III-2. Globalization and Africa; The Impact of Global Economic Integration on Africa in the 21st Century (friendly merged panel)

Conveners: Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome (City University of New York, USA); e-mail: mokome@brooklyn.cuny.edu, Peter Adebayo (University of Ilorin, Nigeria); e-mail: peteradebayo2000@gmail.com, Emmanuel Ojo (University of Ilorin, Nigeria); e-mail: eojo12000@yahoo.com, Adepoju Toyin Adewale (Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Nigeria); e-mail: adepojuadewale@gmail.com

Globalization and Africa (proposed by Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome)
As a result of globalization, the movements of Africans from one country to another with the aim of permanent settlement have been on the increase. The most compelling motivation leading African people to uproot themselves from their native lands and to emigrate towards foreign shores has been the desire to find greater opportunity and security somewhere else. In the last two decades, the nature and scope of African immigration has changed dramatically due to the processes of globalization and neoliberal democratization. The quest for security has taken on more urgency, and the popular response in host countries such as the United States reveals much of the limits of globalization as a win-win situation where we all co-mingle in an infinitely permeable and all-embracing global village. There are many reasons why a person laboring under the burdens and tedium of life would desire immediate exit from her/his home country. However, there are as many, or even more reasons to stay home if the opportunity exists because there may be more job satisfaction in an African workplace than in an American one. There are numerous intangible elements that make for a rich life - friends, family, the familiar routines and activities of daily life, even the predictability of a recognized bully's oppressiveness. To depart is to leave these things behind, a process that could generate a feeling of rootlessness and disconnectedness. In a sense then, to leave is to become homeless, or at least unmoored, and to be condemned to wandering hither and thither, condemned to a perpetual cycle of arrival and departure, all the while not feeling comfortable anywhere. Education also features prominently. Many young Africans hanker after a foreign education, believing it to be of better quality than the homegrown variety. Together with the dreams of accessing such education are grand dreams of “making it.” Many firmly believe that such progress can never be found in their own countries. We can see then, future trends toward increased outmigration from the African continent by those more able to do so. Scholars have pointed out the dangers of this brain drain to the development of the African continent. Others claim that brain drain can be turned around and converted to either brain circulation or brain gain. Yet, white dominance and xenophobia thrive in the most favored destinations—Europe, the United States of America, and current political trends reveal more open expressions by nationalist movements that reject migration, particularly from non-white regions of the world, including Africa. This panel will consider the causes, consequences, and implications of these phenomena for Africa and Africans.

The Impact of Global Economic Integration on Africa in the 21st Century (proposed by Peter Adebayo, Emmanuel Ojo, and Adepoju Toyin Adewale)
This panel is to provide answers to the following questions: Has global economic integration in the 21st century raised the hope of Africa beyond the traditional approach of providing aid to help her end poverty? Are there remarkable differences in the approaches of some regional economic bloc like BRICS, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and multi-lateral groups such as IMF, World Bank etc. towards Africa? What has been and should be the basis of bilateral or even, multilateral development relationships between these groups and Africa? To answer the questions, the study explores a comparison of the philosophies behind the donor-recipient and equal-partners approaches to development. It juxtaposes the depredatory effects of the socio-political and economic conditionality that the West has inflicted on Africa (ranging from integrated rural development in the 1970s, to policy reform (structural adjustment programmes) in the 1980s, to governance in the 1990s, and respect for human rights in the 2000, especially the gay right movement and so on) and alternative models. In drawing comparisons, it observes that the burden of foreign aid, loan agreement, economic and technical cooperation agreement, debt sustainability and similar indices have deepened Africa’s vulnerability rather than brighten its prospects in a globalised market place. By hinging its argument on the assumption that any global economic integration that imposes political and economic conditionality in exchange for aid is anti-development, this paper further submits that African countries should be free to negotiate their own pathway out of poverty as equal partners in development. It further posits that only by comparing and exchanging views, rather than tutorials, on lessons learned and approaches to aid and cooperation, that more useful engagement between Africa and the rest of the world could become possible. It concludes that mutually–beneficial relations between Africa and economic cooperation blocs such as BRICS will, however, become possible if and only if African governments can take hold of the encounter in ways that will benefit their people. It recommends that Africa governments should focus on win-win approach that is not about aid but business.