Impact of Globalisation in Africa [opinion]
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Globalisation is the new lingo and it refers to the process of amplification of economic, political, social and cultural relations across international boundaries. Africa has been globalising thanks to its interactions with the rest of the world. Through the interactions, cultures are fusing in a new paradigm that can only be referred to us multicultural.
As globalisation gripped Africa, there was a rise in democracy through multiparty elections in countries like Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. Finally people had the power to elect the people they wanted through the ballot without fear of reprisals. Other countries moved from military dictatorships to civilian rule like Nigeria. Sudan had a referendum to decide its destiny and the vote was final-South Sudan was born.
Many countries in Africa finally have constitutions that are progressive in terms of the laws created. Human rights are recognised and protected in these constitutions. Kenya remains the most progressive with its 2010 constitution as compared to Uganda, Sudan and Zimbabwe among other countries in Africa.
Kenya at the moment struggles with a significant number of political unrests as a result of a more democratic space and a relatively free media that has further fuelled dissident voices.
On the bright side, the peace engagements around Africa are a result of globalisation. All world leaders want peace and do not want to see nations fall to the abyss like Somalia, Libya, Syria and Egypt. That is why the Universal Peer Review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council exists to keep States in check in terms of human rights. The United Nations and other international bodies also monitor what is happening around the world through special mechanisms that are created specifically to handle salient issues touching on torture and child labour among others.
Liberalisation of economies all over Africa has led to state corporations being privatised for efficiency and better service provision. Kenya privatised entities it owned in telecommunication, water, and railway as it sought better service delivery to Kenyans. With the privatisation, came fresh capital and leadership that steered the companies to greater heights. They moved from being loss-making entities to profit making entities though some are still struggling at the moment.
Globalisation in Kenya has led to a digital awakening. Kenya is now an IT hub in Africa with some of the greatest innovations being born as a result. Mobile money transfer and mobile banking services have revolutionised Kenya. There are more people online using their mobile phones in Kenya than in any other country in East and Central Africa.
Communication has been much easier across Kenya with the advent of technology. This has also made it to interact more with her neighbours if not the whole world. Diplomatic relations with other countries has been made much easier through the use of technology. It is easier to have a Skype/video conference with someone thousands of miles away in real time. Countries are now connected and have bilateral relations.
Kenya like other African countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Uganda and Ghana has resources like oil and titanium. The demand for oil is huge and still growing, which has led to a rise of the cost of raw materials around the world. International Companies are setting up shop in Africa. Africa is trading more with the East than the West. Some scholars refer to this as 'neo-colonialism' but others are looking at it as 'fading Western influence in Africa.'
Kenya's cheap labour is making it a hub for the Export Processing Zones among other trade initiatives. Globalisation has also led to international mobility among Kenyans. Thousands of Kenyans work-study and live abroad and many more are either going or planning to go now. It has provided a lot of opportunities for Kenyans hitherto considered impossible.
Global IT security is an issue that recently affected several countries in East Africa. The global fight on IT security goes on. After all -our lives are now online and there is need to protect that life. Globalisation has brought with it unimaginable horror in the name of terrorism and other vices. Everything has a price and this is the price of globalisation. Now Kenya has al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda to worry about just like Nigeria has Boko Haram giving it a nightmare. Countries are coming together to fight the 'global enemy' that is often referred to us 'global terror.' Border screenings for entrants is becoming tighter and tighter as airports around the world invest in better screening equipment.
As cosmopolitanism rises as a result of globalisation, traditional cultures are fading or are being fused to create new cultures in Kenya. The urban contemporary culture is synonymous with city dwellers in Kenya. These breeds of people do not associate with the traditional cultural norms and values. The traditional cultures are slowly being replaced or are dying like the Ogiek in Kenya and there is need to do something to preserve them.
Copyright The Star. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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