30 Dec 2022


The Impact of European Colonization on Developing Nations' Politics and Economy

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The European powers had at one time dominated most of the developing nations in the hope of achieving political, social, religious, and economic supremacy. These colonial powers instituted political and economic structures, which benefited them in that they got raw materials and labor for their industries and economies. While the European powers achieved exponential economic and political growth owing to their vast and productive colonies, the colonies themselves were disadvantaged largely. Even long after the colonies got their independence, they are yet to do away with the political and economic structures that were instituted by the colonial powers. These political and economic structures are rigid which have impacted negatively on these countries ability to progress economically and politically.

Challenges Emanating from Colonization 

Most of the nations that were under European powers domination still use their colonial masters’ constitutional edicts, provisions, and obligations. These edicts were fit for the colonial period as they helped in creating a capitalist economy where the means of production belonged to the elite. According to Assenova and Regele (2017), this scenario has continued to play out which means that the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. As a result, the developing nations have witnessed a trend where the elite political leaders amass wealth using corrupt means leaving the majority without requisite social services. As a result, most individuals in the developing nations do not have access to equitable, affordable, and quality education, sanitation and education (Assenova and Regele, 2017). The leaders who are tasked with the responsibility of providing these services are only concerned with fleecing their weakened economies. This then means that the developing nations will continue to experience high poverty rate and underdevelopment.

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Colonialism played a central role in altering the development of colonialized nations by creating a dependent mentality. The colonial powers succeeded in creating helpless countries that believed that they could only thrive with outside help (Ziltener, Kunzler, and Walter, 2017). In this way, the colonies were not able to put in place mechanisms to enhance a successful takeoff once they got their own independence. It is perhaps for this reason that most of the developing nations still source out expertise from developed nations to help them deal with their issues. The infrastructural, industrial, technological, educational, and healthcare development is linked to developed nations. Worse still, according to Berensmann (2019), half of the developing nations are heavily indebted to the International Monetary Fund which affects their economic development even further. It is to be noted that the developing nations are victims of imbalanced trade with their developed peers an outcome of skewed colonization. Developing nations spend billions of dollars on importing industrial goods as compared to the money they get on exporting agricultural produce. The imbalanced trade, therefore, means that there is little or no money left for development, which contributes to poor health outcomes, low literacy rates, and general poverty (Ziltener et al, 2017). The citizens of these nations are a burdened lot as they are overly taxed in an effort to seal the gaping financial deficits that plague these nations.

Role of Political Leaders in Dealing with the Challenges Presented by Colonialism 

The political leaders have a major role to play to deal with the numerous problems that continue to plague developing nations. It is important to note that the leaders who followed in the steps of their colonial masters have perpetrated most of the challenges that exist in the developing nations. Instead of finding ways to avert the situation created by the colonialist the leaders were keen on creating their own little colonies by being corrupt. One can attest to the fact that most of the political leaders repatriate their countries finances for their own good thus worsening the situation. However, political leaders can avert the situation if they had political goodwill. In this case, the political leaders have the responsibility of ensuring that the funds go into the relevant economic development projects and programs. More so, the political leaders should cut down on their budgets so that they fit within their resources to cut back on unnecessary debts, which have continued to plague these nations. In this way, the political leaders will be able to albeit slowly alleviate the livelihoods of their citizens and perhaps one day match up with the developed nations.


Assenova, V. A., & Regele, M. (2017). Revisiting the effect of colonial institutions on comparative economic development. PLoS ONE, 12(5), e0177100.

Berensmann, K. (2019, February 11). Why Developing Countries are Facing a Renewed Debt Crisis. German Development Institute. Retrieved on July 1, 2019, from https://www.die-gdi.de/en/the-current-column/article/why-developing-countries-are-facing-a-renewed-debt-crisis-1/

Ziltener, P., Kunzler, D., & Walter, A. (2017). Research note: Measuring the impacts of colonialism: A new data set for the countries of Africa and Asia. Journal of World-Systems Research, 23(1), 156-190.

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