Topic 3: Colonial Economy - History Form 3

Topic 3: Colonial Economy – History Form 3

History Notes Form Three, Topic 4: Colonial Social Services - History Form 3, Topic 3: Colonial Economy - History Form 3, Topic 2: The Colonial Administrative Systems - History Form 3, Topic 1: Establishment Of Colonialism In Africa - History Form 3

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The colonial economy simply refers to the extension of metropolitan economy that was established in Africa (in the colonies) by the colonial masters with the aim of serving for the colonial interests by gaining super profit through exploiting African labor raw – materials, market and other related.

Colonial economy that was established in Africa during colonial period involved various sectors such as Agriculture, colonial labor, colonial industries as well as mining sectors.


So long, Colonial interest was to minimize super profit in Africa, they therefore introduced colonial economy in order to meet the following objectives;

  1. It aimed at ensuring constant supply of raw materials from Africa to the European industries.
  2. It aimed at exploiting cheap African labor through forcing them to work long hours but receive low (meager) wages.
  3. It aimed to get areas for the investment and settlement of European surplus population.
  4. It further aimed to ensure that there is surplus production of European goods.

From the above few objectives / aims of colonial economy we come to note / judge that, colonial economy as it was established in Africa never aimed to benefit Africans rather Europeans this can be evidenced by looking into its features / characteristics which in a sense typically relied on Europeans.


The following explained below were main characteristics of colonial economy in Africa.

  1. It was characterized by coercive apparatus in a sense that instruments like colonial army, police, prison as well as courts were accompanied with colonial economy to ensure that colonial production run smoothly, as well as maintaining discipline and obedient to African.(to stop African resistance).
  2. It was characterized by instructional construction of infrastructures such as railways, roads and ports so as to facilitate production as well as exportation of products (goods) from the interior of the coast ready to be shipped to the European countries.
  3. It was characterized by land alienation more especially in those areas where plantations and settlers economies were dominant. In this case, many Africans were forced to be out of their fertile land and taken to the marginalized (unfertile) land.
  4. It was characterized by labor-intensive economy as it depended heavily on both migrant labor as well as cheap paid labor whose duty was only to provide their labor power in plantations and mines.
  5. It was characterized / based on money-oriented economy. This was simply because, money was introduced to be used only as a medium of exchange in the colonies, and also the use of money facilitated capitalist exchange and colonial exploitations due to the fact that, for the one to make any transaction he / she was forced to have cash mean while it was difficult to get cash unless you are being provided a very heavy and tiresome job by colonialists.
  6. It was characterized by limited / few numbers of industries in Africa, this was because during colonial economy to make Africans keep on being dependant to Europeans manufactured goods, as well as to reduce competition over European goods (produce) they killed African industries and technology by introducing subsistence industries that involved oil refineries, and cotton gunneries aiming to increase the quality and quantity of raw – materials which had to be exported in Europe.
  7. It was export-oriented economy in a sense that whatever was produced in Africa in a form of cash crops like agricultural crops (cotton, coffee and sisal) and mineral raw – materials were to be transported to Europe in order to feed European hungry industries.
  8. It was characterized on Monoculture. As single crop was specialized in one region in order to increase productivity. Sisal in Tanganyika, Coffee in Kenya, Cocoa in Ivory Coast, Palm oil in Nigeria.
  9. It was characterized by taxation where Africans were forced to pay taxes in terms of poll, hut and cattle taxes which serves/ aimed to benefit them (Africans) in turn Africans became in secured in the whole process of tax collection because, European powers used force to collect taxes from Africans.

Sample questions:

  1. Explain the objectives of establishing colonial economies in Africa.
  2. “Colonial Economy in Africa had both positive and negative outlook in Africa” How far is the above statements true?
  3. What were the characteristics features of colonial economy in Africa?
  4. What were the tectonic/tactics employed by colonialists to establish colonial economies in Africa
  5. Why colonial economy was introduced in Africa?


The Africans themselves did not accept introduction and establishment of colonial economy in Africa; this forced the colonialists to use some methods and tactics to make their economies to be accepted.


The colonialists destructed all former means of Africans indigenous economy which did not gave the chance to the growth and development of colonial economy in Africa among those which were destructed include:

i. African Local trades: The colonialists made sure that all Africans local trade such as Trans Saharan Trade and other are completely destructed so as to make Africans not to accumulate wealth so that they could concentrate in colonial economy.

ii. African Local Industries: The colonialists aimed to make African continent backward technologically so that it could be easy to exploit Africa’s natural resources. Under this those handcraft men were prohibited to make anything and if they did so they were chopped off their hands. But also, the competition of European industrial manufactured goods made the collapse of African local industries.

iii. Destruction of African Culture: This was another element, which could not give space for the introduction and establishment of colonial economy. The colonial government made sure that the African culture is totally and completely destructed since it could stand as one of biggest obstacles towards the growth of colonial economy.


