The Slave Trade, Colonialism and Africa's Underdevelopment


Halima Yakubu Mukhtar
Sani Mustapha Kura
Yakaka Abba
Muhammed Adam Ahmed


A revisit to the episode of Africa's slave trade and colonialism is clearly two important issues that markedly affected the economic development of African continents during the last five centuries. The triangular pattern of exchange under the Atlantic trading system led to the greatest benefit of Europe and left Africa being the loser. The Fertile and largely untapped resources of the New World (i.e the North and South America as well as the Caribbean Island) were tremendously transformed through the importation of African labour force-slave trade via the dreaded "middle passage" or the Atlantic crossing with Europe serving as the provider of capital.
The absence of data about the size of Africa's population in the 15th century makes it difficult to carry out any scientific assessment of the result of the population flow. Britain being the first to industrialize in the 18th century spearheaded the abolishing of slave trade activities in the 19th century. The realization of Britain that instead of transporting the Africans to the New World to work under service condition in whiteowned plantations, it was better to leave the Africans where they were and encourage them to produce what was needed by British industries. This gave rise to the transition between the end of the Atlantic slave trade and the beginning of colonialism. It is against this backdrop that this paper discusses how the phenomena of the slave trade and the colonialism that played part in its underdevelopment.