This is meant to be an "evergreen utility post" for TRS members, or anyone who wants to argue correctly about Africa, and I will likely update it. Let's begin our adventures in Open Office!
Africa is a big place with a lot of history, but is treated as a single entity in modern political discussions. Before going over the charts, consider this:
In 1950, the continent of Africa (including North Africa) had a population of 230 million.
In 2015, that number had increased to 1,166 million (1.166 billion).
This is a quintupling of the population. Is Europe directly responsible for that? Did they pay Africans to overbreed? This, the most important factor in Africa's standard of living, is simply not mentioned.
That aside. first, lets just look at purchasing power parity per capita in Africa by year and see if colonization corresponded to any big shifts:
Looking at this, the answer seems to be no. There's nothing that really pops out at you. Contrary to either narrative, it seems colonialism neither helped nor hurt. Also that Africa didn't really get any poorer overall following decolonization.
I think colonialism is a big thing politically, basically the whole world being painted a few European colors, but this may overstate how important it was economically.
This next chart compares Africa to China, India and Japan over the same years:
At first I was going to fix the scale and just blow up the differences between India, China and Africa. But I like the perspective this gives.
Another thing that calls into question the impact of colonialism is when we look at the variation between former colonies after 1960. First lets look at the nominal GDP per capita (not PPP) of South Korea, Zimbabwe and Botswana between 1960 and 1975:
All super poor. Korea was not a European colony, of course, but it's important to know that in 1960 East Asia, including China (as seen above), was every bit as poor as Africa. Following 1975 the trajectory changed. Zimbabwe doesn't have statistics for a few years, but I think we can piece together what's in there:
So is colonialism responsible for Zimbabwe being poor, but slightly less so for Botswana, because Botswana started to have major economic growth around 1985 (Botswana became independent in 1966)?
Now you can delve really deep into the funhouse of "facts" that some anti-white historian has put together. I just bypass all of that and look at the big picture, which suggests that, in general, white people are not responsible for Africa's poverty, black Africans are. Which makes sense, because we would expect the people most responsible for the wealth of a country to be the people who actually live there, not people who don't live there, especially 40-50 years after the people who don't live there stopped making the rules.
And it's not like Europeans taking over Africa was decided before any of this. It was itself a product of Africa being poor and thus easy to take over ("conquer" would overstate what Europe had to do) - and Europe being in an age where they were still willing to do that kind of thing.
African population statistics: