Just how much were former colonies hurt by the departure of their European populations?

Dec 2011
2,354
#11
That's part of it. Corruption and populist policies also are a major contributor.
Look at Zimbabwe, the dictator Mugabe took the prosperous farmland from the white owners and gave it to inexperienced natives. Within a few years they went from the breadbasket of southern Africa to needing to import food. He additionally pocketed much of the countries wealth and blamed it all on whites and the west. He gave money to indigenous innovations, including a woman that claims she could summon diesel fuel (not crude oil but refined diesel) from rocks (obviously a scam). He did this to make the people feel like their culture could fix the country, all the while running the country into the ground.
It's rather over-egging it to say Zimbabwe was the "breadbasket of Southern Africa", but it is true to say it had a broadly healthy and growing (though somewhat volatile) agricultural sector before Mugabe came to power.
ANALYSIS: Was Zimbabwe ever the breadbasket of Africa? | Africa Check
 
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Nov 2011
8,888
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#16
Zimbabwe was always importing food, even before any land reform or land seizures, and its biggest/most important agricultural exports were mostly non-food products like tobacco (which is still the case).

One of Mugabe's biggest failings was not doing more to try to lessen the excessive dependence of his country's economy on agriculture.


Trying to re-write history again? Rhodesia was self-sufficient in food from 1911 (when reliable records began) and as Zimbabwe until 2000 when Mugabe promoted his land grabs. Of course the country imported some foodstuffs-- rice, cocoa, oats, fish and luxury processed foods, but the number of times it had to import staple foods--principally maize from 1960 to Mugabe rule can be counted on the fingers of one hand (1), with a finger left over and always due to massive sub-continent-wide droughts, even then, they were relatively modest volumes. Farmers in Zim produced almost anything edible, did you know that there was(is) coffee and tea production?
It's a sensible farmer that includes cash crops in his mix, tobacco might be the largest in value, but Zim also produces (and exported) cotton, sugar and soyabans.

While agriculture (of all kinds) is still the mainstay of the Zim economy by virtue of the numbers employed in the sector, since the early 1960s manufacturing and mining accounted for a larger portion of GDP value, while mining declined in the late sanctions period, manufacturing increased due to import replacement. When Mugabe was handed power agriculture accounted for 15% of GDP , Mining 5% and manufacturing 15%. In the early Mugabe years mining picked up as exports were acceptable again to foreign buyers (and investors), but, manufacturing became moribund as ZANU/PF run Ministry of finance "rationed" business loans that stunted the growth of new enterprises and slowed the expansion of others. He also severely restricted "foreign" i.e. South African companies setting up without substantial local partnership, so it was not a case of Mugabe "not doing more", if he had just kept his nose out and hands off the manufacturing sector it would have been a substantial component of the economy rather than the measly 6%. Mugabe and his cronies have been quite keen on mining though, as long as they get a cut from the mines or claims stolen from others.







1. https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=zw&commodity=corn&graph=imports

Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia) before the collapse
 
Nov 2011
8,888
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#18
Just how much were former colonies hurt by the departure of their European populations? For instance, was the European population of various colonies necessary for things such as building industries, creating businesses, et cetera--thus severely hurting these countries once most of the Europeans left? Or was the effect of this European exodus much more modest?

Also, one can discuss the effect that the emigration of non-European minorities from former colonies after independence had as well if the presence of these non-European minorities (such as Indians in both Uganda and Fiji, I think) in these former colonies in the first place was also the result of European colonialism.
It depends on the "colony" . The ones with substantial settler populations, like Mozambique, Rhodesia (as was) and Kenya just could not function without the settlers (of all ethnicities) as a large proportion of the artisan class as well as the administrative and managerial class occupied most positions, whereas places like Nigeria or Ghana where Europeans outside the Administration or running International companies could be numbered in the low hundreds.