The colonial government also created some of the things, which were more important for the introduction and establishment of colonial economy. Among the things which were created include: –

i. Introduction of money economy: The imperialists introduced money economy in Africa so as to facilitate the exploitation of Africa and Africans. Under money economy taxes were introduced e.g. hut tax, head tax, matiti tax etc. all those taxes were introduced to keep them providing their labour power in the colonial plantations.

ii. Colonial infrastructure: The colonialists also introduced infrastructure so as to intensify exploitation e.g., Roads, railways, harbors, etc all these were built to facilitate exploitation.

iii. Colonial education: Colonial education was introduced to few Africans so as to get few of them who could assist in administration. It also aimed at creating puppets.

iv. Introduction of cash crops. This was the main aim of colonial economy whereby crops like coffee, tea, cotton etc. were introduced in Africa so as to solve the problem of raw materials.

v. Land alienation. People were alienated from their fertile land to less fertile land so as to provide the chance to open up plantations etc.


The colonialists also preserved all things that could support their economies among the things which were preserved include: –

i. Family: Family remained as the basic unit of production especially where peasantry economy was practiced.

ii. Productive Forces: The means of production like hand hoes, axes, and pangas were left to be used since the colonialists aimed at making Africans backward technologically.

iii. Production relations like Feudal system were also preserved since they could offer a great support in colonial production e.g. In Uganda.

Qn Why and how did the colonialists make Africans backward technologically?

  • They needed Africans to remain as the source of raw materials
  • They needed Africa to remain as the main source of market for the European manufactured goods.
  • They needed to create dependent economy amongst the African countries
  • They needed Africans to import technology from outside.
  • They needed Africans to depend on experts from their colonial master
  • They needed to avoid stiff/heavy competition in development between Africa and Europe.
  • Destruction of local industries
  • Introduction of notorious slave trade
  • Preservation of productive forces
  • Introduction of colonial education
  • Introduction of small industries in the colonies for processing and manufacturing industry.
  • Introduction of migrant labor.


There are five types of colonial economy, which were introduced in Africa, and these include –

  • Agriculture
  • Trade and commerce
  • Mining
  • Infrastructure and
  • Industries


Since the colonies were meant to produce raw materials the main sector emphasized were mining and agriculture. The colonial agriculture was designed to save the colonial objectives of colonial needs to the imperialist countries. The production was largely for raw materials in form of cash crops e.g. cotton, coffee, cocoa, rubber, palm oil, etc

Colonial agriculture was one amongst the types of colonial economy, which were introduced so as to solve the problem of raw material for European industries abroad.

The colonial agriculture was in three main branches and those include –

  1. Settlers’ agriculture
  2. Plantation agriculture
  3. Peasantry agriculture


Colonial economies refer to as the extension of the metropolitan economies activities in Africa. The colonial economies were initiated by the colonial state in Africa in order to meet the demands of raw materials for their industries in Europe. Since the colonies were meant to produce raw materials, the main sectors, which were highly emphasized, were agriculture and mining. The colonial agriculture was designed to serve the colonial objectives of colonial needs to the imperialist countries. The production was largely for raw materials in form of cash crops such as cotton, sisal, pyrethrum, cocoa, coffee, tea, rubber and palm oil.

Thus, colonial agriculture involved cultivation of cash crops and livestock keeping (animal husbandry) during the colonial era (period). However, livestock production was not that much emphasized.

The colonial agriculture was categorically categorized in three (3) main forms or systems namely settlers’ agriculture, peasantry agriculture and plantation agriculture. These included,


This was large-scale form of colonial agriculture whereby the European farmers (settlers) settled in different colonies in Africa and established, managed different agricultural undertakings.

The settlers’ farms were owned by individual whites and this form of agriculture was very dominant in the colonies of Kenya, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Namibia and Mozambique as well as Angola.

It was featured by individual ownership of large-scale farms, monoculture (production of one cash crop), mechanization and the use of both migrant and forced labor systems.


  1. The production was for export; whatever they produced was exported as raw material to metro pole. What eve was produced by the settlers was to be exported to the metro pole, the African economies did not benefit from these large scale plantations
  2. Establishment of large-scale farming with the plantation occupying more than 100 acres’ o land. E.g. in Zimbabwe the European settlers owned 44,952,000 acres of the best land out of the total 4,900,000 land the 230,000 settlers were able to establish large plantations.
  3. Growth of single crop/monoculture, intercropping was discouraging thus, there was high specialization. Usually each company specialized in the production of a specific commodity e.g. in Liberia rubber plantations were established, in Kenya huge coffee, and tea plantations were established.
  4. Huge capital input was injected in agriculture to develop infrastructure, to pay laborers, to construct squatters. The settlers go their capital through government assistance and bank loans at a very low interest rate. As for acquisition of land the state carried out the extensive land expropriation, this land was given to settlers and plantation owners at take away price. (Almost free price)
  5. The settlers had strong links with the metro pole and always exerted critical influence on the colonial state. Any policy taken with respect to colonial production had to take into account the interest of the settlers.
  6. Use of massive unskilled labor in the production through the provision of African cheap labor. The colonial stat ensure supply of massive unskilled African labor through passing laws that requires the African to provide labor to the settlers like introduction of adult tax to every man or provision of labor in the white farm that is equivalent to the tax
  7. Private ownership of plantation by the European who came as settlers, and legitimizing African land through alienations, in Kenya, for example, the crown land Ordinance of 1915 gave the settlers 99 years lease for rural or agricultural land; the lease was later extended to 999 years, that the settlers would claim the land in perpetuity.
  8. Practice of racism, where by the European settlers made Africans inferior, their work was to supply cheap labor on the plantations i.e. Africans was not allowed to establish commercial agriculture.
  9. It was characterized with establishment of transport and communication network in the areas where settlers dominated e.g. roads, rail, banking sectors etc.
  10. Settlers were allowed to form political organization, which they would use to defend their interest in colonial states.
  11. It was characterized by the organization of labor on contract and dominance of migrate laborers who worked on the plantations seasonally.


