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
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor