Neocolonialism, also termed as neo-imperialism, refers to a system where the developed nations use globalization, capitalism, and cultural imperialism as a tool to influence developing countries as opposed to indirect political control (Hegemony) or the use of military control (imperialism). The term is associated with the former president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, who coined it about the African countries undergoing decolonization during the 1960s. African nations have remained dependent on their colonial masters economically, politically, and socio-culturally which has proved to be costly as Africa has not come out from the obscenity of lack of food, poverty, diseases, and corruption.
Neocolonialism and the Economy
Initially, the term was used about policies of European nations that were perceived to be part of the schemes to maintain control of Africa including other dependencies. The single event that marked the start the usage of the word was the Paris European Summit in 1957 when six countries in Europe decided to include their overseas territories in the European Common Market. The move was seen as by many national leaders as representing a new type of economic dominion over French-occupied Africa and the colonial territories of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. The term has now come to be seen as involving a coordinated attempt by the former colonial powers and other developed countries to impede development growth in developing countries and making them as a source of cheap labor and cheap raw materials. It has been believed that economic agreements between the developed nations and less developed countries lack trust and sometimes benefit the developed countries at the expense of poor developing nations, for instance, foreign aid agencies, and multi-national corporations demand certain conditions to be fulfilled to offer their services.
These demands may include denying them the chance to work with other countries. Furthermore, multi-national corporations present in low-income nations take the repatriate all profits earned back to their home countries. Besides, they burden developing countries with high-interest debts through what they term as development loans. For instance, African natural minerals are taken and traded at a higher price in European markets compared to the African markets. Neocolonialism is evident in Africa as a recent study by the American Investment Bank that shows South Africa is the richest country yet Europeans own 80% of the wealth despite it being an African nation.
Neocolonialism and Politics
Neocolonialism was believed to be closely connected to the Cold War, and of particular interest was the US policy commonly known as the Truman Doctrine, where the US offered vast sums of money to any nation that accepted the US protection from communism. The policy enabled the US to expand its influence and in certain cases, to place some foreign countries under its control. The developed countries, including the US, have participated in the subordination of developing countries. Critics have argued that developed countries have also interfered with conflicts and assisted in installing regimes that are friendly and would be willing to act for the benefit of foreign organizations and going contrary to the country’s interest. According to Kwame Nkrumah, the division of Africa through balkanization has made Africa weak politically and dependent on developed nations.
Neocolonialism and Culture
Neocolonialism has led to eroding of African culture, for instance, the native African language was replaced by the European languages and was made their official languages. Family structure has also been changed as Africans used to live in extended families and now they have given way to nuclear families and disrupting their way of life. There is less respect for elderly by the younger generations. Africans are no longer guided by their conservative, traditional culture regarding sexuality which has led to dissolute sexual activities and increased number of single parents and sexual diseases. The growth of towns has led to mass village migration and also displacement of people due to constructions during the process of expansion. Change of religion has also become common as many Africans are now becoming Christians.