  1. The colonial state appropriated land ordinances, which ensured the availability of enough fertile land for the settlers. These land Acts of land ordinances legalized land alienation for example the colonial state in Kenya passed land Acts in Kenya which strictly prohibited Kenyans from procuring land, which was potentially, preserved for the white settlers i.e. the crown land Act.
  2. They were ensured of constant supply of cheap labor from Africans. This was made by passing legislation laws for example the master and servant’s native Act of 1906 in Kenya which made Kenyans to provide their labor power in the colonial settler farms, the crown land Act of 1915 in Kenya and the Kipande system which increased the number of days from 90 to 180 days for Kenyans to work in settler farms per annum.
  3. The colonial state offered loans with dear interests to the settlers, furthermore they were given subsides as a means of encouraging them to expand their agricultural activities in large scale.
  4. The colonial state ensured security to the settlers against African resistances.
  5. The colonial state allowed the settlers to form political organizations and trade unions, which defended and protected their interests.
  6. They were provided with compensation (remedies) in case of loss or poor agricultural production due to either poor climatic conditions or inflation something, which encouraged them to keep on expanding and exploiting Africans resources.
  7. The settlers were given the monopoly power of growing certain types of cash crops that Africans were not allowed to grow; this was meant to avoid competition between Africans against the Europeans in terms of production.
  8. The colonial state left the settlers to determine the prices of their crops. At times when the colonial state set prices, they set high prices for their crops than those given to the ordinary African peasants.
  9. The colonial state extended reliable physical infrastructures to the settlers’ farms, for example the Mombasa-Kisumu railway was constructed in 1895, the Nairobi –Thika line in 1918.
  10. The white settlers were also encouraged through better social amenities and extension services such as water and electricity supply. The settlers were given their best social services such as transport, hotels, health care, recreational centers, clubs etc. while Africans were deprived of such services.
  11. The colonial state exempted the settlers from paying taxes as a result, the burden fell on Africans who were heavily taxed, and for example, Africans were obliged to pay some notorious tax structures such as matiti tax in Kenya.
  12. They were also allowed to defend their rights in a sense that, they had separate courts prisons and law governing them. They could also conduct their cases through experts such as advocates.

To conclude the above discussion we can generalize that the flourishing of settler farms and economy in general especially in Kenya was basically attributed with the help of the colonial masters themselves because Africans right were denied while those of settlers were positively responded (maintained).


In Kenya, the establishment of colonial economy started outright after the construction and completion of the Kenya-Uganda railway in 1902. Before that time, Kenya was regarded as a stopping place where British had to pass to the rich and strategic areas of Uganda from where they got tea, cotton and minerals.

During the construction of the railway line, they discovered the potential richness of the Kenyan highlands and the rift valley.

Therefore, the imperialists started to argue that in order to pay back the expenses incurred in building the railway line and for the line to be self-supporting, the Kenya’s interior should be opened for settler agriculture.

From the early period the British viewed their east African protectorate which was re named Kenya later alone in 1920 as potential colony for white settlers, the high lands of east of Lake Victoria offered favorable climate. From the mid of 1900 white settlers were brought from Britain and South Africa with determined effort of turn the high lands into a white man’s home. The administrative capital was shifted inland to Nairobi to serve the European settlers. Some of the factors that favored Kenya to become the hub of white settlers included. Thus, the factors were as follows;

