Western European imperialism in Africa greatly influenced the economic, cultural, and military development of countries in that area. France, Britain, and Germany were the three main Imperialist Powers in Africa during the late eighteen hundreds. In February 1885, the main European powers signed the Berlin Act, which formalized the process of partition of Africa. The Act included the guidelines of how each country was to define its territories. The speed with which Africa was divided demonstrates the intense competition involved with imperial expansion. This European influence did not have a positive effect on the economic, cultural, and military development of the African countries, and most of these countries eventually formed into third world nations.
Many of the European states were motivated to participate in imperialism by the need to expand their economies. These nations sought to acquire raw materials and additional sources of labor, and also to find outlets for surplus capital and markets for surplus goods. In these situations the Mother Country (being the major European powers) was placed in the position of producer and the colony in the position of a provider for raw materials and human resources. For example, Great Britain controlled the salt trade in India and if you wanted salt you had to pay the British government. All in all, imperialism formed Africa into a global economy on unequal terms, and a provider of raw materials and cash crops. In the end, the African countries turned out to be economically stagnant, third world nations.
Western European imperialism resulted in cultural disorientation in Africa. Many people in Europe portrayed imperialism as a heroic deed carried out by idealistic leaders of Western civilization in an effort to spread the "benefits" of "true civilization" to "less advanced" peoples of the world. The European powers were looking to establish their own cultural beliefs, arts, and institutions in the nations of Africa.