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Effect of Globalisation on Developing Countries

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: International Studies
Wordcount: 2076 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Globalization: The Whole Story

Globalization is a concept that is believed to be the perpetrator of the lack of economic success in Africa. The material presented and assigned in class only gives half of the story, excluding the benefits of globalization for Africa and her people. Understanding the effects of participating in the world economy, one needs to assess the true causes of the development crisis, how current Africans are taking advantage of globalization, and actually, provide solutions to facilitate economic growth rather than blame external forces.

Development Crisis

Africa and more specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa, houses most of the least developed countries with a GNP per capita of $650 along with declining growth rates within the last ten years as of 1998. Africa lags behind other developing countries such as India and China due to an education gap, lack of infrastructure and the economic structure of many of the continent’s countries.

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Education is one of the most pivotal components in reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth. According to an analysis by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, 22% of African children have never attended school or left before completing. The lack of education is more disheartening in Sub-Saharan Africa with one in five children are out of school. However, with an increase in literacy rates over the past few decades, still there are about 40% of Africans over the age of 15, and 50% of women above the age of 25 are illiterate (OTB Africa).

Developing Africa’s infrastructure is another key enabler for sustainable economic growth. 53% of all roads are unpaved, isolating people from basic necessities such as health care, education, and economic opportunity with less than half of the African’s rural population having access to an all-year-round road. Although with rapid urbanization, housing is still unaffordable for many Africans. With the world economy and job industry moving towards a more technological basis, farming is the primary source of income for 60% of Africans.

 In conclusion, African’s lack of economic development does not stem from its colonial background granted it does play a role, but Africa cannot use it as a crutch. Other colonial countries such as India who have adopted globalization have seen positive impacts on their economies. By allowing foreign firms to establish businesses, the number of Indians in the workforce will increase by 80 million within the next ten years (Economist 2010).

A Success Story

 To be fair, globalization does not provide only benefits even the United States is harmed by globalization in that manufacturing jobs are now predominately oversees hurting some American workers. But America’s economy as a whole reaps far greater benefits than what is lost; the same applies to Africa.

The benefits of globalization have been missed by most Africans, even if the effects can be seen all around them through the media, the Internet and their interactions with their relatives who have emigrated to other countries in search of better lives,

says J. Kofi Bucknor, a corporate financial consultant based in Accra, Ghana. Bucknor along with other Africans have used globalization to their advantage. Bucknor specifically, has used the lower costs of cell phones and the internet in Ghana—in comparison to a more developed country—to build his firm. Ignored by many Western investors allows Africans such as Bucknor to take advantage of untapped opportunities. By Africans investors and businessmen utilizing the technology and benefits of foreign innovation, Africa can build a sustainable economy.


Although Africa has been previously exploited, the current economic troubles are not solely stemmed from their colonial past. Education, innovation, ambitious entrepreneurs and putting jobs in the hands of the people are essential for the grow and sustainability of an economy. Globalization is a phenomenon that allows rapid growth for each of these categories. This will allow Africans such as Bucknor to capitalize on foreign innovation to building their own business. By shifting the workforce from agriculture to manufacturing, creates more jobs and opportunities all while improving the standard of living which will then translate into improving infrastructure and society as a whole. In understanding the benefits of participating in the global economy, outweighs the repercussions of globalization and certainly trumps the economic policy of isolation which many African countries have adopted. African integration is the answer to improve the daily lives of Africans, both foreign and domestic governments are responsible for the investment in Africa’s future.

Fact or Myth: Looking at Common Generalizations About Africa

Africa has been portrayed as a continent plagued by disease, corrupt government and dying malnourished people. Granted, these are very extreme assumptions to say that this is the general narrative of all of Africa and in particular, Sub-Sahara Africa. Stereotypes stem from truth but on a hyperbolic scale. The American media has portrayed and led many Americans to believe that the continent is: there is a lack of technology and urbanization along with disease running rampant throughout African communities. It is unfair and simply untrue to say that all of Africa and all Africans are experiencing these issues and common misconceptions, but how much of this is true?

