to make profits.
Foreign capital, for example in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, remains with the most land while the black majority are forced into overcrowded communal lands established in the colonial era. The food crisis in Africa, presently and throughout history, is a man-made phenomenon. Europeans export raw agricultural produce into various world markets where it is processed into food items that Africans are wont to import. The reliance on food from outside sources has seriously harmed African efforts towards self-sufficiency. This is aggravated by the setting of commodity prices via Western market forces – prices set through the London Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, and others of such like nature.
Hunger, famines, and persistent food crises should not be blamed on internal causes but rather on external causes. European colonial history disrupted pre-colonial African methods of agriculture that ensured sustainability and self-sufficiency. Colonial rule was premised on wealth extraction, including agricultural wealth. Agriculture in the colonial era served white imperial interests as seen in the introduction of cash crops. Africans found themselves with little food for consumption, compelling them to cultivate marginal lands – resulting in degradation and desertification. This is what still obtains.
The post-colonial era has failed to lift Africans of hunger. The desire to compete with the West regarding industrialization means there are decontextualized efforts to increase agricultural productivity. Local solutions should be used to enhance production, coupled with equal land redistribution. The debt burden Africa endures via the World Bank and IMF (lately China too) means there are no funds to carry out revolutionary agricultural practices particularly for the peasants. All money is sent back to America and Europe (and China) as debts are repaid. All this happens as African leaders wait for foreign ideas on how to improve their agriculture.
The Western countries are stealing African resources for their benefit. Think of the chocolate industry. It sells, yet cocoa farmers from Africa are poor.
It is now time to say no to these dictates – African ancestral land belongs to Africans and must benefit Africans. Hunger shows capitalism's ruthlessness – it is man-made and can be easily defeated.