Africa’s underdevelopment is a complex issue influenced by historical, economic, social, political, and environmental factors. It’s important to recognize that Africa is a vast continent with diverse nations, each facing unique circumstances.
The regions of Africa are; North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa, while the sovereign states that made up Africa are; Algeria, Angola, Benin Republic, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Republic of Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritama, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger Republic, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Top 12 Reasons Why Africa Is Underdeveloped
Development is the processes and stages of growth. States in Africa and African as a continent is unarguably considered to be underdeveloped. This is as a result of certain factors which this article is set to highlight. The factors include:
1. Bad Governance and Political Unrest: Many African countries are faced with the problem of bad governance both in the past and presently. A typical instance is the ruling of Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe as Prime Minister from the year 1980 to 1987 and as President of the country from 1987 to 2017 under a revolutionary government. This he was able to achieve through the practice of dictatorship. Areas such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola, Regardless of their rich subsoil and raw materials, suffer poor management from poor governance.
In the African Economic Conference held in 2017, it was noted that poor governance has been a major impediment to the development of Africa as a continent. Nigeria currently suffers from undisputable economic setback and this is as a result of poor management of the economy by the government. Although the economy may not have been at its best during the past, but the rate at which it rapidly drops down today is worrisome and clearly suggests non-management at all.
Zimbabwe also experience drastic economic dropdown which is traceable to the monopoly of power by a single individual through the years. While it is quite easier to drop downwards, it costs much more than effort to remedy these wrongs.
Almost all the African countries battle with bad governance. Africa will remain underdeveloped if the concept of governance remains undefined within the practice.
2. Crises: There is no African country without crises, ranging from terrorism, political crises, banditry, etc. the conflict in Tigray region of Ethiopia has led the country into famine. The conflict resulted from political unrest pertaining to the governance of the Northern region. Crises also include health crises. Many African countries had at one point or the other struggled to contain one disease and the other. Diseases such as Ebola Virus, Bubonic plague, the most recent covid 19 pandemic and many more.
Democratic Republic of Congo also has issues of political conflict in its Eastern Regions and human rights violation. Also South Africa has struggled to contain several crises ranging from political, looting and extreme poverty. Nigeria is not left out as the country has always remained at the peak of crises.
While all theses African countries struggle to manage these crises, other countries are busy building their economy and developing the state. This poses a major reason why Africa remains underdeveloped.
3. Corruption: Corruption is a term and practice identifiable and common to African countries. This is particular with the government as they prioritize their personal interest over that of the state. Embezzlement of public fund in African is on a turn by turn basis. This very menace is attributable to every African country.
4. Unhealthy Environment and Inadequate Infrastructure: In Africa, the little effort to strengthen our health sector has been a futile. Good number of environmental factors contributes to the poor healthy environment of the states in Africa. Factors such as; limited access to health care, health care system with little or no investment facilities, natural disaster, poor water quality, poor waste management, etc.
The management of environmental factors is another benchmark for ascertaining the development of a state. Most African countries have poor infrastructural development including poor road network and lack of maintenance culture. All these put together constitute reasons why Africa is still underdeveloped.
5. Crimes: African countries are notorious for crimes. The state paves the way and issue reasons foe commission of crimes while the citizens then go ahead to commit the crime. Certainly, there is no society without crime, even the most developed countries. However, the ability of a state to contain its crime rate is a notable mark for development.
African states as at this point have failed to achieve a minimal crime environment. African prisons have become congested, and there has been a room for rehabilitation practice just like in other developed countries. This is another reason why African remains underdeveloped.
6. Unemployment: Unemployment is the phenomenon of joblessness in an economy. African countries today are still faced with the issue of high rate of unemployment. This is traceable to poor governance and poor management of the economy. Another reason for unemployment is over population.
This still revolves around the economy because it simply suggests that African economy is incapable of catering for its population. Nigeria is considered the giant of Africa because it is the most populated in Africa. Being the most populated is no longer an achievement; rather it is the capacity to contain the population, looking at the height of our economy. Africa currently experiences what is known as brain drain.
This is the migration of educated and talented people from less economically advanced areas to more economically advanced areas, especially to large cities or richer countries. This is the level of underdevelopment with which Africa is faced with.
7. Education: Government in African states have shown little or no investment in the education sector or the countries. Capable brains in African countries have been deprived of smooth education system as a result. This is the height of underdevelopment in Africa.
8. Dependency: African countries suffers from dependency syndrome. Most African states are incapable of surviving independently. Dependency is different from interdependency. While interdependency is so much encouraged, dependency should not be heard of a sovereign state.
Even after colonialization and secession of African countries, the countries are yet faced with what is known as neocolonialism. Neocolonialism is the control or domination by a powerful country over weaker ones, especially former colonies, by the use of economic pressure, political suppression and cultural dominance.
Most African countries are still dependent on other countries for certain productions and economic aid. This is another reason why Africa is still underdeveloped.
9. History: Most African countries had a rough history and its effect is still traceable to today’s misfortune; histories such as colonialism, slavery, cold wars, etc.
10. Technology: African countries are backward when it comes to technological advancement and innovations. Technological advancement is another benchmark for ascertaining the level of development of a country. Poor technological advancement of Africa is manifest in all sectors such as health, agricultural, educational and other sectors of the economy.
11. Debt load: One important aspect of Africa’s underdevelopment is its high debt load. The debt from the continent’s colonial past was passed down to newly independent countries as a historical legacy. High debt servicing expenses can take a sizable chunk of a nation’s budget away from essential public services like healthcare and education. This reduces fiscal flexibility and the capacity to effectively handle crises or shocks in the economy.
Additionally, having a high amount of debt may hurt a nation’s creditworthiness, making it harder and more expensive to access foreign financial markets. It might be difficult to escape the cycle of debt that results from borrowing to pay off one’s previous debt. In order to reduce the continent’s debt load, ethical lending practices must be promoted as well as appropriate budgeting and borrowing habits. Reducing dependence on borrowing from outside sources also requires actions to increase domestic resource mobilization and increase tax collection. In general, controlling debt levels is crucial to fostering a climate that will support sustainable economic growth and development in Africa.
12. Limited Access to financing: Africa’s growth is hampered in a big way by its limited access to financing. Finding finance and financial services is difficult for many local residents and companies. This stifles investment, inhibits entrepreneurship, and constricts economic expansion. In addition, a lack of financial resources may force a person to rely on illegal and unsafe financial channels, which may be expensive and dangerous.
This limits people’s and companies’ capacity to grab opportunities and handle economic hardships. In order to address this problem, efforts must be made to increase financial inclusion, increase loan availability, and enhance regulatory infrastructure. African countries can unleash the potential of their entrepreneurial and business sectors and promote economic growth and development by enhancing access to credit.
The fight for development of Africa has been a daily struggle. The passion has always been there to take the African region to a classic economy. Whether or not there is the might, is a question of individual responsibility. Individual responsibility is in the sense that wherever one is, changes can always be made within that vicinity. African has all it takes to skyrocket into a perfect economy. The problem seems to be that the management is being marred by unmeritorious individuals, and also as a result of the difficulties in correcting the past errors.