Podium: The globalisation of Africa

From a speech by the President of South Africa to the Organisation for African Unity summit in Algiers, Algeria

LAST YEAR, the well-known international financier George Soros published a book entitled The Crisis of Global Capitalism. Being conscious of the negative impact that this crisis of global capitalism has had on the African continent, and certainly on sub-Saharan Africa, I thought that the most intelligent thing for me to do would be to start off by locating any references to Africa in the book. The index indicates that Africa is mentioned in four of its pages. I would like to quote these portions.

"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.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas