Globalisation has its pros and cons

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By Lawrence Gwinyai Mashoko

GLOBALISATION is the process through which States are affected by decisions and events in other States, which are far and different.
As a result, nations have joined each other through various institutions such as the United Nations (UN) and have become interdependent.
The joining of States to solve common problems and assist each other is advantageous in that it increases the pull of resources that is required for mankind to adapt to some of the realities that we face today, perhaps more serious than those our predecessors faced.
Take for instance, the ever burning issues of food security or HIV and AIDS. These complex issues demand joint efforts to ensure that the blow they make on societies all over the world is softened.
Of late, it seems that apart from the benefits that we are realising from globalisation as Africans, there is another side of the coin that we cannot ignore, regardless of how much we are benefiting elsewhere.
It is apparent that globalisation undermines the sovereignty of most African countries.
This has recently been exemplified by the souring of relations between Washington and Kampala after the parliament of Uganda moved to implement a law that outlaws homosexuality in their country.
Freedom from external interference is one of the cornerstones of sovereignty. Globalisation challenges this because it integrates many aspects of state policy to the interests of other countries.
This eventually weakens the power of self-determination which is critical to the governance and success of any country in the world.
Institutions that have come about as a result of globalisation such as the European Union (EU) bind their members to collective economic planning and policy making.
The manifestation of this phenomenon is that all members of this powerful body cannot make economic decisions autonomously.
The sovereignty of these countries is therefore undermined because their economic decisions are diluted by other countries in the bloc, who are simultaneously trying to secure their own interests.
For example, several countries in the Euro-zone, such as Greece, were left at the mercy of others especially Germany when the economy plunged during the recent economic crisis.
Germany, being the leading economic powerhouse in the union had a long list of austerity measures that it demanded as a pre-requisite of rescuing the country.
This was unpopular with several statesmen in Greece such as Alexis Tsipras who felt they were being held hostage.
Furthermore, large global institutions such as the UN place great value on human rights.
There is no denying that in the 21st century, the enjoyment and protection of people’s human rights is non- negotiable.
Where there are reports of human rights abuses in member countries, the UN intervenes.
This automatically results in a situation where other member states respond either through military or economic means such as sanctions.
This is exactly what happened when the United States, Britain and their allies placed Zimbabwe under sanctions on the pretext that the ZANU PF government was abusing the rights of the citizenship.
The so-called champions of democracy take over control of such matters, which should be addressed by the government instead.
In addition, globalisation creates a situation where rich and powerful countries such as the United States, Britain and France have a louder say in global events than others.
This comes about as a result of their military prowess and economic muscle. For example, the United States has a significantly larger voting share in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank than African countries, say Botswana.
Such a set up leaves weaker states at the mercy of more powerful states.
As a result their sovereignty is undermined since they are dependent on the resources of these financial institutions.
It is a well known fact that when these organisations fund development projects, they determine how the said funds will be allocated and spent, mostly through Western organisations and companies from which materials and expertise are outsourced, even if they can be found in the country concerned.
Finally globalisation can also erode the sovereignty of states through military organs such as NATO.
It is a global defence institution which responds to conflict situations through aggression and armed force.
A classic example of this is the way in which NATO forces intervened in the Libyan Conflict, which resulted in them providing assistance to murder Muammar Gaddafi.
When external forces interfere in the political process of a foreign state with the use of military force, such a country loses its sovereignty.
The benefits that states accrue from globalisation are unquestionable.
It is important for states to come together with the common goal of creating a better life for the average person anywhere in the world.
However, reality paints another picture, one which is important to examine prudently.
Globalisation is posing a serious challenge to our sovereignty, especially here in Africa, where we receive a lot of international aid and assistance.
Lawrence Gwinyai Mashoko is a student of law and politics. He writes in his personal capacity as a concerned African citizen.

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