THE COLONIAL ECONOMY
By the end of the 19th century, European powers had already suppressed African resistance and extended their rule almost throughout the entire continent, the countries that were subjected to colonial rule by this time were Ethiopia and Liberia.
Colonial economies were established in Africa over a span of years. During that period African self-sufficient economic were transformed and made inferior. The colonialists reorganize the traditional African societies to meet their selfish interests.
The colonial economy refers to the production and consumption patterns that existed in Africa during the colonial period. The colonial economy was imposed on the Africans.
OBJECTIVES OF THE COLONIAL ECONOMY
There are various economic reasons that made the colonial powers to establish the colonial economy in Africa. These are the following:-
Need for markets
By the late 19th century, the industries in Europe were producing more industrial goods than Europeans could consume, Industrialists encourage their government to undertake colonization in Africa in order to protect markets for their Industrial goods.
There was over production in Europe where their goods were unmarketable, hence they decide to come Africa to find market for their goods products. The colonial powers were looking for areas where they can sell their manufacture goods.
Need for raw material
They were looking for cheap raw material such as cotton, minerals. They took material in Africa to European Industries -Colonial power were established processing Industries in Africa so that they can process material before they took to their countries. Example cotton and sisal. In 19th century experienced the Industrial revolution, so they need industrial production like mode of production, which include human resources, capital resources and natural resources
European Industrial were dependent on raw materials from Asia, America and Africa. They need raw materials to feed their industries in Europe, Example: cotton. They were looking for cheap raw material because in Europe, they had been exhausted and the remaining ones were quiet expensive.
Need of areas for investment
They need to get Investment areas, They had large capital which made them to unable to sell their product: There was high population in Europe and shortage of land, rich people were control land where poor become landless. Also they were looking for areas where they can invest their excess capital; they could not invest in Europe because the markets were saturated.
Need for cheap labour.
They need cheap labour, Industrial revolution in Europe introduced new machine which replaced human labour after abolition of slave trade The colonial powers were searching for cheap labour. Labor was expensive in Europe because the workers were demanding for high wages.
These motives clearly show that the colonial powers established the colonial economy not to serve the Africans, but to satisfy their own selfish interests.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COLONIAL ECONOMY
The colonial economies were export oriented because they were based on the export of raw materials both mineral and agricultural and importation of manufactured goods from Europe.
The colonial economies were specialized in the production of the major commodity for example Mauritius specialized in the production of sugar, Ghana, Zambia and Zaire in Cocoa now the Democratic Republic of the Congo specialized in the production of copper.
Manufacturing sector was small and weak.
The manufacturing sector was small and weak because the colonial powers discouraged the establishment of heavy manufacturing industries in Africa. Africa had to remain a producer of raw materials and a market for European manufactured goods. The few industries that were established were semi–processing industries that aimed at reducing the weight of raw materials to facilitate their exportation of Europe.
Production was based on coercion.
The colonial economy was imposed on the Africans and they were forced to produce for the export market rather than their own consumption consequently there was no time to produce food which led to frequent famine in Africa.
Land alienation involved taking land from the Africans so as to create room for cash crop production and mining activities. The land that was taken was the land which was fertile and had minerals in large quantity land alienation was common in settle colonies such as Zimbabwe and Kenya.
The colonial economy was characterized with the introduction of taxes such as the poll and hut taxes. Taxes were introduced as an indirect way of getting labor. To get money to pay the taxes, the African had to sell their labor thus the colonialist got both cheap labor and cash crops.
METHODS USED BY THE COLONIAL POWERS TO ESTABLISH THE COLONIAL ECONOMY IN AFRICA
The colonial economy was established through recreation, destruction and preservation.
It was a method established by European to Introduce new element that were not existed in the native areas. Under creation new elements were introduced by the colonial powers on the traditional African economy.
These elements include the following:-
Land alienation involved the grabbing of land from the Africans as a way of getting areas where the growing of cash crops and mining activities could take place. It was the fertile land and land with minerals in large quantities that was taken by the colonialists. Land alienation was common in settle colonies such as Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The colonial powers introduced taxation as an indirect way of getting cheap labor. To pay taxes the Africans had to sell their labor on the colonial farms, in this way the colonialists acquired both cheap labor and cash crops that were needed as raw materials in Europe. Example: hat tax , matiti tax and head tax.
