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Would they have been richer or poorer today? This question has elicited debate for more than five decades, and also instigating exciting research by economic historians in colonial archives, an aspect, which has put the debate on a sound empirical footing. Some study findings have shown evidence of improved economic development outcomes within the period of colonialism. For instance, in the British West Africa, there was an increase of real wages (Frankema and Van Waaijenburg 2005, 34). Additionally, the status of military recruits in British East Africa and Ghana indicated that the height was increased during the colonial period, a pointer of increasing prosperity. Other arguments are that colonial rule was predatory. Should we consider this as evidence that colonialism was good for development in African countries? It should be considered that assessing the impact of colonialism does not only involve just looking at raw numbers, but also taking into consideration the counterfactual. We need to think on what the trajectories of African societies would have been at present if colonialism did not take place.
Reid, (2002) observe that most African countries saw a steady rise on incomes during the colonial period. Africans reaped the benefits in development of infrastructure such as roads and railways as well as the mining technology. Colonization also led to deep integration of these African states into the World Trade Center and the world economy (115). However, it is still unclear n the extent by which such developments were contributed by colonialism and whether the development would have happened anyway due to the wake of global trade expansions or any other reason. The fact that there was a rise in the standard of living does not imply that all people’s living standards improved. Just taking an example from South Africa, the immiserising impact of land expropriation and establishment of “dual economies” on
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