Roadmaps To The Challenge Of Globalization Politics
Since the 1980's First World recession scare, the Third World has be in either periods of decline of stagnation. Africa, in particular, was considered to have lost the decade completely, and arguably, the 1990's as well. For the continent, seen as dark and constantly struggling to develop, several authors, economist, and __ have given there particular remedies to Africa's ailments. As a student of politics and international development, I have ran across the case study of the 'Africa problem' and found myself intrigued with this continent that is revered for its beauty and resources, but just cannot seem to get it together. In my scholastic proceedings, I have read extensively on the topic of Africa's struggle and proposed 'avenues' of prosperity. In these readings, one is always left with more questions than answers. There always seems to be holes in one of the proposed solutions, or what can be considered, a completely western spin on the issue and problem. Fantu Cheru'sÂ African Renaissance: Roadmaps to the Challenge of GlobalizationÂ approach to globalization and the outlook of Africa's future is realist without being dismal, and always from an obtainable point of view.
The issue of globalization is not a new issue, but is now an increasingly important issue. Whether one considers it good or bad, the mechanism is moving forward, and Fantu Cheru sees globalization in a new light. Up until this point, African nations have had one of two responses to Globalization: outright refusal with a combination of Socialist experimentation, and complete embrace at the cost of its country's unique identity. Mr. Cheru argues that Africa must have aÂ "guided embrace of globalization with a commitment to resist."Â This idea comes after the realization that globalization cannot be stopped, but Africa's troubled past with globalized efforts. Starting with the slave trade in the 1650's, to the colonial rule after the BerlinÂ Conference, to neo-liberalist system, African nations have paid some of the highest prices for globalization. This introduction of globalization and the context of Africa and Africa's role in the history of 'globalized' efforts, set the tone of a well researched and educated work on the topic at hand.
He continues to give an in depth look at the issues of the 1980s and 1990s and the role of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Those institutions were set up to relieve and consolidate the debt of developing nations that were 'over lent' money during the 1960s and 1970s. As monetary or economic establishments, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had terms and conditions to be upheld by the developing nations. TheseÂ external forces that undermine Africa's development are unfavorable, but have been backed and made by the powers that be. Institutions such as the World Trade organization has also furthered the terms of neo-liberalism to developing sub-Saharan African nations. Even the hostile terms of trade that led the way in a range of issues and conflicts with the international economic order, created aÂ Â following by the lack of positive foreign direct investment have left Africa. These nations are vulnerable to volatile external market forces and coercion from multi-lateral lending institutions, and must uses these lenders as the only sources of foreign exchange credits. This dependence has created a situation where African nations' control over regional and national development policy is consistently curtailed and opposed by the interest of the international financial system, to which Africa's economies are essentially mortgaged.
The remaining chapters of the book discuss the challenges to sub-Saharan Africa's future development, like agriculture, education, rural-urban linkages, regional integration, rebuilding war torn societies, and democracy. Throughout the chapters are detailed research on past events and recent happenings in African nation's and non African nation domestic policy as well as the global forces that have helped to shape the situation Africa and her people find themselves in today.
As a student of global politics, I particularly appreciated the in depth analysis of the external forces and internal forces acting on Africa's progress. With this topic, authors can become very opinionated, but Fantu Cheru really takes an objective look at international trade and international financial policies in respect to African nations and other nations policy on foreign aid.
The only point the Cheru gives a little insight to his own opinions is at the end with a "Wake up Call to Fellow Africans". Cheru calls on us to rethink the concept of "decolonization of the African mindset". Africa's dependence on foreign aid, he says, has done the opposite of its claimed mission, but in fact has been used to keep Africa's people disempowered through the support of dictatorships and undemocratic regimes. Since the African example shows the true damage of colonialization and neo liberalism as a new form of colonialization and oppression of nations, Fantu Cheru exclaims that the habits of import consumption and the rejection of products produced in Africa shows the stigma attached to these struggling countries place on them by their old colonial masters.
He then gives an important challenge and message to African universities, scholars and heads of state. Cheru believes that it is the responsibility of the educated to commit to strengthen the undereducated and uneducated people's capacity in "all the relevant specializations" in order to improve the ability for African trade negotiators to engage in meaningful dialogue in international negotiations. I do agree on the grounds that all sovereign nations are considered international actors, and it is only fair to include Africa in negotiations because their opinions and needs matter to international stability. This by far is the best book that I've read on African development. It is a very easy read for those newly approaching the subject and an asset to graduate students or researchers that are well versed on sub- Saharan African development. Cheru's research, which was accumulated through years of work as a consultant with many international organizations and governments, was very well documented in the notes and references sections. This book will be added to my collection for future academic purposes and I highly recommend this book to any and all interested in African political economy and development.
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