Forced cash crop production.
The colonial powers forced Africans to produce cash crops such as coffee, cotton and sisal which were needed as raw materials. The Africans produced cash crops at the expense of food crops; this explains the widespread occurrence of famine in colonial Africa.
Introduction of the monetary system.
The colonialists introduced money as a medium of exchange; to get money the Africans had to sell their labor on the farms thus the colonialists obtained both the cheap labor and cash crops which were the needs of the colonial economy. Exchange of goods or service by using coins or paper money.
Greate forced labour, labour were completed to work in the collonial farmers, Forced labour was required to reduce costs that were needed in public services. Africa chiefs were forced to produce labour at low cost. The colonial powers destroyed Africans traditional industries, by this policy all industries were to remain in Europe and Africa was to be a source of markets for European manufactured goods and a producer of raw materials. The traditional industries were destroyed in two main ways i.e. force and competition.
Here different laws were passed by the colonial government that threatened the African from engaging in industrial activities for example in the Congo one would have his arms chopped off if he engaged in industrial activities.
Here the colonial powers imported high quality products from Europe in order to destroy the markets for the local products. They Introduced processing Industries
The colonialists preserved some elements of the pre–colonial African economies.
The basic tool of production remained to be the hand hoe except that this one was imported. There were no improvements in the tools of productive force.
The pre – capitalist relations of production were preserved for example the feudal relations of production, but these served the interests of the colonialists.
The basic unit of production remained to be the family; this limited the division of labor and also hindered the development of science and technology.
COLONIAL ECONOMY SECTORS
The colonial economy refers to all production and consumption activities found in Africa during the colonial period. The Second World War which took place between 1939 and 1945 had a significant impact on the capitalist powers and they spent huge sums of money financing the war, it is estimated the loss of Second World War was $ 13,849,000,000.
The destruction of the capitalist economies forced the European powers to introduce various changes in the colonial economy.
Conolonial economy was anchored on five important sectors namely:-
- PROCESSING INDUSTRIES
The main aim of colonial agricultural policy was to promote the production of cash crops for export, to feed the industrial of the metro Politician states, integrate the Africans into capitalist system through growing cash crops in which they wail sell, stimulate capital investment and maximization of pro by buying African crops at low prices and paying to wages.
Three types of Agriculture were established namely settle economy, plantation economy, and peasant economy
PEASANT AGRICULTURE ECONOMY
This involved the small – scale production of cash crops by individuals for purpose of coming cash and providing food for survival colonial rule.
The peasant and cash crop forms of agriculture were area transferring part of subsistence farming to the cash sector but the create part of the pre-colonial system of product social control unchanged.
In Ghana, Ivory Coast and western Nigeria, the British colonial administration wanted the peasant to devote much of their time and energy to the cultivation of cocoa and coffee.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PEASANT AGRICULTURE
- It was based on land units which were very small bed of the big are as being directly populated
- There were individual ownership of land
- There were intercropping in order to maintain various and cash crops at the same time
- Elementary tools such as hoes and arrows were used as instruments of labour.
- There was hardly any use of scientific methods of farming.
FACTORS THAT FAVORED PEASANT AGRICULTURE
- Dense population made it difficult for land alienation to be used. Hence, settler and plantation agriculture impossible
- Centralized Kingdom proved to be tough on the establishment settler agriculture
- There was always a labour supply problem when the economy favored only one crop.
- Peasant agriculture was cheaper in the production of materials and settlers needed big capital, land, modern equipment
This involved production by foreigners. These foreigners usual presented the interests of the metropole (i.e. their main interest were mining and agriculture in the colonized countries).
The promotion of agricultural production was to go hand in hand with white settlements in Africa, especially in those areas that were fertile.
Settlers settled in big numbers in central Africa (Malaysia, Zambia, Zimbabwe), South Africa, parts of French equatorial Africa, French West Africa, and in East Africa (Kenya).
