Spain, England, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Germans, European were all governed by Kings who professed the nations. The lords provided the Kings with people for their army in return they were given lands where peasants worked for 1/3 of the harvest some even for less. The Crown King Charles I of England awarded Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore ten million acres of land. Lord Baltimore divided the land into plots to be run by Lords. The lords recruited tenants; in return the tenants worked the lands and paid rents to the privileged elite who owned the land. As Crown King Charles I awarded Lord Baltimore ten million acres of land. “The All Mighty” awarded African Kings and Chiefs the land of the Continent for their personal use to do as they wish.
Africa, Asia and Europe had the same governance whereby power and wealth was concentrated in the hands of the Kings. Why then is Sub-Sahara Africa poorer than the rest of the world today?
According to Historians “The Peripheral of the Red Sea” 70 AD and “The Christian Topographic” 525 AD Adulait Kingdom in modern day Eritrea was an old state that was frequented by Asian sailors who traded with Adulis Empire. The Adulis Empire was a vibrant trading center with a highly centralized polity who had a well sized population actively engaged in commerce and entrepreneurship. Adulis Empire extended its trade as far as India. The Aksum kingdom which came years after Adulait Kingdom located in modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea with peripheral across the Red Sea in present day Saudi and Yemen was founded in 400 BC. Aksum kingdom was a developed state that was engaged in international trade with Greece, Arabia, India and as far as the Roman Empire. Many more kingdoms were known to Africa, Ashante Empire in modern day Ghana, Sudan Empire, the Oyo Kingdom in to-days Nigeria, Egypt, Kongo Kingdom, Mali Empire and Xhosa in South Africa came to an end due to Slave trade introduced by Europeans’.
Kingdom of Kongo known as Democratic Republic of Congo was a sizable kingdom with its capital, Mbanza. The king of Kongo, Nzinga came in contact with the Portuguese around 1483 was converted to Catholicism changed his name to Sao Salvador. Kongolese were introduced to the western innovation the GUN. They used these guns to capture and export slaves. The warfare and conflict caused loss of life and put in motion new institutional development in Africa. The slave trade destroyed the old peaceful systems replacing it with more absolutist institution that was instrumental to sell slaves to European slave merchants “The New Economy”. The kings have no incentives to plow the land any longer and have been busy capturing and selling slaves for export for much more profit. The population had no reason to farm for they were captured and sold as slaves. In the 1400 there was a vibrant slave trade in East Africa, and a large number of slaves were transported to the Arabian Peninsula. In the sixteenth century 300,000 slaves were traded in the Atlantic from Central Africa Kingdom of Congo and Portuguese were the benefactors. By 1700 slave trade escalated due to the development of the plantation in the Americans and Caribbean European colonies. According to N. Numm “the effect of Slave Trade” 2008; and J. Diamond, “Guns, Germs and Steel” 1997 clearly talks some of Africa’s desolation, anguish and despair. In the seventeenth century 1,350,000 Africans were sold as slaves across the Atlantic and shipped to the Americas. In the eighteenth century 6,000,000 slaves were shipped across the Atlantic. More than 10,000,000 Africans were shipped out of Africa as slaves. Many more Africans were lost in the continual internal warfare that was waged to capture slaves.
Hence it’s these long historical facts that have undermined human and property rights in Africa. The substantial profits from slave trade led not only to its escalation it also was the main reason for the distraction of institutions, problem for development, meaning moving people and resources from traditional sector agriculture, villages and state centralization was totally destroyed and many of the African states collapsed.
Even though the slave trade ended in 1807 European colonialism came to do more harm to the economic modernization and destroyed all the possibility of indigenous governance. There were mass disruption and large scale murder; there was no chance for Africa to secure good governance. East, West and Central Africa were a total loss and turned into a gathering of small poor communities, with no economic institution and ruled by local feeble chiefs. Southern and Northern Africa was spared from the adverse effects of the slave trade and internal warfare. South Africa was first invaded in 1652 by the Dutch. The indigenous population Ciskei and Transkei known as Xhosa lived in the interior. The British colonized the cost and Cape Town and the Dutch descent the Afrikaners or Boers migrated to the interior of Africa and formed their own states Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Discovery of vast amount of diamond in 1867 and rich gold mines in 1886 and mineral wealth in the interior forced the British to extend their colony. The British found the Union of South Africa in 1910. The expansion of European settlement and the introduction of the mining industry demanded more food and agricultural product. These new economy opened opportunities for the habitants Xhosa. In 1832 the indigenous population Ciskei and Transkei known as Xhosa started to work and buy spades, ploughs, wagons and land. They become land owners, houses were erected. Agricultural economy developed tribal institutions gave way eighty thousand native farmers purchased lands in the Transkei district. This development came to an abrupt halt. The Natives Land Act of 1913 awarded 87% of the land to the white minority bestowed the economic and political power to the 20% white minority for enslavement of the black majority. The act of 1913 institutionalized the formation of the South African Apartheid regime that lasted until 1994.
Independence did not bring remedy, the structure of the colonial rule left Africa with more governance problems than prior to colonialism. Independence brought about leaders that were unscrupulous who intensified the manipulating of markets extracting the national wealth that European colonialist presided over. African leaders after independence, leaders like King Haile-Selassie of Ethiopia impoverished their citizens. The Communist regime in Ethiopia that toppled the King was known for massacring thousands of Ethiopians, running the economy to the ground. Mobutu of Zaire and the elite known as “Les Grosses Legumes” became very wealthy by robbing the country’s wealth. Mobutu had castles in Europe and owned large property, palaces in Belgium capital Brussels and large airports in his native village that used to land rented Air France airplane. Mobutu could have built a better country for his people. Kabila who overthrow Mobutu promising change and good governance was more corrupt and killed more of his citizens. In Kenya the leaders of freedom fighters like Kenyatta who took over as the first president’s his family and associate own 90% of the fertile lands and dominate the political and economic power of Kenya. The minority regime in Ethiopia “Weyane” has not faired any better than their previous rulers, The Weyane’s have introduced “land grab.” Many multinational companies and foreign private speculators have leased millions of acres of the country’s most fertile territory from the government at bargaining price. This has engendered numerous human rights violations, much dissatisfaction, and growing resistance by indigenous communities’ and drastic inequalities remain prevalent. Around 90 percent of the population suffers from numerous deprivations, ranging from insufficient access to education to inadequate health care; and more than 30 million people still face chronic food shortages. These leaders are not willing to introduce economic institutions that create incentives for economic progress that redistribute income and power rather have made sure that the few elite in power and their family enrich themselves.
Today in most of African countries political power is concentrated in the hands of a few elite who have little if any incentives to secure economic progress for the people; enhance social justice to improve quality of life or encourage economic progress to the majority. Instead the elite’s in power desires are to extort National Wealth and sustain their power to enrich themselves and the very few associates. The post-independence governments of Africa have partnered with their colonial masters by providing favorable terms to oil and mining industry, exempting foreign companies from capital gain taxes to enrich themselves while the great majority of their people live in dreadful, ominous, calamitous poverty. They enable and strengthen the abuses of the colonialist. They concoct their political power, consolidated the economic incentives and hindered the economic progress. Africa will suffer as long as these “strong” men of Africa are in leadership.