Globalisation, Its Implications and Consequences for Africa

S.T. Akindele, Ph.D; T.O. Gidado, M.Sc; and O.R. Olaopo; Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University


© 2002 by S.T. Akindele, T.O. Gidado, and O.R. Olaopo. All Rights Reserved. This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the editors of Globalization. Akindele, S.T., T.O. Gidado, and O.R. Olaopo. "Globalisation, Its Implications and Consequences for Africa." Globalization. 2.1 (Winter 2002).

What is to be Done?

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation for Africa and, in the light of the analysis that has been done in the context of this paper, our argument is that much as globalisation may be inevitable, its consequences for Africa are devastating. It is therefore, our contention that, there is the need for an appropriate response to emerge from Africa with a view to understanding the dynamics that will hopefully help to evolve measures that will reduce the devastating effects of globalisation. Thus, we pose the question: what is to be done? Do, Africans require a response informed by their own historical development? Our belief is that, for Africa to get out of this entrapment, it needs to delink its dependency on the western powers and that its system of independent states needs to be recomposed.

Given the foregoing, what are the alternatives left for the states in Africa in view of the rampaging menace of globalisation and the seeming helplessness (due to debt burden) of the states and the citizenry? In other words, what are the ways out?

Even though, these questions on the surface appear unanswerable, it is essential for Africa’s very survival to be emancipated from the current state of helplessness. This is particularly necessary because, as Charlick (2000:1) opined:

...the position of the world bank in the late 1980s, that development could be improved through the betterment of “governance” regardless of the type of macro- political system operating in Africa, has been substantially discredited.

Clues have been given as to what Africa and her people must do to “counter the centrifugal forces of globalisation” and emancipate themselves from its manacling claws and anteceding institutional rationalization.

One possible way out according to Tandon (1998c), who draws upon Amin’s (1987, 1990) earlier works, is the subordination of external relations to the logic of internal development. Through this, African revolutionary and activist classes (could be) actively engaged in building alternative (new) structures of power for organising production based on new values of humanity and care for the environment. The need for this, among other factors, could probably be identified as one of the catalysts for the theme, “Globalisation, Democracy and Development in Africa” – developed by the African Association of Political Science, Twelfth Biennial Congress, which took place in Darkar, Senegal, in 1999.

According to this logic, “developing countries should retain the idea of an activist state in reacting to the effects of globalisation (Ohiorhenuan 1998:14). That is, African citizens must not resign themselves to Fate vis-à-vis the manacling claws of globalisation and, they must realise that it is always better to be a king in a “jungle” than a deprived and malnourished messenger in a “city”. They must cease to be mere “on-lookers” - who, according to Frantz Fanon (1961), are either cowards or traitors-on issues affecting their economic, political and socio-cultural well being. Instead, they must sever the apron-springs of domination by the developed world by categorically and practically resisting the inequality inherent in a villagized world. Thus, according to Ake (1996: 122-123) “the people of Africa will have to empower themselves to repossess their own development”. This, could, in addition to other mechanisms, be done by rebuilding their national images, by fighting corruption and, by insisting on their own cultural preferences, and terms of membership in the village. This will only be possible through a sincere, committed sociological, cultural, economic and political realignment that is truly African in nature, and intent. Without these conditions, it will be difficult, if not totally impossible, for Africa and Africans to talk about political and economic integration, improvement and, above all, emancipative development in the twenty-first century.

Postcolonial Web Africa OV African Politics Overview Globalization OV

Last Modified: 12 April, 2002