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Taking Development Steps in Africa: In the Shadow of African Stereotypes

Taking Development Steps in Africa: In the Shadow of African Stereotypes

African peoples are beyond the laws of humanitarian development and change, due to some natural weaknesses or second-class nature — they seem to have a history that requires a serious approach to any other continent, rather than a Museum of Barbarism.

(Basil Davidson, Africa in History, 1991)

The African continent was one of the World Trade centers for centuries. However, the wanton looting of resources from the continent during the colonial period pushed the continent to impoverishment. Today, the word Africa brings to mind the concepts of “poverty, diseases and war’’. It is useful to take a look at the background and influential actors to understand why these concepts are compatible with the continent, why they are the first discourses that come to mind, and the process of building tomorrow by developing. Recognizing an African continent alone as a country is an unacceptable misconception. The one-hundred measurements of the African continent are about three times the size of the America.

Unlike what is thought to be a huge continent, it does not consist of arid lands. It has a very variable climate. The 5.895m-high Kilimanjaro Mountain in Tanzania offers glaciers, visitors to Mount Kenya for ice climbing from all over the world, and Morocco’s Atlas Mountain is also a favorite destination for skiing tourism. South Africa has four seasons. Unlike the unknown, snowfall is also visible in southern Africa. (Nüsser, 2009)

There are many factors behind the revival of this continent’s perceptions in our minds today. These factors are primarily promoted by popular media. The African continent has been used for many years as a type of interest in media channels. So much so that documentaries showing wildlife and the perception of wild and dangerous Africa have been placed in our knowledge from childhood times. This perception mechanism is demonstrated by African lions’ hunting forests, dodgy and wild animals, or as a continent without the safety that terrorist incidents never stop. Another common perception is an exotic and fragmented African model.

This perception attracts the primitive tribes of Africa and the living conditions that lack European civilization. Diseases are common and poor children are portrayed. If a concrete example is needed, the British news magazine The Economist, one of the popular magazines in Europe, featured a Sierra Leonean citizen holding a rocket in its cover art in its May 2000 issue. This picture is depicted in the map of the African Continent. As the title, ” Hopeless Continent” is included. (Akçay, 2020)

Fragmented, exotic, primitive and brutal African stereos are still available on a variety of media channels. It is not true to assume these images as they are or to constantly raise a continent with negative aspects, it will soon lead to a decrease in hopes of the continent and the transfer of the image of African pessimism for generations.

This geography is rich in agricultural products and natural resources such as oil, diamond, gold and uranium. Despite its vast wealth of resources, African countries are among the most backward countries in the World. The fundamental question face by politicians and policymakers is how to combat the challenges that hinder development so that Africa can evolve like Asia?

Africa has learnt from The Chinese, that the most effective way to salvage Africa is a massive infrastructure, build human resources through education which would make living and business easier for the people. While only 4 percent of Africa’s arable land has been irrigated since 1965, this case is 15 percent in Asia. If the agriculture sector doesn’t work well, it means a lot of things are not right in Africa. (Kariuki, 2011) Infrastructure deficiencies, social causes and investment deficiencies are some of the obstacles encountered in agriculture. On the other hand, many Africans live to eat today and tomorrow but never in five or ten years. Their plans are not that far ahead hence they are in their position today.

Farmers, small and medium scale enterprise locally consume the little profit obtained after selling their products. The best way to escape poverty anywhere in the World is to focus on growth, not consumption. The Africans of this continent are hard laborers but with little or no plans for the future. To change this ideology, agricultural incentives should be increased and educated farmers should be brought to society.

In addition to agricultural incentives should be created to provide continuous expertise in the sector. In this context, the Netherlands, can be cited as an exemplary country that implements tax deductions for employee training. To prevent brain drain due to lack of appropriate educational conditions, the education system of countries with advanced education systems must be examined by the continent’s instructors and a new stage of transformation must be undertaken. Projects to increase literacy for rural residents should be supported by the state. In social terms, women should be given family planning training and unconsciously control the growing population.

After the Cold War, with the intervention of IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank experts, an export – dependent Africa was created that was far from industrialization and consumed without production. Africa doesn’t need foreign aid given the wealth of resources it’s endowed with. African countries should take steps to strengthen economic alliances and collaborations between Northern and southern regions, rather than foreign aid and loans. However, Africa should equip its young with the skills to exploit the resources themselves.

As a result, African countries need to work together to promote peace and stability while addressing trade obstacles, climate change, corruption and the opportunities and challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. The backstage of media perception is an Africa determined to improve. Africa is in the process of making sure steps toward becoming a required actor in the global competitive environment. By taking lessons from the world, it is projected that co-operation and building tomorrow will be the basis for existing internal turmoil, education disruptions and the transformation of political tensions into a policy of stability.


Mazrui, Ali AlʼAmin,’’The Re-invention of Africa: Edward Said, V. Y. Mudimbe, and Beyond’’, September 2005, Research in African Literatures 36(3):68-82.

Davidson, Basil, ‘’Africa in History’’, 1991.

Poncian, Japhace, ‘’ The persistence of western negative perceptions about Africa: Factoring in the role of Africans’’, Journal of African Studies and Development, 03 March 2014.

Kariuki, Julius, ‘’The Future of Agriculture in Africa’’, THE PARDEE PAPERS / No. 15 / August 2011, Boston University.

Gilbert, Eric, Reynolds, Jonathan, ‘’Dünya Tarihinde Afrika’’, Küre Yayınları, 2. Baskı, s.21-26.

Orakçı, Serhat, ‘’Afrika’da 2030 Beklentileri’’, INSAMER, 26 Kasım 2018, https://insamer.com/tr/afrikada-2030-beklentileri_1810.html.

Yıldırım, Emre, ‘’Afrika ve Yeni Sömürgecilik’’, INSAMER, 08 Mayıs 2019, https://insamer.com/tr/afrika-ve-yeni-somurgecilik_2166.html.

Nüsser, Marcus ‘’ Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya: Colonized Mountains and their Rediscovery as Symbols of Global Climate Change’’, January 2009, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273380670_Kilimanjaro_and_Mount_Kenya_Colonized_Mountains_and_their_Rediscovery_as_Symbols_of_Global_Climate_Change

Akçay, Ahmet, ‘’Afrika Söylemi’’INDEPENDENT, 14 Ağustos 2020, https://www.indyturk.com/node/226636/t%C3%BCrkiyeden-sesler/afrika-s%C3%B6ylemi

Orakçı, Serhat, ‘’Mitle Gerçek Arasında Yükselen Afrika”, INSAMER, 31 Ekim 2018, https://insamer.com/tr/mitle-gercek-arasinda-yukselen-afrika_1751.html.

Berna Aktaş

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