  1. Conducive climatic condition of Kenya especially in the central high lands which had cool humidity climate which favored the European to settle in Kenya without any problem
  2. Fertility of the soils in Kenyan high lands which favored large commercial agriculture whereby Europeans settlers were able to maximize the production of raw materials due to such factors the influx of settlers in Kenya was high
  3. The traditional political system of Kenya also favored the establishment of settlers’ agriculture. Kenya did not have strong political system that would resist land alienation from the Europeans unlike other parts of east Africa like Buganda which had dense population with highly centralized leadership of Kabaka
  4. Availability of labor force i.e. cheap labor to work in the plantations. In Kenya, labor reserves were created that produced migrant labor, also through legislations like the master and servant act of 1906, which asked African to sell their labor force for 90 days per year for 3 rupees as a wage per month.
  5. Kenya had less tropical diseases like malaria due o the cool climate in the high lands of Kenya as compared to other areas like southern Tanganyika, Uganda and Burundi; this was a pushing factor for the settlers to come to Kenya for settlement.
  6. The political set up of Kenya during colonialism. Kenya was a crown colony and not a protectorate like in Uganda and Tanganyika so the white settlers were ensured permanent stay in Kenya.
  7. Availability of enough land to establish large plantation of the settlers. This was because some areas in Kenya were sparsely populated that enabled the colonialist to acquire big chunk of land for large plantation un like in Uganda and some parts of Tanganyika.
  8. Absent of active resistance during the establishment of colonial rule, this ensured absence of violence and riots, which could destroy the plantations and tools.
  9. Topography of Kenya favored the establishment of infrastructure to transportation of bulk raw materials e.g. the Mombasa to Kisumu railway, which had just completed in 1895.

Generally, the White settlers in Kenya earned much wealth through their economic sectors (farms) they established due to the fact that they had access of utilizing African labor, land and other raw – materials that they could later precipitated to the rise and establishment of class consciousness to the Kenyan in what we call Mau Mau war.


  1. It led to severe land alienation simply because; Africans were forced out of their fertile land so as to give room for the settler economy to be developed (established).
  2. It caused to exploitations of African labor in a sense that Africans were forced to work under settler farms for long hours but received very low pay that could not match with the task (work) they performed.
  3. It led to the establishment of different laws in Kenya; good example is that of 1915, which forced Africans to surrender (leave) their fertile land to settlers, other law was that of 1906 and 1921, which forced Africans to work to settler farms for about of and 180 days respectively.
  4. It stimulated African strong resistance which aimed at regaining other lost freedom Good example is Mau Mau war that erupted in 1950’s in Kenya, shona and Ndebele in Zimbabwe from 1896 – 1897.
  5. It encouraged un-even development in the colonies in a sense that, areas that were occupied by white settlers were more favored by the colonial. State in terms of provision of social services compared to those area s where settlers were not do ruin ant.
  6. It resulted to the loss of Africans freedom as they came to be under the control of the white settlers in which they had no freedom at all in social political as well as economic as all matters (affairs) had to be decided by the whites.


  1. Why the British white settlers preferred to use settler agriculture in Kenya?
  2. Explain how the British colonial state up hold the interest of white settlers in Kenya.
  3. Make a clear comparison between peasant and settler agriculture (economic) as applied in East Africa.


This was the small scale farming practice under the control of African families whereby the Africans were allowed to grow both cash and food crops in their own plots of land basically small farms. This agricultural practice was very dominant in the colonies of Uganda, Nigeria, Algeria and Senegal.

It was characterized by small-scale farming, production of both cash and food crops, local farming tools were used. Family labor was used and it was basically dominant in areas with high population and where the indigenous people had the culture of providing cash crops even before the colonial rule. Under this type, the colonial state instructed only what and how to grow cash crops. It was the cheapest way of getting raw materials and labor because it did not require any form of investment. Under this system of agriculture, social services were not essential because peasants had to live and perform their duties on their own plots of land.

In East Africa, peasantry form of agriculture was dominant in Uganda and the crops, which were grown, were coffee and cotton.


  1. It was small scale form of agriculture
  2. It was cheaper than other forms of agriculture because no much investment was incurred.
  3. It was based on the production of both cash and food crops.
  4. Peasants themselves unlike the plantation and settler farms, which were owned by the white farmers, owned this type of agricultural practice.
  5. A family was regarded as the main source of labor that is the basic unit of production
  6. No land alienation was practiced.
  7. The social amenities (services) around the areas where peasantry agriculture was practiced were very few and poor ones since the whites did not settle there.
  8. Simple tools such as hand hoes were used in the production process.
  9. Low quality production due to lack of good facilities and farm implements to engage in production as effectively as possible.


NECTA 2015: Why British colonialists preferred peasant to other systems of agriculture in Nigeria? (Give six reasons)

Uganda was a British colony which peasant type of agriculture as a method for intensive exploitation; to a big extent, the British were successful in establishing this type of Agriculture in Uganda. The reasons were as follows;

