History of Modern Africa

History of Modern Africa

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The history of modern Africa takes up where the Scramble for Africa left off. Rival European empires had by 1900 carved up almost all of Africa. Only Ethiopia and Liberia remained free. Europeans created political, economic and social instability throughout their rule, until World War II brought a rise in nationalist sentiment which led to independence movements. As a result, many colonies gained their independence in the 1950s and 1960s. While African independence movements were mostly peaceable, others were not. Algeria and Kenya experienced bloody wars of independence from France and Britain, respectively. The borders of many new African states bore no relation to those of their pre-colonial tribal polities. In fact, they led to frequent tribal conflict and sometimes civil war. Nationalism replaced both the traditional and the colonial political and social ethos with African leadership and indigenous political, educational, religious, and social networks.

Although rich in natural resources, Africa is the world’s poorest continent and its human capital remains under-developed. The usual culprits figure prominently: corruption, human rights violations, inefficient central planning, little access to investment capital, and frequent tribal and inter-state conflict. At times these conflicts have involved foreign guerrilla forces and even led to genocide. And Africa’s social problems are no less formidable. Poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, poor sanitation, water-borne diseases, and many other maladies affect large numbers of Africans.

However, the World Bank expects that most African countries will achieve at least a “middle income” of US$1,000 per person per year by 2025 if the current lively economic growth persists.

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Modern Africa Index | Society | Culture | Power: NationalismIndependence | Economy: Challenges | Central Africa: AngolaRwandaZaire | East Africa: EthiopiaSomalia | Southern Africa: Namibia | South Africa: SocietyPower: Union of South AfricaElections | Economy | Zimbabwe | Ghana | Nigeria

Modern Africa: Index




Power: Nationalism

Power: Independence

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Economy: Challenges

Central Africa: Angola

Central Africa: Rwanda

Central Africa: Zaire

East Africa: Ethiopia

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East Africa: Somalia

Southern Africa: Namibia

Southern Africa: South Africa

South Africa: Society

South Africa: Power

Power: Union of South Africa

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Power: Elections


Southern Africa: Zimbabwe

West Africa: Ghana

West Africa: Nigeria

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