FEATURES OF SETTLER ECONOMY
Land alienation with differently issue land ordinaries, in 1900 the land occupation ordinance was enacted in Zambia. The ordinance required that Europeans who had been allocated land must occupy and use that land or otherwise they would pay taxes for leaving such land redundant. In Kenya in 1597, the land regulation office set as vacant land for European settlements, in 1902, the owner land ordinance allowed the commissioner to sell or give crown land to the Europeans, and large scale land alienation in Kikuyu began.
The French, German land Portuguese follow a similar policy of forced labour and unpaid labour. Forced labour was required to reduce costs that were needed in public services. In Zimbabwe in 1897, the Nature egulation Act was passed, forcing African chiefs to produced labourers at law coast.
The hut tax was introduced in Malawi in early 1890 in Zimbabwe in 1898, and in Zambia in 1900. In Kenya the Hut Tax was introduced in 1980, and poll tax in 1910. The intention of the tax was to cover administrative expansion ways by which Africans would be forced to work in European farms and mines in order to raise money to pay their taxes.
Migrant labour were transported from far away places to work in settler plantations.
Building of infrastructures
The development of infrastructures to serve the settlers.
Was a very distinctive from of cultivation in which specialized commercial crops were grown. It employed large of number of unskilled lobourers who more brought to supervise and work. On the other hand, plantation agriculture extended monoculture during colonialism.
In West Africa, French settlers owned Senegal groundnuts and cocoa farms. German settlers owned Dohomey palm oil and the fire stone Rubber Company of the U S A opened its plantation in Liberia in 1926. The other plantation in Tog were owned by the German and other in Ghana and Nigeria were owned by the British.
In east Africa, Kenyan tea, pyrethrum and effect were owner by British seltters. Sisal plantation in Tanga and Morogoro are owned by Germans and sugarcane plantation in Uganda were owned by the Indians (mujidival).
In Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, plantations were by the British while in Mozambique and Angola plantations were owned by the Portuguese.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTATION AGRICULTURE
They were larger estates covering over 100 acres each
Production was mainly for export and market oriented
The government ensure a constant supply of cheap laborer, they needed intensive labour
Plantation were scientifically- managed and involved the use of machine and fertilizer for qualitative and quantitatives out put to meet the demands of the metropole.
Larger land was needed for commercial agriculture. This was led to land alienation
Mining was very important and one the pillars of the colonial economy, it accelerated the exploitation of Africa.
In West Africa there were coal mines at Enugu, tin mines in jos plateau in Northern Nigeria and gold mines in Ghana, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and Silver in sierra Leone
In central Africa, there was gold and coal in southern Rhodesia, copper, tin, zinc and lead in the Belgian congo, copper and leadin Zambia and diamond and oil in Angola
In East Africa, there was diamond in mwadui , gold in Geita and Musoma (Tanganyika) and copper in kilembe (Uganda)
Under colonial rule, there emerged many companies that claimed to import and export goods into and out from African colonies, some were huge companies some were petty companies and some were fake companies but all of them come to exploit African resources. ii) Among these were very big companies including. Companies franchise Afriques occidental (C.T.A.O), Socrete commercial Quest African (S.C.Q.A), The United African Company (U.A.C) and Ronrho
In East Africa: Smith maokenzie (ascothah Company of maennon), Ralli Brothers, Leslie and Anderson – Broke Bond iv) These companies were responsible for expatriating great amounts of wealth from Africa
Many of these companies started during the slave, They engaged in the following works:
- They bought raw material cheaply in Africa and exported
- They insured the property of the seltters.
- They imported manufacture goods.
- They invested in mines and plantations.
CHANGES IN COLONIAL ECONOMY
CHANGES IN COLONIAL AGRICULTURE
Colonial agriculture was the main sector of the colonial economy to produce cash crops that were needed as raw materials by the capitalists industries. Emphasis was laid on the production of cash crops and not food crops.
The changes in colonial agriculture included the following
- Establishment of progressive master farmers.
The colonial state introduced progressive farmers under peasant agriculture; these farmers are given modern farming tools, loans and could hire labor. The main goal of the colonial state was to increase the production of cash crops.
- Introduction of agricultural development schemes and plans.
This is where there was introduction of scientific methods of agriculture; these included terracing schemes in the hilly areas to avoid soil erosion, restocking so as to increase animal husbandry and modernization and a forestation to keep soil fertility and prevent soil erosion.
