Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Accelerating Western Sahara's Decolonization by Unleashing Nigeria's Experience in the Context of Global Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and Neoliberalism

Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Accelerating Western Sahara's Decolonization by Unleashing Nigeria's Experience in the Context of Global Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and Neoliberalism

Article excerpt

Introduction

There is enormous academic work on Western Sahara's colonization and the number of publications arising from the effort is growing. The increasing scholarship is understandable considering that most of them deplore this form of modern slavery that has persisted long after Africa's decades of democratization (the 1950s and the 1960s). The difficulties involved in the pursuit of development in Africa, like all underdeveloped regions (Latin America and Asia), within their economic, social and environmental sectors, constitute the major focal point of most of the discourses of the economic regions. Lenin, Nkrumah and Rodney, among others, have taken interest in imperialism and the way it contributed to underdevelopment of African countries. Some have examined the contribution of European countries to the process by partitioning of African nation-states in the previous centuries. For example, the latter, like other adversities, were enforced by Europeans through a series of adversities-unequal trade in commodities, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, neocolonialism/imperialism1 and the ongoing neoliberalism. Since the 1970s,2 discourses have involved the concept of development as a means of tackling the challenges of specific and general regions.3 After the end of the Second World War and the formation of the United Nations (UN) in the 1950s, issues shifted towards a new concentration on the development of Africa and the rest of the less developed countries, i.e., compared to those developed countries that had achieved considerable economic growth, and by extension, high consumerist societies or affluence by what some claim to be the application of innovations in technical and social dimensions.4 This claim has been disputed by other scholars who point to the way the rapid economic growth was achieved by the so-called developed countries, resorting to criminal and inhuman use of slave labor in the USA. The criminal and inhuman nature of colonialism, like the earlier Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, led to an (informal?) agreement to stop those perpetrating colonialism from the practice. However, as has been informed and documented, European colonialists, slave traders, and their allies never relinquished these insidious practices. Instead, they reformulated colonialism into more insidious varieties (neocolonialism, post-colonialism and neoliberalism, among other forms of exploitation).5

Perhaps, overwhelmed by the adversities posed by the new varieties of exploitation inflicted by the new slavery (human trafficking and/or attraction of able-bodied Africans to over-advertised Euro-American nations, e.g., the citizenship granting schemes that invite applications by North-American nations, among other schemes; post-colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and neoliberalism), Western Sahara (Figure 1) has become "Africa's last colony" and "the most forgotten" nation-state plagued by both colonialism and territorial conflicts (land and offshore territory) and annexation (seizure) of their natural resources by African countries.6

Need for Knowledge and Information on Western Sahara's Circumstances and Experience of Similar Societies

While the scenarios of Western Sahara appear to remind the observers of the persistence of colonialism, perpetration of rights violation (human rights, group rights to development) and economic stagnation, among others, it is difficult to fully comprehend the multiple dimensions of the issues as many stakeholders worry about other domestic challenges. The issues mentioned above have been presented rather superficially, without their specific details being completely understood in terms of the experience of other areas that have undergone similar problems of being considered. Moreover, the extent to which Western Sahara's specific circumstances intersect with the experience of other groups, nations and regions may not have been adequately appreciated and built into the quest for decolonization of the embattled nation-state. …

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