In many cases the departure of Europeans from "colonies" was less the cause of their woes than the confusing mix of one-party state socialism and kleptocracy that almost every African independence movement latched on to and only started to shake off in the late 1980s (under duress in most cases as the source of loans dried up unless they cleaned up their act and there was no more Soviet Union to turn to)--at least the economic act has been partially cleaned up, the thieving continues. It is worth noting that the counties most easy-going about the Europeans in their country and those who left many of the Administrators in place after Independence have tended to have been the most stable, like Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland (until last year), Malawi & Namibia stand out as do Gabon and the Ivory Coast until 1999. Kenya and Zambia too, started out leaving many white faces in place in the civil service and were relatively benign to the settler population but the Kikuyu and Bemba elites could not help themselves but replace the old elite.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,594
Benin City, Nigeria
#19
Trying to re-write history again? Rhodesia was self-sufficient in food from 1911 (when reliable records began) and as Zimbabwe until 2000 when Mugabe promoted his land grabs. Of course the country imported some foodstuffs-- rice, cocoa, oats, fish and luxury processed foods, but the number of times it had to import staple foods--principally maize from 1960 to Mugabe rule can be counted on the fingers of one hand (1), with a finger left over and always due to massive sub-continent-wide droughts, even then, they were relatively modest volumes.
I don't know why you would excuse the times when Zimbabwe had to import food due to droughts prior to 2000 (1973, 1982-1984, 1986-1987, 1991-1992, and 1994-1995), while ignoring the significant droughts that Zimbabwe experienced after 2000. If drought is the excuse for the earlier periods during which it had to import food I don't see why one wouldn't just apply that same excuse to much of the 2000s, when multiple droughts, several of them worse than those in previous decades, badly affected the country's agricultural sector.

Also, after 1992, Zimbabwe was often a net importer of food. This is before the "land grabs".

Farmers in Zim produced almost anything edible, did you know that there was(is) coffee and tea production?
Yeah, I did.

It's a sensible farmer that includes cash crops in his mix, tobacco might be the largest in value, but Zim also produces (and exported) cotton, sugar and soyabans.
Is cotton edible or did you not understand my post? Maybe in your neck of the woods people eat cotton.

I've mentioned that Zimbabwe exported sugar and cotton on this forum before, years ago; I was aware that Zimbabwe exported soya beans but the value of those exports was lower compared to the value of other exports so I didn't bother to mention it in posts in the past. If you understand the meaning of "mostly", then there isn't even much difference between what you're stating here and what I posted.

While agriculture (of all kinds) is still the mainstay of the Zim economy by virtue of the numbers employed in the sector, since the early 1960s manufacturing and mining accounted for a larger portion of GDP value, while mining declined in the late sanctions period, manufacturing increased due to import replacement. When Mugabe was handed power agriculture accounted for 15% of GDP , Mining 5% and manufacturing 15%. In the early Mugabe years mining picked up as exports were acceptable again to foreign buyers (and investors), but, manufacturing became moribund as ZANU/PF run Ministry of finance "rationed" business loans that stunted the growth of new enterprises and slowed the expansion of others.
This is your explanation/interpretation of why manufacturing declined; I've read other, more detailed interpretations from scholars who have researched the issue in some depth and they've reached somewhat different conclusions.

He also severely restricted "foreign" i.e. South African companies setting up without substantial local partnership, so it was not a case of Mugabe "not doing more", if he had just kept his nose out and hands off the manufacturing sector it would have been a substantial component of the economy rather than the measly 6%.
Government interference in the manufacturing sector was minimal in the 1980s and the early 1990s and yet the manufacturing sector declined substantially from 1988 to the early/mid 1990s. I don't think my criticism that Mugabe should have done more to wean his country off of excessive dependence on agriculture is misplaced with regard to manufacturing as an area where his government could have tried to improve, or at least keep from declining, though one can say the same about other sectors.

