Why Francophone Africa is less dynamic than Anglophone

I realize that’s a rather brash title and I don’t like it at all, but it’s not mine. It’s actually from Neo’s [now dead] blog called, Carnets d’un étudiant africain…exilé en Europe (Notebooks of an African student… exiled in Europe [note, site now dead]) who is a French-speaking African. He writes really well and if you don’t speak French, but have the patience to use the Google Translate (it does have “hiccups”) I highly recommend reading his blog.

For some time, I have indeed wondered why it is that the English speaking countries seem to be doing better overall than the French speaking countries. Obviously, this hasn’t always been the case, but currently countries like Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and yes, Nigeria are either up and coming or in general, doing quite well. Then on the other hand, countries such as all the Guineas, both Congos, CAR, Cote d’Ivoire, and others still have a ways to go in a great number of issues. There are exceptions to this gross generalization of course in that Senegal and Benin are doing rather well and Zimbabwe is not. But overall it begs the question: were the British a better Colonial power than the French, Belgians, Germans, Italians, Portuguese, or Spaniards? The answer is no, not really because that’s a lot like asking, which terminal cancer you think is the best to have. Amongst the field of choice, there are maybe slightly better options, but overall, it’s all the same damned thing.

It’s clear that Neo has thought a great deal about this as he’s brought points that I had never considered, which basically comes down to the work ethic of Protestant vs. Catholic. Yes, European religions are still having an affect on 21st century Africa.

Je pense que c’est du au fait que les anglophones ont mieux intégré, en même temps que la colonisation, la culture économique néo-libérale… Cette culture économique est entièrement basée sur des concepts et une idéologie anglo-saxonne (anglaise du 18e et 19e siècle, puis américaine au 20e) et donc protestante.

I think it’s the fact that the English were better integrated, along with colonization, and a culture of economic neo-liberalism… This economic culture is based entirely on concepts and Anglo-Saxon ideology (English 18th and 19th century and American 20th) of the Protestant.

…la France comme les autres pays latins s’inscrit dans une tradition chrétienne catholique qui a toujours encouragé les individus à privilégier la pauvreté et l’humilité (pour entrer plus facilement dans le royaume de Dieu), du moyen-Âge jusqu’au dix-neuvième siècle, où le capitalisme était vivement critiqué…

…France, like other Latin countries as part of a Catholic Christian tradition has always encouraged people to focus on poverty and humility (for easier entry into the kingdom of God), the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, when capitalism was strongly criticized…

He talks in more depth about these issues, but it’s a great argument to show that when countries in African were nonchalantly carved between various European powers, they not only took on the common language of the Colonist, but also a great deal of their religious and cultural ideology. Again, a very good read and very mighty HT to my Editor in Chief for pointing me to this article in this first place.