- Introduction of agricultural experiments in the colonies.
The goal of the agricultural experiments was to introduce new cash crops for example there was introduction of groundnuts to solve the problem of edible oil in Europe, palm oil was introduced in Kongwa, Nachingwea and Urambo.
- Setup of settlement schemes.
This is where the colonial state was shifting farmers to fertile places so as to avoid more room for cash crop production. All the fertile land in pre–colonial Africa was supposed to be subjected to cash crop production.
- Development of state farms.
The colonial state introduced state farms so as to reduce its dependence on subsidies from the metro-pole. These farms were supposed to generate revenue that was needed to run the colonial administration. State farms were very common in French colonies in West Africa.
THE FAILURE OF COLONIAL AGRICULTURAL REFORMS
Some of the reforms that were carried out by the colonial state failed to meet their expected goals, they failed due to various reasons:-
- Existence of poor soils.
Some of the land chosen for those agricultural reforms was not suitable for cash crop production thus leading to low yields. Yet the colonialists wanted to maximize agricultural output.
- Poor administration.
Ex-soldiers who did not have the expertise to fully manage them ran most of these agricultural projects. The absence of skilled personnel contributed greatly to the failure of the projects.
- Opposition from the natives.
The establishment of agricultural reforms faced resistance from the natives; the natives as ways of exploiting them viewed these schemes. Various riots and strikes were staged against the schemes thus contributing to their failure.
- Poor planning.
Most of the schemes collapse because of poor planning. The groundnuts scheme in Tanganyika collapsed because little time was taken to assess the suitability of the land chosen.
- Inadequate funds.
Most of the project wanted large sums of money which were not available especially after the Second World War. Inadequate funds hindered the successful implementation of the agricultural projects.
INTRODUCTION OF MASTER FARMING SYSTEM (PROGRESSIVE FARMING SYSTEM)
Master farming system was done by making African peasants to become involved in intensive production of raw materials.
OBJECTIVES UNDER MASTER FARMING SYSTEM
- Selection of few African peasants to be developed by giving them assistance like technical assistance in the processes involved in agricultural production.
- Provision of labor, capital and fertilizers to African farmers in order to produce raw materials, the reason behind was to attract others to engage in production of raw materials.
- Encourage more Africans to grow cash crops because African peasants were given low prices and the cost of production was low.
- Creation of model farmers in order to influence others to grow more cash crops,
- Introduction of agricultural schools and agricultural production of raw materials. For example Ukiriguru in Mwanza, Amboni-Tanga, Uyole in Mbeya, Lindi.etc. All these aimed at getting agricultural extension officers who could provide advice to African farmers on how to grow cash crops.
- Introduction and expansion of cooperative farmers (union). For example KNCU (Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union), Nyanza.etc in order to advice more farmers to produce raw materials and to fix the prices of African agricultural crops.
- Destocking schemes were adopted in African colonies in order to make Africans to concentrate on production of raw materials only and not on cattle keeping. For example in Sukuma land and Mburu land (Maasai).
- Production policy was adopted by colonialists in African colonies where by Africans were invited to live in more productive areas and concentrate in production of raw materials. For example in sukuma land, more farmers were forced and invited to live in Geita which allowed production of more cotton.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CHANGES IN COLONIAL AGRICULTURE
- It was aimed at getting agricultural extension offices that could help African to produce raw materials for the benefits of Europeans.
- It aimed to provide agricultural education to African peasants hence more agricultural schools and colleges were built in several African areas. Therefore the colonial education helped the colonialist to get Africans who were able to mobilize their fellow Africans and provide agricultural expert advice to Africans in order to increase production of raw materials.
- It aimed at increasing production of raw materials through giving Africans agricultural knowledge on better ways of practicing agriculture.
- It aimed at conducting researches which necessitated the production of various agricultural raw materials and testing agricultural crops. Example the agricultural research helped the colonialists to know where some crops were in the right location for planting a particular type of crop example; Sisal in Tanga, Cotton in Sudan and Palm oil in Nigeria.
- It aimed to get African labor that could help the colonialist to produce more cash crops needed in the capitalist industries for their own development.