Lagging Behind in Technology

 A common misconception about the continent is that Africans are behind in technological advancements in comparison to the rest of the world. According to the ‘Digital in 2018’ report, more than half of the world’s population is online with the most recent data showing that in 2017, there were a quarter of a billion first time internet users. This year’s growth is largely attributed by the increase in cheaper smartphones and mobile data plans. In comparison, Africa too has seen an increase in internet users by more than 20%. Places such as Benin, Niger and Mozambique have more than doubled the amount of internet users in the past year as well. According to The Guardian, mobile data usage is expected to increase by 20-fold within the next five years. Even Somalia, Eastern Africa’s poorest country, is increasing its mobile user subscription through competition and privately-owned companies. According to the World Development Report in 2016, Somalia is performing better than many of its wealthier neighbors that have state-owned and monopoly operations. Overall with the declining prices on smartphones and data plans, middle-class Africans to the people who live in the remote rural areas have growing accessibility to the internet and all of its services.


 Another misconception is that most Africans live in grass-roofed huts in little villages, but according to the 2017 Drivers of Migration and Urbanization in Africa report, more than half of the population living in urban areas. With an annual growing rate of 65 million urban civilians, this number is estimated to increase to 75% by 2050. Sub-Sharan Africa is known to be the world’s fastest urbanizing region with currently 472 million people and is projected to double within the next twenty-five years. Urban centers help combat poverty, create sustainable economic growth and are often “considered the future of prosperity” (CSIS) for developing countries. In conclusion, there are parts of Africa that reflect the painted image of huts and villages, but to say this is Africa in its entirety is false. Africa is making great strides towards growing its urban centers consequentially better lives for her people.


 The last and possibly the most infamous generalization about Africa is that of disease. The continent is quite famous for fatal health epidemics such as Eboli and HIV/AIDS that run rampant through African communities. According to the World Health Organization, Africa does have a health crisis. The Health of the People is a report by the World Health Organization that focuses on the health of 738 million people in Africa. The report provides an analysis of specific public health issues along with the progress that has been made. According to the WHO’s report, more than 90% of the estimated 300-500 million yearly worldwide cases are in Africans. Children under the age of five are the ones who are most susceptible, but thankfully many countries are improving treatment policies. Thirty-three out of the forty-two malaria-endemic countries in the African Region are using the artemisinin-based combination therapy as the primary treatment. River blindness and guinea worm have also been public health issues, but there has been a 97% reduction in cases since 1986 with leprosy close to elimination. Governments are making progress in preventable childhood illnesses such as polio and the measles with large increases in vaccinations. In 2005, seventy-five million children received measles vaccines.

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 According to a WHO report in 2015—with 9.2 million deaths from various causes—the top five leading causes of death in order were: lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS, stroke, ischaemic heart disease, and diarrhoeal diseases. After the top five leading causes of death, tuberculosis, malaria and preterm birth complications follow. There is a growing shift towards more traditional causes of death associated with developed countries as urbanization and with the increase of access to medical care persists. Overall, Africa is still fighting third-world diseases, but is making a progress in reducing these preventable diseases.


 In looking at the facts, these common generalizations have some truth, but to say that all of Africa is underdeveloped or all Africans are dying of AIDS is false and misleading. Africa is making technological strides in putting phones into the hands of many Africans both in and outside of cities. Africa is also combatting poverty with the increasing development of urban centers. Although the stereotype that doesn’t deter from the truth is that of disease. Africa is still having a health crisis with preventable third world diseases, but many nations are making headway in fighting against these medical issues with better treatments and health programs. 

Works Cited

  • Aperian Global. (2015). Debunking Common Myths About Africa – Aperian Global.
  • Wharton University of Pennsylvania. (2015). How Globalization Works – and Doesn’t Work – in Africa – Knowledge@Wharton.
  • Jansen van Vuuren, P. (2017). FACTSHEET: Africa’s leading causes of death | Africa Check. Africa Check.
  • Kasyoka, M. (2018). 5 Reasons Africans Are Lagging Behind In Innovating Mobile Technology. Otbafrica.com.
  • Li, E. (2015). The Benefits of Globalization on the Economy of India. LinkedIn.
  • Mumbere, D. (2018). Digital in 2018: Africa’s internet users increase by 20% | Africanews. Africanews.
  • Petersen, D. (2017). The Mixed Blessings of Globalization in Africa – GED Blog. GED Blog.
  • Saghir, J. and Santoro, J. (2018). Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Csis.org.
  • Signé, L. (2018). How Africa Is Bucking the Isolationist Trend. Foreign Affairs.
  • Smith, D. (2018). Internet use on mobile phones in Africa predicted to increase 20-fold. the Guardian.
  • World Health Organization. (2018). The African Regional Health Report: The Health of the People.
  • World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. (2016).


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