What is Neo-Colonialism? How it is Manifested and What can be done?

What is Neo-Colonialism?

Neo-colonialism can be defined as the indirect control of the economic, political and socio-cultural life of African countries by their former colonial masters. Unlike colonialism which was direct control, neo-colonialism operates indirectly and secretly.

Neo-colonialism is a mechanism put in place by the European colonial masters to maintain control of their former colonies after independence. During the colonial period, the European had a steady supply of raw materials from their African colonies and a market for their finished goods. when the Africans started clamoring for their independence, the Europeans knew that it was only a matter of time before they had to grant the colonies independence, thus they created neo colonialism in other to maintain control.

Over the years, neo-colonialism has manifested itself in Africa in several different domains which include political, economic and the socio-cultural systems such as; military takeovers, uneven balance of trade, and the dependence of countries on their former colonial masters, the quality of education.

How it is Manifested and What can be Done?

Politically. Africa has been plagued by coup d’états which has ousted several African leaders who carried out policies that did not favor former colonial masters. This was the case between the 1960 and thee 1990. An example was the Congo crises in the 1960 which ended with the killing of Patrice Lumumba.

Also, there is what is known as the dependency syndrome in Africa which is another form in which neo-colonialism manifests itself. African countries still depend on their former colonial masters for protection, financial assistance. Through financial institutions like the IMF and the Briton woods institutions, the colonial masters has used aids as a means of controlling their former colonies an example is the structural adjustment program implemented (SAP) by the IMF. These policies have made Africa dependent on western countries for assistance and through these assistance the western countries has been able to indirectly maintain control over African countries.

Another form in which neo-colonialism manifest itself is the inferiority complex or the superiority of the white race. African believes that their cultures ideas and way of life is inferior to that  of the Europeans and that anything coming from the west is better than the ones made in Africa and that  is why Africans consume more of products titled made in the UK, made in France than those made in Africa.

Another form in which neo-colonialism manifest itself is through the trade imbalance between the African countries and the western countries. African countries produce raw materials and sell to the Europeans who take the raw materials, transform it and then send the finished products back to Africa. The prices of such raw materials are usually determined by the Europeans. This has led to negative terms of trade at the detriment of the Africans.in other words, the African economy is not complimentary as Africans produce what they do not consume and consume what they do not produce, a system which stare=ted during the colonial ere

Another manifestation of neo-colonialism is in the educational system of Africa. During the colonial period, the education given to the Africans was meant to train some Africans to assist them in their work of administering the territory. The education was meant to train clerks and teacher and technical education was neglected to ensure that African schools do not produce technicians who will produce good that will rival their own .Also, certain skill can only be acquired in western schools and when the Africans go there, they are indoctrinated in European way and when they come back, they are more of westerners than Africans.

Another manifestation of neo-colonialism is in the domain of the military. Africa countries still depend on their former colonial masters especially former French colonies for the training of their armed forces, supply of weapons, and also for protection. Some of the Europeans have even established military basis in their former colonies like the British in Kenya

In addition, neo-colonialism also manifests itself in the monetary policy of African countries. The value of the currency of African countries is usually low compared to those of the west. For instance the exchange rate between the dollars and the CFA is about 1 dollars is exchanged for about 550 francs. Also, the currency of African countries is constantly being devalued. The high exchange rate has made it difficult for African countries to have the necessary financial means or the same purchasing power as the Europeans and thus it is difficult for countries to acquire certain machines that could be vital for their development.

What can be done?

The problem created by neocolonialism is enormous but there is some solution. Africans should not accept loans that have so many conditions attached to them, they should find alternative sources of borrowing such as borrowing from their citizens only at home and abroad. This will give them more control over economic decisions regarding their countries.

They should also reject the political involvement of western powers in their internal affairs and should resist if they try to get involve in their affairs. This can be possible through transparency and openness in the political affairs of countries.

In addition, African should know themselves and believe tin their ability and culture. This can be done through education and sensitization campaigns with the aim of wiping out the stench that colonialism left on them.

Also, a revision of the educational system should be done. Educational systems shouldbe revised to follow the trend of the world and focus should be paid on new development s to make the educational systems relevant. For instance, Information and Communication Technology is the new trend of the world.

In conclusion, neo-colonialism is a system that is worse than colonialism practiced by the Europeans. it operates indirectly and in the shadows and its effects are more visible and has very negative consequences on African countries and has greatly hindered their socio-economic development. it is an evil worse than colonialism itself. For African countries to be developed very they have to find a way to put an end to neo-colonialism.


Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 1973.london and Tanzania publishing house

Harold Nyikal, Neo-colonialism inAfrica; the economic crises in Africa and thepropagation of the status quo by the world bank/IMF andWTO, 2005

Stephanie Parenti, Neo-colonialism constructions and solutions, 2011, university of central Florida

Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism, the last stage of Imperialism, 1965thomas Nelson and sons ltd





Roland Suh Fuh

Protection Monitor INTERSOS, M.A in Peace, Conflict and Security

Roland Suh Fuh has 3 posts and counting. See all posts by Roland Suh Fuh

Roland Suh Fuh

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