Podium: The globalisation of Africa
From a speech by the President of South Africa to the Organisation for African Unity summit in Algiers, Algeria
Tuesday 20 July 1999
"We have experienced... break-ups and breakdowns of state power in the Nineties in the [Soviet Union], the former Yugoslavia and Albania, in various parts of Africa (Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo etc)."
Another reference says: "Even Africa has shown some signs of life." This refers to inflows of foreign capital.
The next reference says: "The US dollar serves as the reserve currency in Hong Kong and Argentina, the French franc in the former French colonies in Africa..."
The last of the references says: "I also made a study of African countries and I found that people in resource-rich and resource-poor countries are equally poor; the only difference is that the governments of resource- rich countries are much more corrupt."
What this shows graphically is the extent to which Africa is off the globalisation screen - the degree to which the continent is marginalised.
Yet the African condition describes exactly the negative consequences of the process of globalisation, if we go according to the 1999 Human Development Report of the UNDP. And here is what this report says: "When the market goes too far in dominating social and political outcomes, the opportunities and rewards of globalisation spread unequally and inequitably - concentrating power and wealth in a select group of people, nations and corporations, marginalising the others."
The report goes on to say: "The challenge of globalisation in the new century is not to stop the expansion of global markets. The challenge is to find the rules and institutions for stronger governance - local, national, regional and global - to preserve the advantages of global markets and competition, but also to provide enough space for human, community and environmental resources to ensure that globalisation works for people - not just for profits."
What this calls for is our conscious and deliberate intervention in the process of globalisation, as Africans, to produce these results of ethics, equity, inclusion, human security, sustainability and development.
And this means that we, as politicians, must seek to gain a profound understanding of economics, so that we can intervene in an informed manner, rather than merely as King Canute striving to wish the waves away.
What next should we do to respond to the challenge of globalisation and establish the African economic community?
At the continental level, we have to elaborate and implement extra-regional programmes and projects aimed at expediting the process of African integration. In this regard, some areas suggest themselves immediately.
These are as follows: expanding the telecommunications infrastructure; speeding up our co-operation in the areas of human resource development; intensifying our exchanges in the area of science and technology; and developing our economic infrastructure, as would be represented by the generation of hydro-electricity at the Inga Falls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The question that arises is: what mechanism do we have to follow up such ideas and initiatives? Some issues that require a concerted African response include: debt; the need to attract capital from the countries of the north, in order radically to increase the level of productive and profitable investment in our economies; technology transfers; restructuring and reorientation of the World Bank and the IMF; gold sales by the IMF and the central banks of the developed countries; and overseas development assistance.
Mere moral appeals from the have-nots to the haves are not likely to take us very far. Such is the degree of comfort among the haves, even in our own societies, that their ears are closed to the warnings we give repeatedly, that the worsening relative and absolute poverty of the many can never serve as assurance that the prosperity of the few is guaranteed for all time.
We must again become our own liberators. Thus can we turn the century that will soon be upon us into an African century, and realise the objective of an African renaissance.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils