Final Paper

My final paper is about the effect of globalization on the African country on Kenya.

Kenya has been a strategic place of trade throughout the centuries used by both Arab and European cultures.

Before Globalization and colonialism, Kenya was a territory with no boarder lines. The  based on archaeological finding, it is estimated that Kenya was settled by humans around 2000 BC. The language they spoke was Cushitic. In the 1st century AD, Kenya’s coast was visited frequently by Arab traders because of its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, and so Arab and Persian colonies were established there. Later in the same century, the Nilotic and Bantu people also came and settled inland.

With the very close presence of the Arabic and the Bantu, the native Swahili language developed as a “lingua franca” for trade between these two other peoples. Then in 1498, the Portuguese arrived and the Arab dominance on the coast was taken, which was a blow for them because of the Port of Mombasa, which the Arabs used a resupply stop for ships that were going to the far east.

A Brief History on Kenya

The Europeans

Evolving from a mixture of Bantu and Arabic, the Swahili language then developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. When the Portuguese arrived in 1498, the Arab dominance on the coast was clipped, as the Port of Mombasa became an important resupply stop for ships bound for the Far East. The Portuguese gave way in turn to Islamic control under the Imam of Oman in the 1600s until another European influence came along, this time from the United Kingdom during the 19th century.

Colonial History

The roots of the colonial history of Kenya go back to the Berlin Conference in 1885, when East Africa was first divided into territories of influence by the European powers. The British Government founded the East African Protectorate in 1895 and soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. Even before it was officially declared a British colony in 1920, these settlers were allowed a voice in government, while the Africans and the Asians were banned from direct political participation until 1944. During this period thousands of Indians were brought into Kenya to work on building the Kenya Uganda Railway Line and subsequently settled there, whilst inviting many of their kith and kin who were mainly traders from India to join them.

Resistance to Colonialism — the Mau Mau


Kenya achieves independence

In 1957, the first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place and those elected increased the people’s agitation for Jomo Kenyatta’s release from detention. In 1962 Kenyatta was released to become Kenya’s first Prime Minister, when Kenya finally gained independence on December 12, 1963. The following year, Kenya became a Republic with Kenyatta as its first President. In the same year Kenya joined the British Commonwealth.

The Road to Kenyatta’s one party state

In 1966, a small but significant leftist opposition party, the Kenya People’s Union (KPU), was formed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former Vice President and Luo elder. KPU was banned shortly thereafter and its leader arrested in 1969 and Kenya became a “de facto” single party state. Following Kenyatta’s death in August 1978, Vice President Daniel Arap Moi succeeded him as Kenya’s second President.

The Moi era

In June 1982, Kenya was officially declared a one party state by the National Assembly and the constitution was amended accordingly. Parliamentary elections were held in September 1983 under a single party for the first time and the 1988 elections reinforced the one party system.

The parties also agreed on a process and roadmap for comprehensive constitutional reform, which will strengthen the institutions of Governance and address the long term differences that contributed to the violence.

The history of Kenya dates as early as 2000 BC when a patchwork of ethnic groups, each with their own culture and language, settled in the country. They came from every corner of Africa – Turkanas from Ethiopia; Kikuyu, Akamba and Meru from West Africa; and the Masai, Luo and Samburu from the southern part of Sudan.

However, archeological findings suggest that humanoids roamed here more than 20 million years ago. One of the most famous and complete hominid skeletons ever discovered is the 1.6 million year old Homo erectus known as the Turkana Boy, which is on display at the Nairobi National Museum.

Kenya is thus fondly referred to as the cradle of humanity or the cradle of mankind from which descendents moved out to populate the world.

By around the 8th century Arabs, Indians, Persians and even Chinese were arriving on the Kenyan coast to trade skins, ivory, gold and spices. The Swahili language, a mixture of Bantu and Arabic then developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples.

Arab dominance on the coast was eclipsed by the arrival of the Portuguese in 1498. The Portuguese built Fort Jesus in 1593, which today is one of Mombasa’s top tourist attractions. They gave way to Islamic control under the Imam of Oman in 1698 after a 33-month siege.

By 1730 all the Portuguese had left the East African coast for Mozambique, where they ruled territories, ports and settlements until 1975.

History of Kenya During The Colonial Era

 During this period some 32,000 Indians were brought into Kenya to work on building the Kenya-Uganda railway line. Many stayed after it was completed, as did most of the Indian traders and small businessmen.

In 1942, Kenya embarked on its long hard road to National Sovereignty, as the Mau Mau Movement was founded, comprising of members of the Kikuyu, Embu, Meru and Kamba tribes.

In 1953, Jomo Kenyatta was charged with directing the Mau Mau and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. Another freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi was arrested in 1956 for his role in the Mau Mau rebellion as one of the leaders. Dedan Kimathi was subsequently hanged by the colonialists.

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was put under a state of emergency because of the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule. Thousands of Kenyans were incarcerated in detention camps.

By 1956, the death toll stood at more than 13,500 Africans (guerrillas, civilians and troops) and about 100 Europeans.

In 1959 Jomo Kenyatta was released from prison, but put under house arrest. In August 1961 Kenyatta was freed and became president of KANU (Kenya African National Union) in October.

In 1960 the British government officially announced their plan to transfer power to a democratically elected African government.


Kenya History After Independence (1963)

During the elections held in May 1963 KANU won the majority of the seats. Kenya got its independence on 12th December 1963, with Kenyatta as prime minister. The following year, Kenyatta becomes the first president of Kenya and Kenya joined the Commonwealth.

The minority party, KADU (Kenya African Democratic Union), representing a coalition of small ethnic groups, dissolved itself voluntarily in 1964 and joined KANU.

In 1966, a small but significant leftist opposition party, KPU (Kenya People’s Union), was formed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former Vice President and Luo elder. KPU was banned shortly thereafter and its leader detained in 1969 and Kenya became a “de facto” single party state. At Kenyatta’s death in August 1978, Vice President Daniel Arap Moi became President.

1978 To 2002 – Moi Era

The 1988 elections reinforced the one-party system. However, in December 1991, Parliament repealed the one-party section of the constitution. By early 1992, a number of new parties had formed, and multiparty elections were held in December the same year. The divisions in the opposition lead to Moi’s re-election and his KANU party retained a majority of the legislature.

Parliamentary reforms in November 1997 expanded political rights and the number of political parties increased quickly. Again because of a divided opposition, Moi was re-elected in the December 1997 elections. KANU won 113 out of 222 parliamentary seats, but due to defections, the party had to depend on the support of minor parties to forge a working majority.

In October 2002, a coalition of opposition parties joined forces with a faction that broke away from KANU to form NaRC (National Rainbow Coalition). In December 2002, the NaRC candidate, Mwai Kibaki, was elected President. He garnered 62% of the vote and NaRC won 130 out of 222 parliamentary seats.

Kenya History From 2002 To 2013

Under Kibaki administration, Kenya witnessed a spectacular economic recovery, helped by a favorable international environment. The annual rate of growth improved from -1.6% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2007. However, in 2005, internal conflicts caused the NaRC coalition to break up.

December 2007 elections were marred by claims of rigging by both sides. The two candidates, Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga agreed to broker a peace deal. They formed a grand-coalition government.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, won the March 2013 presidential election with just over 50% of the vote. A challenge to the results by his main rival, Raila Odinga, was rejected by the Supreme Court.


The Globalization of African Cities: The Case of Nairobi Kenya

by Nelima

Dr. Kefa M. Otiso of Bowling Green State University will be here April 24th giving a talk on Globalization of African Cities using Nairobi, Kenya as a case study.

When: April 25th, noon-1pm

Where: Macalester, Olin Rice 250

The globalization of African cities has grown significantly in the past two decades in responsto domestic and global economic, social, cultural and political forces. In particular, the World Bank-IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programs of the 1980s and 1990s played an important role in liberalizing the economies of many African countries to the benefit of domestic and global capital. As one of Africa’s most global cities, Nairobi has witnessed significant development and reinforcement of its global trade, transport, communications, financial, and investment linkages since the 1980s due to greater tourist flows to Kenya and the ongoing concentration of multinational corporations, international NGOs, and UN agencies in the city. Moreover, the city’s global distribution and consumption (and to some extent production) role has benefited from (i) the increased emigration of Kenyans to richer countries and the subsequent increase in remittances, (ii) continuing regional political instability in East and Central Africa and the ensuing relocation of wealthy Somalis, Rwandese, & Congolese to the city and, (iii) the increasing role of Nairobi in aspects of the global underground economy. Nevertheless, the city’s increased globalization has heightened its socio-economic cleavages, with the local and global elite increasingly retreating to gated residential, office, commercial, and leisure spaces even as the relative deprivation of average Nairobians has increased; raising serious questions about city’s, and indeed Kenya’s, future social and political stability. Besides these negative consequences, the paper also explores positive aspects of Nairobi’s globalization and ends with lessons for other globalizing African cities.


it is clear that Kenya’s policy makers have to strengthen policies that encourage and foster manufacturing in the country so as to strengthen its position in the international market.


Although Kenya has attracted some foreign dollars through tourism and export-based flower and tea industries, a majority of Kenyans remain mired in poverty. Jean-Pierre Lehmann, founding director of the Evian group, argues here that although its future could be bright, Kenya has not yet exploited its substantial political and economic assets in a way that will allow it to fully tap into international markets. Kenya has had serious problems over the years – the 1980s collapse of its commodity-based economy left the country deep in debt, and persistent corruption and neglect of basic infrastructure and services have stalled economic development. Still, writes Lehmann, the country has “key assets that should enable it to participate in a global economy.” These include a successful education system, tourist-ready natural beauty, and a tolerant society largely free of the ethnic violence that plagues other countries in the region. There is also enormous potential for the development of small businesses if bureaucratic hurdles are removed, adds the author. An optimistic population and a new reform-minded government, Lehmann concludes, make the country a perfect investment opportunity for foreigners looking to break into Africa’s growing market. – YaleGlobal

Kenya: Globalizing with Flowers

Jean-Pierre Lehmann
YaleGlobal, 9 April 2004
Saying it with flowers: A flower seller in Kenya, which supplies a bulk of the flowers imported by Europe. The country needs to move beyond flower export to lift itself out of poverty.

NAIROBI: How many people know that there is a high probability that in Europe most flowers given to loved ones on St Valentine’s Day come from Kenya? Since the country’s independence in 1963, and especially in recent years, horticulture has emerged as one of Kenya’s great economic success stories. Flowers picked in the morning reach the markets in Amsterdam by evening. Horticulture is the country’s fastest growing sector and is ranked third (after tourism and tea) as a foreign exchange earner. At a time when most foreign investors are wary of committing money in Kenya, horticulture is one of the few industries that continue to attract foreign investment. However, horticulture does not need to be the only shining star of Kenya’s global economic success. The country’s political and economic openness places it in a good position to benefit from globalization.

An international public opinion survey by the Pew Research Center placed Kenya as one of the most open countries in Africa. 67 percent of Kenyan respondents stated that people are better off in a free market economy. Interestingly, however, the majority of Kenyans do not believe globalization has improved their lives. The apparent contradiction is best explained by the need for democratic and transparent government. An open global market economy will provide benefits, Kenyans believe, only when government is effective and efficient.

Kenya’s desire for democracy and transparent governance – and its openness to free trade – should be understood in the context of its recent past. Last year it celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its independence. In its early years Kenya was quite a success story, praised as a model African market economy, especially in contrast to its neighbour, Tanzania, which had embarked on a quasi-Maoist form of communal development. However, the death of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, in 1978, destabilized politics and contributed to Kenya’s rapid decline. Kenya’s average GDP per capita fell from $500 to about $300. The UN’s 2003 Human Development Index ranks Kenya 146th out of 175 countries.

Kenya’s low level of human development is partly due to economic circumstances. As with many sub-Saharan African countries, Kenya’s commodity-based economy – and its export earnings – was hard-hit when commodity prices collapsed in the late 1970s and 80s. The collapse caused the country’s debt service to more than double, from 16 percent in 1980 to 34 percent in 1990.

But the country has also suffered abysmal national governance. As a result of almost 25 years of corruption and neglect of basic services and infrastructure, Kenya is in dire straits. The World Economic Forum’s 2001 Africa Competitiveness Report ranked Kenya 22nd among 24 countries, surpassing only Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The 2003 Index of Economic Freedom gives Kenya a poor mark as “mostly unfree”. The most telling indicator, perhaps, is Transparency International’s “corruption perception index”, in which Kenya ranks 122nd amongst 133 countries.

 56 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. An estimated 15 percent are infected with HIV/AIDS, and life expectancy has fallen to 45 years. Despite the grim statistics, however, there is an unmistakable air of optimism in Kenya, which was well reflected in the Pew survey cited above.

Kenya has certain key assets that enable it to participate in the global economy. First, it is a breathtakingly beautiful country, endowed with a fantastic climate. Though tourism declined because of terrorist attacks in 1998 and 2002, the sector is expected to revive soon.

Second, Kenya boasts a stable society devoid of the sectarian and ethnic violence and conflict that characterizes most sub-Saharan African nations. Geographic borders of nations in sub-Saharan Africa reflect a colonial legacy rather than the ethnic, religious, and linguistic landscape of the region’s inhabitants. This has led to wars, massacres, and other inter-ethnic hostilities in many African countries. In Kenya’s region of Africa, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and Mozambique have all suffered from internal strife. Kenya, in spite of a population composed of over forty different tribes and a large Christian majority and a strong Muslim minority (10%), has had neither conflicts nor secessionist movements.

Third, Kenya is an exceptionally tolerant society. As in many other countries of East Africa, Kenya has a successful merchant Indian minority. Unlike the violent discrimination against the Indian minority that characterized Idi Amin’s brutal regime in Uganda, Indians in Kenya comprise an economically prosperous community. This is also true of the local European (mainly British) population.

Fourth, Kenya’s integration within the global economy is also facilitated by a well functioning and successful education system. Male literacy is 90%, a high for any nation, especially one as poor as Kenya. Although female literacy is at 80% – a gender disparity that needs to be addressed – it compares favourably to most developing countries.

More recently, Kenya has seen the development of a garment industry and the creation of export processing zones, spearheaded by the Clinton administration’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). As mentioned, horticultural is very successful, as is tea, in spite of the competition from Vietnam. Other sectors, notably sugar and coffee, have suffered from mismanagement and excessive government intervention. Kenya is a major “exporter” of nurses, doctors, and teachers, who are an important source of remittances. At the macro level, Kenya has been able to limit inflation to an average annual rate of 2.5% in the last decade.


Kenya’s growth potential cannot be ignored by foreign investors. Opportunity for high returns aside, enlightened self-interest should encourage western investors. Rich country markets are not only mature, but also their populations are declining. Between now and 2050, the total population of the European continent will decrease by about 100 million; Africa’s population over the same period will double from its current 800 million to a projected 1.7 billion. The rich countries may be where current profits are, but growth and future profits will depend on reaching out to the growing markets of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This will help Kenya move beyond supplying flowers to the West – and make globalisation a win-win proposition.

Jean-Pierre Lehmann is Professor of International Political Economy at IMD, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Founding Director of The Evian Group.


The effects of globalization on culture in Africa in the eyes of an African woman

01 January 1998

Culture is never static. It is dynamic. Every moment we are being transformed, always growing – like the cells in our bodies. It changes exactly the same way as human beings change. We cannot romanticise our culture. Our grandfathers did not walk on the same top soil as we do and our children will have different soil. I would never dare tell my mother where to place the flower pot in the living room. Today my daughter can easily change the position of the flower pot in our living room even without consulting me. This transformation is so gradual and not sudden or abrupt. Culture is a continuous process of change but in spite of the change, culture continues giving a community a sense of identity, dignity, continuity, security and binds society together.

The effect globalization has had on culture is immense and diverse. It has affected people’s cultural behaviours in different ways. People have had to change their living ways. The loud echoing advertisement rhythms of the famous Coca-Cola drinks can be heard across boundaries in towns, cities and townships and even in remote rural areas where drinking water is a problem to get. Globalization in Africa involves one fundamental project: that of opening up the economies of all countries freely and widely to the global market and its forces.

The demands of globalization
To this end, it is demanded that, whatever the nature of their economies, their level of development, and whatever their location in the global economy, all countries must pursue a common set of economic policies. In particular, they must permit the free and indiscriminate operation of transnational corporations in their economies: open their economies freely and indiscriminately to imports and concentrate on exporting what they are supposed to be good at; reduce the role of governments in the economy to that of supporting the market and private enterprise; and leave the determination of prices of goods, currencies, labour, as well as the allocation of resources to the operation of the market. Seen in this way, globalisztion is primarily not an impersonal process driven by laws and factors of development – such as technology – operating outside human control and agency. Rather it is a conscious programme of reconstructing international economic and political relations in line with a particular set of interests (the profit motivations of the businesses, especially the transnational corporations of the advanced industrial countries) and vision (the dogma of the primacy of the free market and of private enterprise in all processes of human development).For Africa, all the central planks of the process of globalization have been implemented over the past decade-and-a-half as structural adjustment programmes. Countries have deregulated foreign investment, liberalised their imports, removed currency controls, emasculated the direct economic role of the state, and so on. The results have been to further undermine the internal, national productive capacity, social security and democratic integrity of these countries. So that is basically how globalization has impacted on Africa.

In Africa, women have mostly been involved in farming, in employment as civil servants, and in industry. They have also been involved in small-scale entrepreneurships. No doubt, these sectors have been severely affected by the introduction of trade liberalization. Women on this continent contribute the most critical factor in agricultural production and agriculture. Yet liberalization has failed to ensure the availability of credit, agricultural inputs such as fertilisers and insecticides at affordable prices. The marketing of their produce has been thrown in the hands of businessmen whose sole objective is profit maximisation. The result – food security in Africa is highly threatened. Women constitute 60% percent of the communal farmers in Zimbabwe. In rural areas the impact has been so serious that rural urban migration has increased to unfortunate proportions. This in turn has led to the increase of squatters in urban areas and crime which affects mostly women and children.

In Zimbabwe, some women have resorted to cross-border trade. This has had its own social and cultural repercussions. Children in this case are left out of parental care and the number of rape cases on young children has become an alarming cause of concern. In Zimbabwe alone, there is an average of four reported cases of rape every day. In other cases there have been reports of married women getting involved in extra-marital affairs once they cross the border while the spouses they have left behind indulge in the same, complicating and worsening the AIDS pandemic situation. Children no longer sit around the fireplace in the evening to listen to stories that promote the values of respect, integrity, peace, love and unity, even in the rural areas where this sort of environment would fit best. People – men, women and children – are all engrossed and embroiled in the struggle for survival – the struggle to get a bowl of mealie-meal to fill the tummy at least for the day.

In the township where I stay, children as young as six years can be seen selling oranges, tomatoes and other basic foodstuffs as late as 8.00 pm. During my grandmothers’ generation, most African communities had a strong policy on food security. If you walk through my village, you will find a silos in each family compound. Today, most of these are empty – people have been forced into a situation where they are living from hand to mouth. Even the middle-class working elite have run into a habit of borrowing their salaries/wages even before they receive them. There is so much to spend on!

But the amazing issue is that of ignorance. Even the rich and well-to-do have no clue about the system that has invaded the African continent. Or even if they are aware, they have either chosen to overlook the overall implication or have decided that they are also benefactors of the system. The sale of a shirt made outside Zimbabwe is more certain than a locally manufactured one. “Import” is the in term. Ladies who wear perfume from Paris and shoes from Italy tend to receive more respect than those wearing a locally manufactured brand. Children in rich families are too busy involved in video games, international schools that offer English and other “international” languages, television and movies whose content is 90% from outside the country.

Song and dance has become characterised with themes of AIDS, orphans, suffering, drought and war. These have been neutralised with the western beats of Michael Jackson et al. The youth prefer the western beats to the local artists and hair styles, shoes and clothing keep to the trends on the western fashion scene.

Those who are slow are left behind and everyone seems to be in such a big rush not to remain behind. Women’s economic activities have therefore been highly affected by globalization. In Malawi, whereas before rice was produced in Malawi and sold in most Southern African countries, rice is now brought in from Asia and sold at much cheaper prices than the locally produced one. The production of the local one is therefore forced to stop. Women are very concerned about the impact of economic structural adjustment programmes on their human rights. It is not just a question of economics, it is the whole issue of human dignity. Dignity is inherent in the fact of being a human being. With this, we have also witnessed tremendous changes in the global economy and in the political climate that contextualises it. The current neoliberal model has resulted in the introduction of policies aimed at eliminating all obstacles to the “free” exercise of economic activity across boundaries including trade liberalisation, the deregulation of production, the labour market and the market of goods and services and the implementation of regional and international agreements.

Data gathered from research in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Latin America on the impact of structural adjustment programmes on women indicate that:

  • an increasing number of women look for income-generating work outside the home to compensate for the husband’s loss of job, less steady income and/or sharp fall in family purchasing power;
  • more women than men may become unemployed;
  • working conditions for women deteriorate;
  • wage differentials between men and women grow;
  • as the formal sector of employment diminishes, more women enter the informal sector;
  • women do not experience increasing employment as a result of export promotion of manufactured goods;
  • export cropping often does not benefit in terms of paid work, better economic status, or bargaining power within the household;
  • women’s unpaid work escalates with structural adjustment cutbacks in social services, higher prices for basic necessities, unemployment and job insecurity;
  • progress in girls’ education slows as women’s unpaid work becomes heavier and mothers ask them to assist in the home;
  • food consumption diminishes as a result of rising food prices and changing agriculture policies;
  • girls’ health and mortality rates worsen as a result of the above;
  • women’s reliance on credit places them under greater pressure by creditors to pay back debts;
  • an increased number of women are heads of household; and
  • many women lose the support of the extended family as families become nuclear.** Pamela Sparr, editor (1994). Mortgaging Women’s Lives. London and New Jersey: Zed Books Ltd.: 20-29.

Before the advancement of free economic activity on the national, regional and global levels, most of the African economies were heavily regulated by the state. Under this system, they introduced such import and export restrictive business practices as import and export licencing, increased import duties, taxes or levies on import transactions, allocation of foreign exchange to essential goods, import and export quotas and other prohibitions. This forced the creation of local and locally manufactured goods produced from local materials. Self-reliance was encouraged. However, this has now been replaced by donor-driven deregulation, economic liberalisation and privatisation of the national economic activities. The argument has been that this new policy will bring about faster export and economic growth, which will enable developing countries to repay the mounting external debt burden accumulated since the independence of these countries.
It is unfortunate that the “globalization theory” assumes that all players, men and women, rich and poor, will be affected equally. Furthermore, it also assumes that international trade opportunities open up equally to small scale firms, infant industries and the giant transnational corporations and cartels.

However the seven years of globalization indicate otherwise because international trade is also to do with people’s livelihoods and their most basic social and economic rights. For millions of Africa’s poorest people, trade is part of daily life, and a crucial determinant of welfare. When a people’s social and economic rights and patterns are affected, their culture is overall affected too. Trade which is built on the unacceptable levels of social inequities to vulnerable communities and groups, or causes global ecological or environmental damage and disregards our obligations to future generations is not conducive to sustainable development.

Established and large companies such as TNCs came in and brought in their finished goods at much cheaper prices than those of our own manufacturers, thus forcing many local industries to close down. In Zimbabwe, the clothing sector was hardest hit with the closure of the local Cone Textiles, which retrenched hundreds of workers. These workers were family breadwinners with children in schools and houses to pay rent for. Because of the tight labour market, most of them are frustrated and disillusioned with no work and money. The importation and cheap selling of second-hand clothes from Europe has forced many women out of their businesses. In Kenya, the women who were involved in the manufacturing of the famous “kiondos” (sisal bags) were negatively affected when the sisal bags were produced en masse in Japan and sold in East Africa and the surrounding countries at low prices.

In Mali, foreign investors were able to take over the major revenue enterprises such as tobacco and textile industries, not to mention the only national airline. In Cameroon, banks, agricultural ventures and the national airlines were taken over by foreign investors. The African market has become the dumping ground for all kinds of goods from developed countries and from the East, all in the name of free trade. In Zambia, the spirits, motor and textile industries are almost dead. In Tanzania the leather and textile industries have almost collapsed.

Massive unemployment is a common phenomenon in Africa. In Zambia for example, retrenchments and liquidations have led a staggering number of over 200,000 people out of employment over a period of five years since 1992. Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and other African countries are not different. This has had a direct impact on Africa’s cultural traits.

In many countries, it has always been the responsibility of the man to go out and fend and provide for his family. This has changed. Men and women both leave home in search of the available labour. In fact, in cases where there are massive retrenchments, you now find men at home while the woman goes to work. This has hence affected the household responsibilities, where you find change of roles when a man has to wash and look after the children. In cases where the man goes to work, the woman is forced to become involved in supplementary activities such as sewing, selling vegetables and knitting to complement her husband’s salary. In these countries, women have suffered disproportionately from the impact of globalization. There are very many men who have been retrenched too, but when you look at the statistics you can see the difference. A company in Lesotho, for instance, was required to lay off 50% of its work force, and it ended laying off all the women workers. Under ESAP, states are required to reduce public spending. The immediately affected areas are health and education. In most of our African societies, it is the responsibility of the women to take care of the health not only of themselves, but also of the children in the home.

Many girls have dropped out of school because their families cannot afford to pay all the school fees. Zimbabwe has not yet seen the extent to which this can go, but people from Ghana or Uganda who have lived under SAPs for many years and whose countries have been quoted by the World Bank as “success stories” will tell you of the majority of a whole generation who have not gone to school – the majority of whom are women. In Africa, there is a limit to your capacity to enjoy your rights if you have not gone to school. It means that you may not get a job and therefore your economic rights (which are basic human rights) are affected. The first challenge facing women today is education. Education must empower women with knowledge of their rights and how to seek redress should such rights be violated.

In conclusion, the North must revise its conception of development. Economic growth without social and cultural justice cannot be our idea of development. It is imperative that development is measured in terms of the quality of human life, which can be reflected in, for example, better education, health and life expectancy for every single member of society. This is only possible if men and women are equally empowered, in theory and in practice. And the North has a crucial role to play in this process. Anything that falls short of restoring peoples’ dignity, sense of identity, continuity and security should never be accepted. Africa needs to learn to respect the dissenting voice of its own people. And at the same time, the North needs to take heed to the saying of the African people “Shonyala okhumanya inzu yowasio tawe”.

* ECHOES is an occasional publication of the WCC Justice, Peace, Creation team

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