  1. Geographically, Uganda is a landlocked country i.e., it has no easy access to seaways something which discouraged the whites from settling in Uganda.
  2. Hostile/harsh climate in Uganda, which discouraged the whites from settling in Uganda. For instance, by that time Uganda had been hit by malaria, which was a threat to the white’s settlement in Uganda as the result, the task of production was left to the Ugandans.
  3. The presence of strong centralized feudal states like Buganda and Bunyoro acted as threats to the colonialists thus in order for the whites to do away with resistances that could be raised by such states they decided to opt for peasantry.
  4. Dense population. Uganda had many people at the time when the colonial economies were being established. This is due to the fact that Uganda is geographically small (area 241038km2) compared to Kenya and Tanganyika. Therefore, it could be difficult to practice land alienation in Uganda and establish large agricultural settler farms or plantations in Uganda as the result they opted for peasantry.
  5. Readiness and willingness of the Ugandans in Uganda; many Ugandan peasants were willing to accept colonial economy as opposed to Kenya and Tanganyika.
  6. The topography of Uganda especially the Western and Northern Uganda did not favor the settler’s settlement for the areas were/are very mountainous.
  7. The division of land into Milo land which belong to the king and crown land which comprised rivers, swamps forest belongs to the colonial government such division of land could not allowed any other type of Agriculture apart from peasant.
  8. The Buganda agreement of 1900. This granted land to the Kabaka and his local chiefs who distributed it to the loyal subjects as tenants. In this agreement, they agreed not to take any land for white settlement and introduced a system of private land tenure. This meant that much of the agricultural land of Buganda became the privately-owned estate of the Buganda chiefs and peasantry as their tenants
  9. Fear for active resistance because of the existence of powerful centralized kingdom under the leadership of Kabaka Mutesa and his local chiefs.
  10. The traditional political structure of Buganda before colonialism. Ugandans people were very royal and subordinate to Kabaka who was their king they were not ready to accept any foreigner to rule beyond their king.
  11. Existence of infertile soils especially in northern Uganda discouraged the establishment of plantation or settlers because of low productively
  12. It was easy for administration and monitoring since supervision was done by peasant and local chiefs
  13. Profitability, it maximized exploitation since the price of raw materials were fixed by the colonialists and were very low they did not pay wages since there was the application of workers but based on family labor
  14. The relief of the land. Some areas especially in western Uganda it was mountainous and having swamps, it was very difficult and expensive to establish infrastructure in case of other type of Agriculture.
  15. The cost factor. It was very cheap to use peasant agriculture, peasant provided their own packing, transport, and tools, labor and colonial government did pricing. The only cost incurred by the colonial government was to provide seeds and market.
  16. The nature of the colony. Uganda was just a protectorate of Britain as per the 1894 agreement the British government and the Buganda representatives unlike Kenya which was a crown colony
  17. Crops that were established in Uganda required intense care and cannot easily be mixed with other type of crops like cotton, coffee, needed family care thus the establishment of peasant agriculture
  18. Another condition that favored many natives had some experience and knowledge on relating to the cultivation of the new cash crops e.g. in Tanganyika the native of Kagera had the knowledge of growing coffee even before.


  1. Avoidance of land alienation as to enable Africans to possess land and practice agriculture
  2. Introduction of taxation, various types of taxation were introduced to force the Africans in produce cash crops to pay taxes
  3. The colonial government provide seeds and seedlings of cash crops like cotton coffee cocoa etc to the peasant to grow them
  4. It used force to the peasant to grow cash crops e.g. destruction of food crops for any peasant who did not grow cash crops alongside his subsistence
  5. Importation of European industrial goods as a motivation and a force to make peasants grow more cash crops, e.g. footwear clothes, bicycles etc.
  6. Through crating marketing boards and peasant cooperative union so as to market and advice the peasant concerning the production of crops
  7. Through indirect rule whereby the Europeans used local chiefs to instruct the Africans to produce cash crops
  8. Through creation of social infrastructure in the areas where the peasants were located e.g. schools roads rail etc
  9. Through providing technical skills, especially to the progressive peasant who established large plantations.


  1. Regular occurrence of famine, because of over concentration on cash crops and ignoring food production the colonial government carried out forceful campaign to ensure that every peasant grows some cash crops on his small plot anybody who violated the campaign was punished by destroying his substance food.
  2. Accessibility of colonial education especially the peasant who were progressive sent their children to colonial schools as a motivation factor to continue production
  3. It led to the development of nationalistic ideas i.e. struggle for independence through peasant cooperative union which discovered the exploitation of Europeans
  4. It led to classification among the peasants according to the capacity of their production i.e. progressive peasant these one produced more than 10 acres followed by middle class peasants and then poor peasants.
  5. It improved the workers’ welfare, after the establishment of some social infrastructures like medical care, schools, roads etc some peasant were able to send their sons and daughters to school which led to the rise of elites that led to the rise of African nationalism
  6. It led to the intensive exploitation of African resources through provision of low prices for their production that led to general underdevelopment. The small number of large European companies did marketing at the coast. They ensure that prices given to the African peasant are kept at the lowest level as possible.
  7. Importation of finished European industrial goods like cloth and metal goods were undermining Africa self-sustaining industries, thus promoting de-industrialization
  8. Because of intensive exploitation of agriculture, land became exhausted and at times drought famine struck because of poor environment and soils, which claimed a lot of death of Africans.
  9. It led to regional imbalance where by some regions which were producing cash crops god development like roads schools medical centre while in regions were cash crop production did not take place such development did not take place.


