GLOBALISATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
GLOBALISATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
INTRODUCTION IN GENERAL
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE problem
The human yearning for sustainable development can be traced back to the dawn of time. This explains why human history is rife with varied attempts by man to improve his circumstances at different moments in time.
In our time, this noble ambition has taken on a more generic status in an attempt to transform the entire world into a global village in which humanity can share a common developmental experience.
This evolving global order, known as Globalisation, is a continual process, and no one can claim to understand its full scope or even exist outside of its impact.
While its supporters have emphasised the prospects and benefits of this phenomena, many schools of thought in both rich and developing countries are growing disillusioned with it.
The reason for these shifting ideas and attitudes is a lack of visible benefits for most developing countries, particularly those in Africa.
As a result, there are various concerns that call into doubt the ideology of globalisation and the veracity of its countless claims and promises. This explains why a critical examination of the complexities of the current globalisation process is not only necessary, but also unavoidable.
1.2 PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE study
Many experts have wondered, and continue to ponder, the overall repercussions of globalisation on the entire human species. These studies are needed not just by the aforementioned dispute surrounding the phenomena, but also by the apparent marginalisation and increasing impoverishment of its less privileged participants.
As a result, I seek to disclose the contents of the current globalisation process through an existential enquiry into its dynamics and philosophical underpinnings.
This would then allow us to extend its potential implications to Africa's drive for sustainable development.
This study would attempt to analyse the raison d'être of the current globalisation process as a philosophical enquiry. My main point is that sustainable development is all about people, and business is all about ethics.
As a result, the end goal of globalisation should be the holistic growth of humanity in ways that are sustainable for all races and generations.
1.3 METHODOLOGY OF THE RESEARCH
In this study, I intend to use both an explanatory and an evaluative strategy. Thus, we will define globalisation philosophy in relation to Africa's existential situation. These would be the starting points for extrapolating globalization's consequences for African development.
The work is divided into five chapters in total. The first chapter provides a synoptic overview of the entire work as well as perspectives on globalisation from other authors.
The second chapter introduces and investigates the concept and nature of globalisation as they relate to this study.
The third chapter discusses the concept of sustainable development and its current position in Africa, while the fourth part carefully extrapolates the consequences of globalisation to sustainable development in Africa. Finally, the fifth chapter critically assesses the entire intellectual exposure.
With true humility, I do not want to conduct an extensive investigation of the subject of globalisation and African development. As a result, my study will be complementary to that of eminent researchers on the issue.
1.4 LITERATURE REVIEW
Globalisation is undeniably at the heart of the modern era as a vital aspect in its development. As a result, the purpose of this brief literature review is to investigate how some researchers conceptualise the globalisation process in relation to its implications for sustainable development in Africa.
Many academics clearly regard globalisation as merely an economic phenomenon involving the increasing interaction or integration of national economic systems as a result of increased international trade, foreign investments, and trans-border capital movement.
However, as a significant and integral part of globalisation, one can also refer to the rapid development in cross-border socio-cultural and technical interchange. In this context, prominent sociologist Anthony Giddens characterised globalisation as the “decoupling of space and time.”
He emphasised that knowledge and culture may be spread globally at the same time through rapid communication.
Rund Lubbers, a Dutch political economist, expressed this view more explicitly when he described globalisation as
Geographic distance is becoming less important in the formation and maintenance of cross-border commercial, political, and sociocultural interactions.
In agreement with the aforementioned authors, David Held and Anthony McGrew made a nuanced attempt to characterise globalisation and its consequences on socio-cultural as well as political structures in their entry for the Oxford Companion to Politics.
They saw globalisation as A process (or series of processes) that represents a change in the geographical organisation of social relations and transactions, manifested as transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction, and power.
A unifying factor among these experts is their optimism about globalisation. It is, according to them, a worldwide process of changing humanity into a single civilization, or what Marshall McLuhan referred to as the global village.
 According to Henry Alapiki, this transformation is frequently followed by an amplification of global social links “which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.”
 In fact, Jan Scholte elaborated on this viewpoint when he wrote:
Globalisation refers to the processes by which social relations acquire largely distanceless and borderless characteristics, so that human lives are increasingly played out in the world as a single location…
Globalisation is thus an ongoing trend in which the world has become one relatively borderless social sphere in many ways and at a typically accelerating rate.
While some scholars look at globalisation through the lens of “social relations,” others focus on a more specific economic dimension.
The inclination is to see globalisation as a rapid growth in cross-border socioeconomic exchange under capitalism's conditions. Prof. Oyejide is a typical representative of this school, stating:
Globalisation refers to the greater integration of markets for products, services, and capital across borders. As a result, global economic activity will accelerate, as will the transfer of tangible and intangible goods across national and regional borders. Individual countries are getting more integrated into the global economy as a result of this tendency.
Their trade and investment links become more complex, and cross-border financial flows become more erratic. More crucially, globalisation was developed and is being sustained through the liberalisation of economic policies in several vital areas.
