Development is measured by the political and socioeconomic status of a nation. As this map highlights, the “development gap,” as it is commonly known, is also divided on geographical lines. It is no coincidence that the nations that are considered “developed” have a long history of exploiting the natural and human resources of so-called “undeveloped” nations.
The effects of imperialism are still clearly visible in the 21st century. One only needs to glance at this map to see this clearly. Today in 1957 Ghana won independence from British rule and yet over 5 decades later, the United Kingdom is remains one of the world’s economic super powers (ranked 7 GDP) while Ghana’s economy falls largely behind (ranked 85 GDP).
July 2, 2002 the African Union (AU) was established. Consisting of 54 African states, the AU’s objective is to promote the continent’s political, economic and social advancement — with an emphasis on peace, security and democracy.
Africa has the second highest population of any continent in the world, with close to 1 billion people living there. It is full of natural resources such as oil, minerals, and gold, that can be used toward the economic development of the continent. Unfortunately, most of the profits of these valuable resources don’t go to locally owned business, so wealth continues to be shipped overseas. Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah warned of the dangers of neocolonialism saying,
Necolonialism is based upon the principle of breaking up former large united colonial territories into a number of small non-viable States which are incapable of independent development and must rely upon the former imperial power for defense and even internal security. Their economic and financial systems are linked, as in colonial days, with those of the former colonial ruler.
Nkrumah believed one way to challenge neocolonialism was through Pan-Africanism,
We all want a United Africa, United not only in our concept of what unity connotes, but united in our common desire to move forward together in dealing with all the problems that can best be solved only on a continental basis.
When it comes to the progress of underdeveloped nations and the process for minimizing the gap of inequality, the formation of the AU begin to realize Kwame Nkrumah’s vision. In order to free itself from Western exploitation, the nations of Africa must unit and mobilize. While this freedom doesn’t happen quickly or easily, steps towards unity give us hope that it will happen.
by Noora Marcus