Growing up in a third world country, I thought my great grandparents were colonized and I, a free child. I was sorely mistaken and very disappointed when I realized that colonialism still existed in the form of neocolonialism. For the purposes of this blog, Neocolonialism is “ a new imperialist system whereby developing countries are subjected to indirect dependence, subordination and exploitation in conditions when direct colonial domination has been eliminated and the balance of world- to retain political influence over the young states, to ensure the possibility of exploiting their productive forces, especially their natural resources and to keep these countries within the capitalist economy” (1).

Economics in terms of international trade agreements and foreign aid is a form of neo-colonialism. To the West, this is a “means of retaining their shaky positions”, for “giving aid is not about abolishing the backwardness of the developing countries but rather one of turning them into profitable but dependent extensions of the economic systems of the developed states of the west” (2).

Most people believe that increases in trade relations leads to a rise in employment opportunities and inherently a rise in GDP. However they fail to recognize that such aid does not come free. So let me give you an example. In 2009, when Ghana discovered its oil, there was a fuss about who should own the oil fields and whether or not it should be nationalized. Several Western countries started offering aid to poor little Ghana to help her , but with certain terms. The China National Offshore Oil Company offered $4billion dollars sought for a 30% stake in the Jubilee fields (3). Here it is folks, offering aid came at a cost of controlling a third of the stakes in the Jubilee fields. In essence, the Ghanaian government cannot make decisions on their oil sale without consent of their Chinese counterparts. This is directly controlling the economic affairs of the Ghanaian people, hence is a manifestation of economic neo- colonialism.

What is worse is that international economic bodies partake in this act of exploiting third world countries. Economic bodies like the IMF ( International Monetary Fund) are able to control the economic affairs of many third world countries. The IMF lends money at a very short time frame at full interest rate and then imposes upon the country tremendous restrictions on what a country can spend, taking away their ability to ale their own sovereign decision (4).Hence the economy of third world countries today are under the control of foreigners not necessarily under direct control but through the mechanism of debt. Anything that led to the more self reliance of their economies was discouraged by international economic bodies because of this ideology called globalisation. Neo- colonialism takes away the ability for 3rd world countries to make independent decisions, proving that these countries are not “independent” as we all like to believe.

Former imperialist powers have been involved in the politics of third world countries since they gained their “independence” and are still meddling in their political affairs. Unsurprisingly, many Francophone presidents in Subsaharan Africa were overthrown, especially because they tried to seek economic independence from France. For example the former Togolese president, Olympio after independence attempted to replace the CFA (central African franc) with Togo’s own currency. Three days after Togo started printing its new currency, Olympio was killed in a coup led by Gnassingbe Eyadema, who promptly installed Nicolas Grunitzky as President. Grunitzky’s first action was to take Togo right back into the CFA zone, consequently handing Togo over to France all over again. The same happened in Mali, where Modibo Keita wanted to take Mali out of the CFA zone, and was overthrown. However, when the leaders of the newly independent countries did not go against the wishes of their colonizers, they seemed to have had a peaceful tenure in government. As a matter of fact, only Felix Houphouet-Boigny in the Ivory Coast did not attempt at any point to break away from CFA. He was president from 1960 to 1993 in peace (5).From these examples, it is easy to see that although African countries have gained independence, colonial powers have a huge role to play in deciding which political leaders are chosen as presidents. If the people of the third world countries can not choose their own political leaders, are they really independent ?

Furthermore, France was involved in the Ivorian civil conflict of 2011. It is interesting to note that France has no “ right to invade an African country, let alone help one side of an internal conflict over- power another”(6). France’s involvement in the Ivory Coast had nothing to do with enforcing the rule of law, and everything to do with a renewed form of colonialism. A form which does not always involve direct military occupation, but rather the installation of puppet governments .

Another example of imperialist intervention is French intervention in Ivorian civil war in 2002, where they armed both sides of the conflict, and later stepped in to show them how to govern themselves. Clearly, the French still had a huge influence in the Ivorian political system.Once more, imperialist powers such as France and the United States are involved in African politics. It seems that France and the US are particularly keen to reassert their dominance over the African continent. The bombing of the Libyan army, Libyan soldiers, Libyan citizens, Gaddafi’s forces and rebel forces by these imperialist armies did not go unnoticed.

Even though third world countries like to believe they are independent, this is sadly not the case. The West and other former colonialist powers have a huge say in how these countries are run and mask their involvement through foreign aid and military aid. Why don’t former colonial powers and European countries take a look in their own backyard before trying to cover up their intentions in Africa ? I mean it when I say that I feel like third world countries deserve a break from all the exploitation. Sadly the struggle for “independence” from these colonizers continues and I hope to witness the day developing countries can be truly sovereign.





1.Tarabrin, E.A. Neocolonialism and Africa in the 1970s. Moscow :Progress Publishers. 1978. Print

2. Hagen, Everett E. 1962, On the Theory of Social Change (Homewood Ill. Dorsey


4. Jamaica’s economy held hostage by the World Bank.

5. Nwanze, Cheta. The Colonial Pact: How France retained its influence in Africa.

6.McIntyre, Jody. Cote D’Ivoire: neo-colonialism in action. The independent.  Web. April 12 2011.

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