eli5:why is Africa generally poor compared to the rest of the world.


Africa has a lot of natural resources but has always relied on foreign aid. Nonetheless has famine, poor road network, poor Healthcare etc. Please explain.

In: 2392

because corruption is endemic. incidentally, this is not limited to africa, but is common in third world countries around the world. once a government gets into power, they sell the rights to those resources (and government contracts, and pretty much anything with money value) for pennies, but get huge bribes for themselves. the entire culture of government is different in africa. people in the west talk about corruption, but they really have no idea how bad it can get and how little the people of the country can do about it. nobody else wants to, because they are all benefiting from it, so it is hard to clean up.

Africa was looted by the colonial powers for 400 years, both natural resources and people in the Transatlantic slave trade. After liberation from colonialism in the 1960s-70s things started looking up, but the first world invented new ways of looting the continent, called neocolonialism.

One example was a deal between an African state and France that said that both countries had equal access to each others fishing waters. Of course no African fishing boat could make the journey to France while France vacuumed the fishing waters with their modern fishing trawlers.

Another way is that when governments emerge that do not obey first world diktats, suddenly the human rights record is a major problem and there is a coup or regime change war.


Colonialism basically ended 50 – 60 years ago in most cases. Whilst some colonialism (looking at you, Belgium) was regressive and cruel, in most other cases in Africa it was quite benevolent and in many cases actually improved things.

The problem Africa has is that basically, since the Africans began to manage their countries for themselves 50 years or so ago, corruption and mismanagement has been the order of the day.

Don’t believe me ? Compare with Asia, where the same colonialism happened but most countries there are now thriving economies.

As simply put as possible with an answer relevant to the recent past (last hundred years): Warfare. Nearly the entirey of the continent of Africa in the last 100 years has either been in a state of pre-war, post-war, war, or civilwar.

The results of all these wars is a on-again, off-again pulses of human migration from/to the conflicting regions to the non-conflicting regions (which tend to then usually destablize and become conflict zones in return).

As such, modern africa very heavily resembles from a socio-political structure the european feudal period with warlords effectively holding control of sub-regions of nations where they’re “protecting” the people…and while the lucky select few profit and establish personal wealth and security, those under them do not.