Economic Reasons for Imperialism

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These raw materials were needed to feed the thriving industries in Europe which had grown rapidly as a result of industrialization. The factory system set up in Europe required raw materials in order to facilitate production. The raw materials gathered from Africa varied from one region to another. In West Africa the raw materials acquired were gold, cocoa, salt and spices. Among these gold was the most sought after due to its high commercial value. In East Africa the raw materials acquired were tea, coffee, soda ash and pyrethrum. In central Africa particularly in the Congo the Belgians benefited from the vast mineral deposits in the Congo.

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In South Africa the British South African Company (BSACo. ) also benefited from the gold, Platinum and diamond deposits in the region. Closer to South Africa in the north Northern Rhodesia had large copper deposits which the British mined and exported back to Europe. Other than the acquisition of raw materials the Europeans were driven to the continent to acquire cheap labour. The Europeans through their imposition of their harsh rule forced Africans to work in the mines, factories and farms where the Europeans extracted raw materials.

Such labour was available in large amounts as large populations of Africans could be easily sourced to provide labour. Africans provided this labour at a minimal cast or no cost at all. The Europeans thus saved a lot of money in wages and salaries when acquiring labour from the Africans as compared to acquiring it from Europeans. Thus the possibility of acquiring cheap raw materials and labour provided a source of economic motivation to the European imperialism in Africa. CREATION OF NEW MARKETS The Europeans wanted to expand their foreign markets worldwide.

Africa was considered unchartered territory and the Europeans so Africa as a viable market for its goods and products. Industrialization brought about increased production of goods in Europe. European markets were exhausted and flooded with goods which could not be consumed. Economically supply was higher than demand in Europe. The Europeans thus brought their goods in Africa and sold them to Africans. However it should be noted that Africans were in most cases not willing to buy these goods but were forced to buy these European goods. The Europeans thus managed to establish the African market.

They made huge profits by selling their goods at exploitative prices amassing huge profits which were repatriated back to Europe resulting in the growth of European economies. From these it can be seen that raw materials acquired from Africa were used in the production of goods which were brought back to Africa and sold as finished products. This was the economic cycle that was brought about by imperialism. This cycle benefited the European imperialists greatly. INVEST SURPLUS CAPITAL Industrialization brought about increased capital and incomes. Businesses acquired profits from their invested capital and there was an improvement in welfare.

This surplus capital and income could not be invested in Europe as all avenues for investment were exhausted. The Europeans saw Africa as a place where this surplus capital could be invested. The surplus capital was invested in the setting up of industries in Africa where raw materials were extracted and exported. Such industries were set up in the area of mining and agriculture. African investment companies were also set up in Europe where European individuals could plunge their surplus income in such companies where they could make handsome returns. These investment companies carried out investment on behalf of individuals based in Europe.

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