You seem to be referring to the 2008 law (the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment law), where Mugabe caved to certain interest groups to attempt to win votes and signed into law a bill that required the substantial local partnership that you mention, but that only took place in 2008 whereas manufacturing had been declining even in the early 1990s. Unless you think "foreign, i.e. South African" companies were only capable of investing in the country after 2008 I don't get your argument here. Protectionist policies that had been in place prior to the 2008 law were just continued over from the previous Rhodesian government, which had had protectionist policies in place for the manufacturing sector. Of course the 2008 law accelerated the decline, but the manufacturing sector had declined significantly long before that so it's fairly reasonable to suggest that something should have been done about that, hence your objection to my statement about "doing more" doesn't really make sense.

As for your post in the other thread, the majority of Zimbabwe's population under Rhodesia was impoverished. There were a few rich enclaves, but that was it.
 
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Likes: Futurist
Nov 2011
8,888
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#20
I don't know why you would excuse the times when Zimbabwe had to import food due to droughts prior to 2000 (1973, 1982-1984, 1986-1987, 1991-1992, and 1994-1995), while ignoring the significant droughts that Zimbabwe experienced after 2000. If drought is the excuse for the earlier periods during which it had to import food I don't see why one wouldn't just apply that same excuse to much of the 2000s, when multiple droughts, several of them worse than those in previous decades, badly affected the country's agricultural sector.
As usual actual facts prove you wrong--note drought years (NB Drought does not mean "no rain", it means rainfall 0f 75% less than the historical average for the region or sub-region.
How could anyone be so wrong?
africandrought.jpg africandrought.jpg africandrought.jpg







Also, after 1992, Zimbabwe was often a net importer of food. This is before the "land grabs".
Mugabe came to power in 1980--but even you probably knew that.
Just look at what happened with Zim IMPORTS of mealie meal.
zimmaize.jpg





Is cotton edible or did you not understand my post? Maybe in your neck of the woods people eat cotton.


I've mentioned that Zimbabwe exported sugar and cotton on this forum before, years ago; I was aware that Zimbabwe exported soya beans but the value of those exports was lower compared to the value of other exports so I didn't bother to mention it in posts in the past. If you understand the meaning of "mostly", then there isn't even much difference between what you're stating here and what I posted.
You, YES YOU! Suggested that Tobacco was the only cash crop, but maybe English is your second language.
[quote}


This is your explanation/interpretation of why manufacturing declined; I've read other, more detailed interpretations from scholars who have researched the issue in some depth and they've reached somewhat different conclusions.



Government interference in the manufacturing sector was minimal in the 1980s and the early 1990s and yet the manufacturing sector declined substantially from 1988 to the early/mid 1990s. I don't think my criticism that Mugabe should have done more to wean his country off of excessive dependence on agriculture is misplaced with regard to manufacturing as an area where his government could have tried to improve, or at least keep from declining, though one can say the same about other sectors.[/quote]

You are talking nonsense. Manufacturing declined immediately after the Lancaster House settlement because, with aid and forex, availaibilty imports were possible--I note that you skirt the situation of the mining sector. It collapsed in the early 2000s because of African banditry.

You seem to be referring to the 2008 law (the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment law), where Mugabe caved to certain interest groups to attempt to win votes and signed into law a bill that required the substantial local partnership that you mention, but that only took place in 2008 whereas manufacturing had been declining even in the early 1990s. Unless you think "foreign, i.e. South African" companies were only capable of investing in the country after 2008 I don't get your argument here. Protectionist policies that had been in place prior to the 2008 law were just continued over from the previous Rhodesian government, which had had protectionist policies in place for the manufacturing sector. Of course the 2008 law accelerated the decline, but the manufacturing sector had declined significantly long before that so it's fairly reasonable to suggest that something should have been done about that, hence your objection to my statement about "doing more" doesn't really make sense.

.

There was no protectionism on external investment in industry in Rhodesia--NONE AT ALL and i challenge you to prove otherwise.
After UDI there were restrictions on the export of profits and forex regulations, but no criminal demand that some raggle-taggle African loafer should get half of a company just because his uncle was Mugabe's mate