  1. Discuss the factors that favored Britain to established peasant agriculture in Uganda and Nigeria
  2. Discuss how the colonial agriculture in colonies contributed to the rise of African nationalism taking either Uganda or Nigeria as a case study
  3. Compare and contrast between peasant colonial agriculture with settlers’ agriculture in the British colonies
  4. Why Britain was very reluctant to establish settlers’ agriculture in her West African colonies


The colonial plantations were the largest agricultural farms with a single production unit i.e. monoculture which was either owned by the colonial governments or states or by the capitalists abroad who sent representatives or hired/employed management to manage the production unlike settler’s agriculture, the colonialists did not establish their settlement where the agricultural production was undertaken.

This form of the colonial agriculture had been practiced in the colonies of Zaire, the Central African Republic, Tanganyika, Ivory Coast etc.


  1. It was based on large-scale plantation, which covered large areas for instance 100 acres, and beyond.
  2. In the plantation agricultural system, the management and owners were two (2) separate entities i.e. the sole owners were in Europe who only facilitated by providing capital while the managers who were vested with the power supervising the plantations were in the respective colonies, for example Germany used the Jumbes and Akidas to supervise the production process in the sisal plantations in Tanga and Morogoro regions in Tanganyika.
  3. There was the employment of unskilled laborers who were recruited from different areas to work and supervise the production process and they were poorly paid (low wages)
  4. The plantation agricultural practice was monoculture in nature the specialized single crops e.g. Cotton and sisal were grown in the given plantations.
  5. Investment of huge capital in the establishment of the colonial plantations was incurred for example the strong physical infrastructures were put in place in order to facilitate the transportation of the crops from the interior where they were shipped after being produced to the coast, for example in Tanganyika, the railways lines ran from the interior to the coast.
  6. The European capitalists who did not come to stay in the colonies owned the plantations.
  7. This system of practice went in hand coercive (brutal and forceful means) especially when it came on searching for labor, forced was applied and migrate labor were humiliated with poor payment and long working hours, taxation etc for instance the Germans employed the Jumbes and Akidas and German askaris to supervise the corporal punishment, furthermore, the labor recruiting agency was established e.g. SILABU (the Sisal Labor Bureau)
  8. Plantations were scientifically managed and involved the application of heavy machines as to produce high production
  9. Plantations highly linked with the establishment of infrastructure especially roads to ensure smooth transportation of produce to the required places especially to the coast were they were to be exported in Europe, that’s why in the colonial Tanganyika all roads and tracks were running down to the coast.
  10. Migrant labor and conscript laborers that included forced labor and indentured laborers attended most of the plantations.


  1. Harsh climatic conditions, which were not favoring the settler’s settlement in the colonies something, which made them to, practice the plantations without settling in the colonies.
  2. The availability and vastness of the land. This is due to the fact that plantations required large areas for instance plantation agricultural system was highly preferred IN Tanganyika to other East African colonies because of the vastness of its area, for example; Tanganyika covers the area of 945,090km2 while the other East African countries cover 580,36km2 (Kenya) 241,038 km2 (Uganda)
  3. Plantation agriculture was established in Africa to act as the main source of market for the European manufactured goods especially in the plantations whereby the migrant laborers bought such goods for example clothes, radios, alcohol, chocolate cigars etc.
  4. The threat for the tropical diseases such as malaria, small pox, jiggers which was not favoring the settlement for Europeans discouraged the settlers’ and thus they opted for plantation agriculture.
  5. The presence of scattered fertile land in the colonies whereby some other forms of agricultural practices such as settlers’ agricultural practice could not be practiced, for example in some parts of Tanganyika some areas had fertile soils while others did not have.
  6. Presence of scattered fertile land in the colonies whereby settler’s agriculture could not be effective e.g. in parts of Tanganyika some areas possessed good soils while others not
  7. The existence of labor reserves which provided manual laborers especially the migrant labor, which was highly preferred to work on the plantations because it was economically cheap and easily exploited because it was unskilled.
  8. The desire of colonial government to collect taxes from the laborers. The migrate laborers also served as source of revenues for the colonial government, they would easily collect or deduct taxes from their meager wages, thus establishment of plantation to attract the migrate laborers
  9. It was very profitable and served the interest of the colonial government of maximizing profit and minimizing the coast by providing low wages to the laborers and the taxing them
  10. The existence of strong political organization that would adopt active reaction to the establishment of colonialism in case of European settlers, then they encouraged plantation agriculture whereby there was no need of European to come and stay
  11. The colonial policy of divide and rule supported plantation agriculture whereby some Africans who were made inferior to provide cheap labor while others were administrators for plantation.
  12. Plantation agriculture was also established to act as a source of market for European goods especially in plantation trading centers where European finished goods were brought to be bought by laborers, e.g. bicycles blanket chocolate textile and alcohol
  13. Also it depended on colonial master’s policy e.g. Britain preferred settlers and peasant agriculture while Portugal and France preferred plantations and settler’s agriculture


  1. Why the colonial government established plantation agriculture in some areas and settlers in the areas
  2. How the colonial apparatus did maintain and consolidate colonial plantation agriculture?
  3. Discuss the motives and impacts that surrounded the establishment of colonial agriculture in the colonies


