Africa is an astonishingly rich continent in raw materials, many which are key in manufacturing modern IT devices. Sadly, that wealth is not finding it's way to ordinary Africans, but rather being siphoned off into the pockets of powerful rich multinational companies. These companies could be thought to follow in the footsteps of the slavers and the colonialists, seeing Africa and Africans as a way of making money or controlling other parts of the world.
In modern times, Africa has sought to throw off the shackles of Western colonialism in it's struggle for liberation.
Prof John Foster, International Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, leads us through the early history of Africa and the devastating impact of slavery where a third of working age people were removed.
From there we discover the colonial rush to control swathes of Africa for raw materials, and the great Scramble for Africa by the European powers. Artificial states were created by these European colonialists, in order to secure resource rich pockets for themselves.
Then enters the United States of America, keen to push out the old European powers and grab Africa for itself!
But with the aid of the Soviet Union, African liberation movements pushed to regain control of their own lands. But with so many foreign multinational companies and concerns owning and dictating terms in the economy, how far can African countries chart their own paths?
Prof Foster concludes by looking at the special case of South Africa and the challenges faced there. He also looks at the crucial differences between Western "aid" (always offered with punitive terms to privatise the economy) and more modern Chinese investments, which are going into building essential infrastructure in these countries, which in turn lays a foundation to further economic growth and diversification through having good road and rail networks.
Recorded Wednesday 8th March 2017