Anti-globalization schools, on the other hand, see the phenomena as a worldwide push towards universal economic dominance by supranational entities that are not answerable to democratic procedures or national governments. Thus, Aja Akpuru-Aja and A.C. Emeribe argue, from the standpoint of international “political economy,” that:
Globalization's engineering mechanism remains a revolution in science and technology, particularly as it affects transportation and electro-communication networks. As a result, a global community, a single market system, a global factory, and a global office have been established.
Globalisation has resulted in a grotesque and dangerous polarisation between peoples and countries that benefit from the system and others that are only recipients and reactionaries to its effects.
Against this backdrop, it is reasonable to conclude that globalisation appears to go beyond the ordinary flow of trade or social interactions to perpetrate some type of economic, political, and socio-cultural imperialism. This could imply a kind of donor-recipient polarisation.
In this instance, globalisation cannot be a positive force because it would undoubtedly produce a world of winners and losers. This explains why the consequences for developing countries, particularly those in Africa, look to be hazardous.
However, pro-globalization theorists maintain:
There is rising evidence that global income and poverty inequalities are lessening, and that globalisation has played a significant role in this turnaround…
The rich-poor divide is also narrowing in most Asian and Latin American countries. Countries that are becoming poorer are those that are not open to global trade, most notably many African states.
The core idea is that poor countries that have reduced tariff barriers have increased employment and national GDP.
Following on from this, the World Trade Organisation claims that “trade liberalisation aids poor countries in catching up with rich countries, and that faster economic growth aids in poverty alleviation.”
Simply expressed, Professor Ron Duncan of the Australian National University argued unequivocally that:
Although globalisation may exacerbate inequality in some nations, structural measures can mitigate this. Poverty increases in the poorest countries as a result of their refusal to participate in globalisation.
But are we really to blame Africa's and other underdeveloped countries' poverty on their refusal to participate in globalisation? This is certainly not the opinion of certain philosophers, who believe that globalisation is even to blame for the increasing impoverishment and marginalisation of the so-called
“Third World.” The UNDP 1999 Development Report data are the most commonly utilised. According to this analysis, the last decade, the decade of the most intense globalisation, has seen an increase in the concentration of income, resources, and wealth among individuals, corporations, and countries.
Yash Tandon, a Ugandan political scientist, claimed in applying these findings to the African context:
Anyone with any degree of intellectual integrity would see that the globalisation of Africa or the integration of Africa into the global economy from the days of slavery to the current period of capital-led integration has been a disaster for Africa, both in terms of human costs and environmental damage…
It is also indicative of their (World Bank/IMF officials') intellectual dishonesty or ideological brainwashing that they are unable to grasp the link between globalisation and African poverty.
This judgement is harsh, but it appears to reflect the beliefs of many philosophers. For example, Obiora F. Ike, a theologian and social philosopher, affirms the validity of this judgement when he asks and answers the following question:
“Is globalisation good for Africa's future?” Absolutely not. I would say that its current shape has widened the divide between Africa and the so-called developed world.”
Thus, Congolese academic Mbaya Kankwenda concludes:
Globalisation has a significant theological and ideological component. In this regard, it is about the globalisation of market fundamentalism and its paradigm, which is nothing more than keeping up with developing countries, and hence Africa, by viewing the continent as an object rather than a subject and partner.
As a result, he sees Africa's globalisation as a forced insertion into the global community via developmental aid conditions, culminating in harsh economic and political reforms in Africa.
Because it sees humanity as a single family, the Church is undoubtedly not passive to the dialectics of globalisation. As a result, the church concludes in Centesimus Annus:
It is vital to remove the barriers and monopolies that keep so many countries on the periphery of progress and to offer all persons and nations with the fundamental conditions that will allow them to participate in development. No. 35 in Centesimus Annus.
This point of view was articulated by Pope Benedict XVI (when still a cardinal), who stated, “The economic inequality between the northern and southern hemispheres of the globe is becoming more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family.”
The risk of this menace is already manifested in new kinds of terrorism in the international arena, which are both products of and a problem for globalisation.
However, the Church appears to be very positive about the feasibility and benefits of globalisation, owing to the fact that its hazardous tendencies are readily avoided.
Thus, in his 2004 World Day of Peace Message, Pope John Paul II emphasised the basic but very simple premise that must govern all of our globalisation discussions. He claims that
God has called humanity to be a one family, despite its many flaws such as sin, hatred, and violence… This awareness has the potential to provide the world as it is today – characterised by the globalisation process – a soul, purpose, and direction.
As a result, he believes that “globalisation, for all of its risks, also offers exceptional and promising opportunities, precisely with a view to enabling humanity to become a single family, built on the values of justice, equity, and solidarity.”
In this approach, the Church addresses the issue of globalisation and its repercussions on human unity and long-term development.
As the above terms indicate, the Church is particularly concerned about inequities as well as the alienation of individuals and communities from economic and social growth. These appear to sum up Africa's major issue in the current globalisation process.
To that end, we attempted to highlight several schools of thinking on globalisation and its effects on Africa. They undoubtedly add to our understanding of the phenomenon.
However, it is clear that greater clarification is required for us to understand the existential consequences of the current globalisation process for African sustainable development. This will be our focus in the following chapters.