  1. Africans were exploited intensively through the provision cheap labor and paid low wages and on top of that, they worked for long working hours, this brought vicious poverty in Africa.
  2. It led to the development of trading centers, which were located near the plantations that acted as source of European finished goods.
  3. It led to unbalanced development in Africa whereby all social infrastructure concentrated where production took place leaving other places with nothing e.g. in colonial Tanganyika all rail line road run perpendicular to the coast
  4. It led to the occurrence of frequent famine in Africa because the African agriculture were abandoned which led to shortage in the supply of food.
  5. It led the introduction of colonial cash crops in Africa in capitalist economy e.g. coffee, sisal, cotton, etc.
  6. It promoted divide and rule in the colonial economy where by some tribes were preserved to supply cheap labor in the plantation while others were left for administration.
  7. It led to land alienation was conducted as to acquire the land for establishing plantations this made many African to become landless and settle on squatters.
  8. It created market for Europeans finished goods where by plantation laborers became source of market for manufactured goods in Europe thus introduction on money economy.


The colonial labor simply means the group of Africans who were recruited through various methods to provide their labor in the colonial economy sectors e.g. in Mines etc.


  1. Obligatory forced labor: The colonial government passed different laws and regulations in the colonies to force Africans to provide their labor power in the colonies. Obligatory forced labor was so common in settlers’ economy in other areas the natives were needed to provide their labor power for the maximum number of time e.g. 3 months. This was used in Kenya.
  2. Migratory Labor: These laborers were taken from their original places to colonial production centers to work. Migrant labor was taken from reserve areas e.g. Kigoma, Rukwa and Tabora.
  3. Peasant labor: This was another type of colonial labor that provided their labor power in the colonial economy. Peasants produced for themselves and sold their crops to the colonial government at lower prices
  4. Civil Servants: The group included clerks, messengers, teachers, etc. this group of labor was because of the colonial education. The group facilitated the motives and goals of imperialism in Africa.


  1. It was subjected to low wages and salaries which were not proportional to what they produced
  2. Poor working and living conditions. They lived in overcrowded camps with no important services e.g. water, electricity, telephone and so on
  3. Colonial harbors remained technologically unskilled so as to avoid competition with the whites.
  4. Worse enough this group of labor had no insurance, the colonial government considered the laborers as fools of producing profit for them. Low wages were given to them so that they could survive.
  5. They worked for long hours and they were not paid overtime or any relief.
  6. They were also oppressed; exploited, humiliated and discriminated in their own motherland this made them to remain poor.


  1. They introduced land alienation; the colonial government alienated the Africans from their fertile land purposely so as to force them to provide their labor power in the colonial plantations since they had no any means of surviving.
  2. They introduced/ established different taxes the colonial governments in different parts of Africa introduced taxes so as to force the Africans to provide their labor in colonial economy’s sectors. Examples of such taxes included, hut tax, head tax, and matiti tax etc.
  3. They Introduced Foreign Goods This is because Africans was made a Market of Manufacturing or manufactured goods from Europe these goods had to be obtained for cash and cash could be obtained only by selling their labor power.
  4. They created their labor reserves centers (regionalism). This was because some area were made to act as a source of their labor for instance Kigoma, Ruvuma, Rukwa and Dodoma were made to produce labor were as Morogoro, Tanga and parts of Kilimanjaro were for plantations these case in Uganda especially northern region was made to provide their labor.
  5. Introduction of colonial education: The colonial education was provided purposely so as to get few Africans who could help in colonial administration in facilitating exploitation.
  6. Formation of labor recruitment organizations: The colonial governments formed some special organizations for recruitment of labor from different parts of plantations for example the SILABU (Sisal Labor Bureau) was a typical example of such organizations, which dealt with recruitment of sisal laborers in Tanganyika.
  7. Paying low wages and salaries: The colonial government gave the Africans low wages and salaries so as they could not accumulate wealth and leave the job.
  8. Introduction of Kipande system: This was used in Kenya where Africans were forced to directly provide their labor in settlers’ plantations
  9. Introduction of reserves areas: The colonialists set regions like Kigoma, Tabora and Rukwa as labor reserve areas. These regions were unproductive.
  10. They destroyed the Africans Economies .This was because colonialists destroyed African such as industries and replaced European imported goods. Because at this self-sufficient economy was destroyed and introduced system of buying goods in cash.


This was a form of African Labor Employed by the colonialist in their production; they were from distant places especially those with maws men, the colonialist employed this system through transporting them in order to provide their labor in plantation and mines.

To accomplish this colonialist deliberately cart labor measures in the unproductive places in which these migrant laborers were drown


The following were the main reason that made the European colonialist to prefer the use of migrant labor in their production.

(a) Migrant Laborers were very cheap this was because they were paid very low wages as they left their families and concentrated on production eventually it helped the colonialists to make super profit.

(b) Migrant Labor Encouraged dis-unity among the Laborers this was because laborers come from different places with different geographical background and ways of life therefore it was not easy for them to unite and wage (start different strikes against the colonialist).

(c) Migrant laborers acted as a source of Market for European manufactured goods. In this case they were to work in the colonial plantations and mines for money so as to get money which they expected to spent it in buying needs like shoes, Blankets, and clothes which were made from Europe.

(d) Most or Migrant laborers were UN skilled; therefore they were given temporality nature of work because of not having access to education. It was easy for the colonialist to exploit them heavily.

(e) Migrant laborers had no insurance as well as a compassassions as a result the plantation owners, exploited them, without considering their physical being and humanity.

(f) Migrant Laborers had high productivity to the colonialist. This was because their time table was fixed by the colonialists were they had to work from morning up to evening, additionally, they did not come with their families therefore most of their time was engaging in agriculture thus contributing to much productivity.

(g) Migrant Laborers were Easily un skilled with inferiority complex as well raised segregation in which the colonialist did this to make them believe that they are inferior to the whites and that their job is to supply their labor power to them.

(h) Migrant laborers ensured colonial government for the payment of taxes, rent for the House and water bills thus a source of government revenue to the colonial government could be possible.

(i) It was difficult for the Migrant laborers to escape because they were as strangers form very far away to the area hence colonialists were ensured with constant of their laborers.

(j) Migrant laborers were easy to be controlled because they lived in the camps furthermore the laborers were lodged according to Ethnic groupings, each under tribal over seers.


Colonial infrastructures simply mean colonial transport and communication network systems and these included roads, railways harbors etc. which were introduced and established by the colonialists in Africa during the second half of 19thc; the colonial infrastructures aimed at facilitating the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources. They also aimed at fulfilling the policy of effective occupation as agreed during the Berlin conference of 1884 to 1885.


  1. The setting up of railways and road networks started from the coast to the interior, mainly to transport raw materials from production areas to the hour.
  2. Transportation of laborers from labor reserve areas to different productive areas for example migrant labor.
  3. To transport colonial administrators from Europe to different areas of administration.
  4. Transportation of European manufactured goods from the hour to the interior for marketing.
  5. It aimed at transporting troops to different areas so as to suppress African resistances.
  6. It helped to transport missionaries who were going for evangelical and Christianization to the interior of Africa.
  7. The colonial infrastructures aimed at facilitating the exploitation of Africa’s resources and fulfilling the policy of effective occupation


  1. It facilitated maximum exploitation of Africa’s wealth e.g. Minerals and so forth.
  2. It led to the effective occupation of the colonies hence total colonialism.
  3. Colonial infrastructures created uneven development, which can be seen up to this moment since it concentrated on productive regions than in unproductive areas.
  4. Colonial infrastructures motivated or attracted more settlers in the colonies due to the fact it ensured them with easy transport and communication network systems.
  5. It helped those landlocked countries. For example, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia etc. for easy transportation and communication with the outside world.
  6. Colonial infrastructures established colonial administration network systems hence more impacts on Africans.


Beside agriculture and mines, colonialists established Industries in Africa because the colonies were meant to be the producers of raw materials for European Industries industrialization process in African was very little. For-instance the colonialist Established industries like.

(i) Processing industries purposely to reduce the bulkiness for Export reasons.

(ii) They established few import substation industries, which aimed to produce consumer goods like, soap cigarette and canned beef.

(iii) They established Luxuries goods manufacturing industries mainly in settler based areas.

(iv) The industries established in African during the colonial period had the following features characteristics.

(v) They were light industries and substitution industries purposely to purposely to produce raw materials that were needed to feed various industries in Europe.

(vi) They had weak labor force who had little education and who were paid low wages as well as who worked under poor working. Condition

(vii) There industries concentrated mainly on settler where as in areas dominated by peasant there were only processing industries.


Because the European powers aimed at making African become a source of Raw materials for their Industries, these colonialists decided to initiate a special policy, which aimed to de – industrialized African industries by destroying African Industries purposely to avoid competition.

The method used to kill African industries was as listed here below.

  1. The colonialist applied direct brutal destruction of Local industries money especially in non- shelter colonies like Uganda and Nigeria.
  2. The colonialist also prohibitive the African form engaging in various industries activities. This was more especially in Zaire, and Senegal where as anyone who went contrary heavy punishment was given to him. E.g. cutting their hands.
  3. The colonialist Imported Europe manufactured goad in order to discourage African goods produced from African (Local African Industries).
  4. The colonialist imposed the policy of making migrant labor and forced labor this policy had negative effects to Africans simply because local African industries lacked labor as most of the laborers were. Concentrated on colonial production.
  5. The colonialist established the colonial education, which was provided to very few Africans who were not linked to develop Africans local industries as they were prepared to serve to the colonial production as clerk and messengers.


The Policy of de – industrialization brought many effects to the Africans among them were.

(i) Local Africans economy declined.

(ii) African technology and skilled were underside.

(iii) African labor force were heavily explained through how wages with long Working hours.

iv) It prepared for the under development of African continent where as African still depend on foreign import.

v) They caused to destroy the mind of Africans through brain washing process in which African still undermine any goods produced in African and praise those produced in Europe.

Sample question.

– Explain why industrial sector was not improved in African during colonial period 2010 moc