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Effects of Specialization in Primary Products for Export to African Economies - Essay Example

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Effects of specialisation in primary products for export to African economies Name: Institution: For many decades, Africa has been referred to as a failed continent. Many years have passed since some of them gained independence but little has been done to reverse the economic challenges that the continent is facing…
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Effects of Specialization in Primary Products for Export to African Economies
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Download file to see previous pages For a long time, the continent has been a source of primary products for the west countries which brand these products and return them to the continent at a higher price. This has made it hard for the African economy to grow as it spends so much money on importing finished goods some of which emanated from the continent. Many of these woes date back from the era of colonization. Majority of the countries in Africa owes their colonizers huge sum of money making them become beggars. For any projects to be successful, they must come into terms with the colonizers. Dependence on international and imperial ties by African countries has also made it impossible for countries to divert their attention to other source of revenue (Cowen 1991). In Kenya coffee has been a major export for decades. The country was one of the best producers of high quality Arabica coffee. Nevertheless, the country concentrated less on improving its quality. This was a tough issue to solve because of the adverse conditions of falling prices and high competition from other countries such as Brazil. Many of the challenges that the product had included various diseases such as coffee berry diseases which became a challenge to the farmers who only concentrated on one crop. Also, due to poor working environment labour unions were formed but played very little part in educating people on how to add value on their products (Hyde 2010, 468). Primary products production in Kenya was faced by various challenges that prevented the government from concentrating on improving the values of the commodities. Different strikes faced coffee sector with employees of different plantations demanding better pay. Poor leadership also made it impossible for the sectors mandated with ensuring that the crop competes successfully in the international market also fail in their task. Instead, they joined in the wrangles an aspect that led to poor production as farmers started uprooting the crop and started planting staple crops such as maize. This issue affected areas that were high producers of the coffee e.g. Ruiru, Thika, Makuyu, Muranga etc. This deep crisis was also felt in the global market as Kenyan coffee, which was one of the largest revenue earner for the country failed to meet the international standards giving way for countries such as Brazil to take the leading position (Hyde 2010, 483). Even after independence, the government never concentrated on reviving the sector or even diversifying its economy. Instead, it continued to depend wholly on the sector as a source of revenue. This made it hard for it to create and sustain developmental projects, which could have helped in steering the economy ahead (Cowen 1991). West African countries faced the same challenge of using primary products as the base for economic growth. Colonialists did put up measures that exposed society to corruption an aspect that retarded growth of the economies of West African countries. In Gold Coast, present day Ghana, the Britons intended to produce groundnuts in large schemes through mechanization of agriculture. They aimed at resettling peasants and modernize their farms. Failure of this projects increased cases of “corruption development projects” that were started by colonialists which up to date had hampered the country’s effort to develop their economy. Such cases led African continent into becoming a failed continent with benefits that emanated from few products produced ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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