Government Notes

Colonialism in Africa


  1. Positive Impact of Colonialism.
  2. Negative Impact of Colonialism.


  • Military and Technical Aid: Some formal colonial territories especially the French territories, received military and technical aid from their former colonial masters.
  • Development of political parties: One of the positive impacts of colonialism was the development of Political Parties. These political parties facilitated the struggle for political independence.
  • Common Language: Colonialism promoted the development of common languages among colonial territories: English by those colonized by Britain and French by those colonized by


  • Uniform Civil Service: The civil service was developed along with that of the British and the French system.
  • Common Legal System: There was the development of a common legal system among the colonial territory.
  • Development of Infrastructure: Facilities such as roads, railway and electricity were developed to ensure effective administration.
  • Emergence of New Elites: Colonialism led to the development of a new set of elites based on educational achievement and political exposure.
  • Exposure to Western Education: Colonialism provided access to new form of education which opened more opportunities for Africans.
  • Common Central Bank: With the exception of Guinea, the formal French territories in West Africa had a common Central bank issuing a common currency.


  • How has education contributed to the achievement of independence in West Africa?
  • Mention five positive impact of colonialism in West Africa.


  • Economic Dependence and Exploitation: Africa was being exploited by capital produced by African labour. The colonial masters carried the wealth of West Africa to their home countries thereby impoverishing West Africa.
  • Means of Communication: The means of communication were not constructed for Africans. They were built to extract cotton, gold, palm produce, groundnut, cocoa etc.
  • Introduction of the Slave Trade, deportation and humiliation of African leaders.
  • Colonial education was met to train Africans to administer the local areas at the lowest rank and to staff the private capitalist firms owned by Europeans.
  • Erosion of the Power of Traditional Rulers: Traditional rulers were stripped of their real powers and turned into colonial puppets. The traditional rulers became responsible to the colonial government and district officer.
  • Production of Cash Crops: They concentrated their efforts in the areas of producing cash crops e.g. cocoa, cotton, , palm produce etc.
  • Colonialism Creates Problem of Unity: Colonial rule has divided the countries in West Africa into two major groups- the English speaking and French speaking countries. This is one of the problems facing ECOWAS.


  • Mention five negative impact of colonialism in West Africa.
  • List six countries colonized by France in Africa.


  1. Examine the strength and weaknesses of indirect rule as a colonial policy.
  2. Highlight the effects of colonial rule on Colonies.
  3. Define colonialism.
  4. What are some of the positive impacts of colonialism?
  5. What are some of the negative impacts of colonialism?


  1. In the absence of the existence of traditional rulers in Igbo communities, the British colonial administration appointed the — (a) Warrant chiefs (b) Eze (c) Paramount chiefs (d) Obas
  2. The introduction of indirect rule in Eastern Nigeria led to the Aba women riots of —(a) 1914 (b) 1935 (c) 1929 (d) 1910
  1. All the following are positive impact of colonialism except—- (a) Technical aid (b) development of political parties (c) exploitation (d) education
  2. The  indirect rule system succeeded in the Hausa Fulani society because the (a) people were peaceful (b) existing administration favored the system (c) society had only one religion (d) people were Christians.
  3. Which of the following was not a result of nationalist activities in West Africa? (a) Development (b) improvement (c) Arrest and trial of all nationalist leaders (d) elective principle


  1. State four positive impacts of colonialism
  2. Highlight four negative impacts of colonialism


Comprehensive Government Pages 143-151

Essential Government Pages 155-165

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