What might have been done to help African nations transition from the colonial powers to self-rule peacefully? Full question below. As nations in Africa gained independence from colonial powers,...

What might have been done to help African nations transition from the colonial powers to self-rule peacefully? Full question below.

As nations in Africa gained independence from colonial powers, some made relatively smooth transitions to self-rule while others experienced violence and upheaval. In some nations, the violence continues even today. What might have been done to help those nations transition to self-rule peacefully? Write a short essay that sets forth ideas on ways that violence and civil war might have been prevented.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The most important thing that could have been done would have been for the European countries to start planning for the transition ahead of time.  If they had been thinking for decades that their goal was to give these nations independence, they could have helped the transition immeasurably.  For example, they could have improved education so that more of the Africans would have had the ability to become part of government or to be more involved in a modern economy.  They could have started putting more Africans in positions of power so that there was a basic group of them who would have been ready to move up when the Europeans left.  They could have worked on diversifying the economy and creating an economy that was geared less towards the export of raw materials and more towards the creation of a domestic market.  All of these things would have helped to modernize the countries and to make peaceful transitions more likely.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Europeans who colonized Africa recognized their rule in Africa was coming to an end at the end of WWII and they had not prepared themselves for a transition. Although the African population had their own institutions of authority these were undermined by colonial governments thus making it impossible for these institutions to fully revert to prior operations. The idea of representative governments was still new as most African authorities were based on tribal and territorial structures of governance. The Europeans did not take their time to ensure equal representation was accorded to all the different groups within the communities. In some African countries, the Europeans left behind administrative vacuums while in others they rewarded some of their collaborators. This situation led to civil wars and war struggles between different groups in an attempt to secure power and authority for their own. This situation is still existent to date with a number of upheavals occurring through the years.

The colonialists should have taken into account that in the different countries that they had established, Africans still had their own differences among themselves. Self-rule was to be considered not only at the national level but also at the group level and this could have been done through education and integration to ensure no group felt left out.

andreig's profile pic

andreig | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

1. Western countries and US military surveillance for the independence process. In this way internal military conflicts for political power could have been avoided. 

2. Creating an African Trade Association that could boost and stimulate economic exchange between the countries. This would have helped the new African countries currency become more stable and valuable.

3. International assistance for democratization. Some African countries sympathized with a communist inspired regime. Multi-party parliamentary system should have been mandatory.

4. Low-interest loans from International Monetary Fund for developing industry facilities and encouraging farms to process raw materials. For example, a loan for processing cocoa in chocolate instead of exporting them raw.

All the examples mentioned above are simple in theory, but the African Civil Wars had multiple causes. The continent suffered from World War 2 damage, famine, economic crisis after losing traditional export markets and the emigration of qualified workforce. 

Even East European countries fell under the so called Iron Curtain dominated by the Soviet Union. Africa did not raise such a great political interest in the last century because of the new human rights convention that abolished slavery and granted equal chances to all human beings. So it was left to handle almost alone the political crisis and the International interfere did only more damage than help.


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