Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade and Its Impacts for Modern African

Misgana Yifiru Ayenew


Africa experienced two major crisis in its history; slave trade and colonialism. At a time of both events Africa was integrated into global market in unequal and exploitative ways. But, slave trade in general and trans- Atlantic slave trade in particular lasts for long time and holds the lion share in underdevelopment of Africa. As such, this paper analysis the long term effect of trans-Atlantic slave trade for modern African political economy. To do so, the work employs qualitative research methods and secondary source of data.Before trans-Atlantic slave trade, African peoples were egalitarian, have their own values and civilizations. They were self sufficient and autonomous and there was no huge gap between Africa and Europe. However, Trans -Atlantic slave trade lead to intensification of the gap between Africa and Europe as result of its exploitative nature and deterioration of African values and norms. Hence, large numbers of African were shipped crossing Atlantic Ocean and works on large scale plantation in the new world and these numbers reaches its climax at 18thc.Trans-Atlantic slave trade brought untold causalities on African political economy at time of its occurrence and even at modern time. Thereby, limitation of African economy to monoculture, perverted institution, and creation of fertile ground for colonialism because of weak and fragmented states, decline in population, disturbing family and reducing fertility rates were the major short term impacts of trans-Atlantic slave trade. Moreover, Trans- Atlantic slave trade also serves as important variable to analysis the modern political economy of Africa because of its long term effect.Accordingly, trans-Atlantic slave trade discourages state formation and this in turn obstructs creation of modern economy, laws and public goods. The current absolutist and patrimonial state existing in Africa also trace their origin to the era of trans-Atlantic slave trade. Trans-Atlantic slave trade also responsible for ethnic stratification existing in Africa today as result of mistrust and break down of social bond between peoples so that it lays the basis for intensification of ethnic conflict in modern Africa. Furthermore, it serves as pre-colonial source of modern corruption and modern racism from which Africa is still suffering.Therefore, lingering problems in modern African political economy embedded within trans-Atlantic slave trade so that it plays crucial role for current underdevelopment of the continent.

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/92-01

Publication date: December 31st 2021

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