Neo-colonialism ( from Ancient Greek νέος Neos "new" and colonialism ) is a critical term for the international capitalist economic system in terms of the ratio between the countries and companies in the so-called "First World" and "Third World " after the dissolution of the colonial empires in the 20. century.


The concept of " neo-colonialism " is used as a description for the efforts of governments and companies in the rich industrial nations - especially the U.S., the EU and in recent years increasingly also China - to take control of the resources, financial and commodity markets of poor countries to secure. The tools of this system, therefore, used for example decisions on the award or non- award of loans or the provision of debt discounts. In The criticism stand as the International Monetary Fund (IMF ), the World Bank ( WB ) and the World Trade Organization ( WTO).

The accusation against the IMF and World Bank is that countries are forced by these organizations to take actions that correspond mainly to the interests of the rich countries, but take little or no account of the development of the affected economies - often with the result that the poverty of the population continues to increase. As an example, the crisis in Argentina (1998-2002) or the date (2004) can largely inconclusive negotiations on the opening of the U.S. and EU markets listed for agricultural products from African countries ( see the agricultural markets and Common Agricultural Policy).

As a further consequence of this one-sided economic policy is stated that the investments of multinational corporations, often accompanied gain with tax and labor law benefits for investors, only a few people in the countries affected profits, while the majority of the population can derive no benefit from it. On the contrary, the internationally operating companies use the low wages and social standards and cause beyond sometimes major ecological damage ( impact of oil production in Nigeria, deforestation of tropical forests to gain precious woods, extraction of natural resources, storage of toxic waste ).

So while these countries are used as a reservoir of cheap labor and raw materials, sustainable development and access to modern technologies and production methods is prevented at the same time. So warns the World Food and Agriculture Organization FAO neo-colonial states, when rich countries are looking in impoverished countries with too little arable land, such as Saudi Arabia to plantations.

As neo-colonialism is also the installation and support of regimes, including many dictatorships in Africa and previously also in Latin America that serve the interests of multinational corporations and not the interests of people living in these countries population (see, for example, operating PBSUCCESS ). It also includes the control of the coverage of these countries.


The term neocolonialism first found in the aftermath of the dissolution of the former colonial empires after the Second World War spread and was initially used mostly in the context of African countries. Politicians and activists in the newly independent countries complained that their countries had now become victims of a new kind of colonialism practiced by the former colonial powers and other wealthier nations. Particular, it was - and is sometimes up today - France accused of pursuing a neo-colonialist policy and even to provide, if necessary with military operations ensure that its interests are not threatened.

Also, independence movements in standing still under the control of European countries countries took the concept of neo-colonialism in their reasoning. Examples of this are the Marxist, anti - colonialist organizations FRELIMO and MPLA in the up in the 1970s by countries Portugal controlled Mozambique and Angola.

At the beginning of the 2000s is cited as evidence of neo-colonialism, among others, the debt situation of many African countries to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank: Every year is paid by these countries more money to the IMF and WB, as they get from these organizations in loans, making it largely impossible for an economic development and the development of health and education. This dependence on other loans and the need for debt relief force the affected countries, programs to agree, which are given by the international organizations. According to the principles of the WTO, these programs are generally first and foremost in privatization and the opening up of markets for investors. The consequences of the sale of farms and infrastructure to foreign companies, leading to a further loss of independence and a further deterioration of the already often barely developed health and education systems.

In this sense, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in issues of economic development and, in 2004 when he a complete debt ( 200 billion U.S. dollars ), called for African countries and the governments concerned asked, quite simply, the payments to the IMF and WB adjust, if they do not consent:

Critics of the IMF refer to studies on the effects required by the IMF devaluation of currencies as a condition for loans to finance the debt. They argue that the IMF indeed a devaluation of national currencies calls, but at the same time insisting that the loans in U.S. dollars, British pounds, euros, yen or other relatively hard currencies of the "First World" must be repaid. Thus, the debt would continue to increase, more and more kept a repayment impossible and the countries in debt and even neo-colonial dependency.

The Chinese investment in infrastructure in Africa - especially Nigeria - are also referred to by some Western politicians pejoratively as neo - colonialism, whereby the application of the concept is here doubtful.