- It aimed to get more and large land from Africans for agricultural production.
- It aimed to get areas for investment, More areas in African colonies were needed for European investment due to the fact that the capital accumulated from agricultural production was to be invested in other economic sectors such as financial institutions, industries, trade and commerce.etc.
EFFECTS OF THE AGRICULTURAL REFORMS IN AFRICA
The implementation of the agricultural schemes in Africa had a great impact.
- The schemes contributed the introduction of classes among the farmers. Under peasant agricultural there was creation of a group of farmers known as progressive or masters farmers who were given loans by the colonial state and could hire labor and on the other hand there were peasants who were not given any of these privileges by the colonial state.
- The schemes contributed to class consciousness among the peasants. The peasants produced various products which they sold to the colonial state, but the colonial state bought them at very low prices. The exploitation to which the peasants were subjected contributed to the rise of class consciousness.
- There were various riots and strikes by the natives in the various colonies. The low prices at which the colonial states were buying the products contributed to the outbreak of various riots and strikes.
- The schemes have contributed to making the agricultural sector to be the backbone of the economy in Africa. It should be noted that the colonial state did not make attempts to mechanize agriculture; this is why the agricultural sector is still backward.
- The schemes contributed to increase in the volume of exports to the metropolitan countries which enabled them to reconstruct their economies that had been devastated by the Second World War.
- The schemes contributed to environmental degradation which was due to over utilization of land. The colonialist wanted to receive their economies that had been destroyed by Second World War thus they had to utilize African land to the maximum which depleted the resources.
- There was increase in industrialization on the form of processing industries, which aimed at reducing the weight of raw materials to keep freight charges low. These industries solidified the linkage between the colonies and the colonial powers because the processed products had to be taken and the finishing industries were located at Europe.
- The schemes contributed to the emergence of a commercial group, these were the middlemen such as the Indians in East Africa and Lebanese in West Africa. These middlemen brought products from the peasants at low prices and sold them to the colonial state at high prices.
THE COLONIAL INDUSTRIAL SECTOR
The industrial sector was the smallest of all the sectors of the colonial economy. It should be noted that before the First World War. These were the only processing industries that aimed of reducing the weight of raw materials to keep the Freight charges low. The examples of these industries were the cotton and coffee ginneries.
After the Second World War the capitalist powers established import substitution industries, there were industries that produced goods which were formerly imported from Europe.
IMPORT SUBSTITUTION INDUSTRIES
There were industries that were formed by the capitalist powers to produce goods that will replace the ones imported from Europe. The main goal of these industries was to produce consumer goods mainly for the white settlers and few Africans, African civil servants; these goods included soap, cigarettes, and tooth paste.
Features of import substitution industries:-
All the import substitution industries were light industries. They avoided the establishment of heavy manufacturing industries so as to ensure that they create competition with goods coming from Europe.
Production of consumer goods.
The import substitute industries were based on the production of consumer goods such as biscuits, soap and cigarettes. These industries were producing goods for the bourgeoisie (capitalist) and a few African petty bourgeoisie’s. The industries were not producing goods for the African masses.
The industries were using labor intensive technology. They used more labor than machines. The colonialists were relevant to import advanced technology, because their goal was to exploit African resources.
The industries were unevenly distributed; they were mainly located in urban centers where most of the white settlers were found. The industries were producing goods for the white settlers.
Owned by foreigners.
These industries aimed at exploiting African resources to the maximum so as to generate more profits for the capitalists.
CHANGES IN COLONIAL LABOR POLICIES.
Colonial labor refers to African labor force used by colonialists in their colonial economic sectors like in Agriculture, mining, trade and commerce, industrial sector etc. During the colonial period i.e. soon after the Second World War (1939-1945).
The colonialists emphasized on large quantity of raw materials and export commodities in the colonies to help the colonialists in economic recovery program in their metropolitan countries. In order to attain these demands, the colonialists were forced to adapt new labor policies in the colonies hence the post war period experienced effective mobilization and utilization of African labor
The following techniques and mechanisms were used:
- Rehabilitation and creation of infrastructure system in the colonies. There was introduction of railway harbor and parts were constructed and rehabilitation in African colonies from the coastal areas to the interior where African laborers and producers of raw materials were found or lived.
- Improvement of working condition in plantation and mining areas. The colonialists did this in order to motivate African laborers to move in mining and plantation areas to offer their labor power. This ensured a constant supply of migrant labor. For example, there was improvement of wage labor, provision of social services, shortening working hours.
- Consolidation of labor recruiting agencies in the colonies, this was done in order to ensure a constant supply of labor in the colonies for agricultural production of raw materials, mining production and construction of infrastructure system like roads, ports and harbor. For example, we had WENELA in central Africa, which recruited African labor from southern Rhodesia to South Africa in order to ensure labor power.
- Assignment of special duties, quotas and other working conditions in different colonies. For Example peasants were assigned different duties, quotas per season in order to make African peasants fully involved in colonial production of raw materials and add more volumes of raw materials needed in hungry industries in Europe like in cotton growing region each family in those areas was required to cultivate at least 3 acres of cotton per season.
- Local rulers were required to recruit a specific number of laborers in their areas of control per annum. This mechanism enabled the colonizer to utilize full African labor for advantage of European colonialist in their plantation and mines and other economic sectors.
- Introduction of taxation; where the colonialists introduced different taxes in African colonies in order to force Africans to offer their labor power in European plantation, mines and other economic sector e.g. different taxes as it was in Kenya; there was Matiti, head, property, taxes etc. forced Africans to offer their labor power in settler economy.
- Enactment of different labor laws by colonialists in different African colonies the colonialists enacted different labour laws which forced Africans to get involved in production of raw materials needed by the colonialist in their countries for their development.
- Land alienation where by Africans were alienated from their fertile land and pushed to unproductive areas in order to make Africans to continue offering their labor power in plantations, mining etc.
CHANGES IN COLONIAL TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION (COLONIAL INFRASTRUCTURE)
Colonial transport and communication refers to all transport and communication established by colonialists in African continent during colonial period in order to meet their interests (demand). These infrastructures include colonial railway, ports, airports and harbors and telecommunication networks. Therefore after the second world war the colonial infrastructure change in order to get and increase their demands in colonies and in metropolitan countries.
- Introduction and expansion of roads; where different roads in African colonies. Example the feeder roads were introduced, introduction of tarmac roads which were expanded to the interior of African countries to collect raw materials and transport laborers from labor reserve areas to the working stations., Introduction of rehabilitation of roads which was introduced even before the second world war.
- Introduction and expansion of ports and harbor in African colonies where by new ports and harbors were introduced and others were rehabilitated in order to meet colonialists demand in African colonies.
- Introduction and expansion of railways in order to meet European demands. After the Second World War the colonialists made some changes in railway where by new railways were introduced and others were rehabilitated for the aim of transporting laborers, raw materials and colonial administrative officers and coercive apparatus.
- Expansion of telecommunication networks in African colonies purposely for providing information on how to produce raw materials and layout administrative matters within African colonies.
- Introduction of airports in colonies so as to facilitate movement of people such as transportation for administrators and information from metropolitan countries to African colonies.
OBJECTIVES (AIM) OF THE CHANGES OF COLONIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
- To transport raw materials from production areas to the harbours where they are later shipped to metropolitan countries to feed European industries. In addition some raw materials were transported from the interior where they were produced to the main roads by using feeder roads where they are transported to the ports for being shipped to metropolitan countries.
- To Transport colonial officers and administrators between urban areas to supervise production of raw materials.
- To transport colonial African laborers especially the migrant laborers who were working under contracts from labor reserve areas to productive areas to offer cheap labor in plantations and mines.
- To transport and import coercive apparatus forces such as police and army to seize resistance in productive areas when resistance occurs so that production is not interfered. Resistances such as MAUMAU resistance in Kenya.
- To transport manufactured goods after being imported in African colonies; these imported manufactured commodities were transported to the market areas for example they transported to the productive areas (interior) where most Africans lived hence goods like clothes, food, agricultural tools were distributed to the European settlers. European administrators and to African laborers by using colonial infrastructure.
- These colonial infrastructures aimed to facilitate communication from one area to another area either of the same colony or of different colony in order to make easy ruling of the colonies.
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