Friday, November 24, 2006

Globalization and African Trade by Akindele Akinyemi


Brothers and sisters in Detroit it's time that we joined in with the rest of the modern world. Blacks in Detroit are living on an island to themselves and we are cut off from the rest of what the world has to offer.

Globalization is the key to competition in today's world. We need to understand that the world has been getting freer, fairer, more open, and richer. Global inequality has declined. India and China have lifted millions of people out of poverty. Once desperately poor countries in South East Asia are now economic world leaders.

Competing globally in academics is also critical to the advancement of civilization in America. Especially in the urban community.

However, Africa still is behind the times. It still is a continent mired in poverty. Africa'’s share of world trade has declined from 6% 25 years ago to less than 2% now. Take out South Africa, and it's just 0.6%.

How can brothers and sisters here in Detroit and other urban communities in Michigan pitch in and help out? Have we begin to discuss OUR version of a Pan African Trade System?

Why a Pan African Trade System? Because we need to understand how
trade brings so many benefits. It facilitates voluntary co-operation between people all over the world, and increases the range of goods available to people. It allows countries to produce the most efficiently, thus leading to greater poverty reduction and wealth creation. And it is blind to race, creed or religion.

Some believe that poor people should be free to trade with each other, and they should be free to buy and sell from us in the West. If people want to buy cheaper goods from abroad, and spend the money they save on food or medicines, they should be free to do so. Saving a few cents when buying a bag of rice makes little difference to you or me, or to the rich elite in poor countries. But to a poor family it could make the difference between eating at night, or going without.

The world has lifted more people out of poverty in the past fifty years that at any point in human history – but Africa is the continent that is being left behind. The lack of intra-African trade is missed opportunity. Africa's barriers are seriously undermining the continent'’s prospects for development. They are preventing specialization between African nations, hindering productivity growth, and clogging up Africa'’s wealth creation engine.

Also, informal trade barriers must be tackled or else millions of poor Africans will to have no option but to continue pay over the odds for essentials and to remain shackled in poverty. And Africa continues to suffer from chronically weak infrastructure. Increased trade between countries creates a demand for better roads, something Africa desperately needs, and provides the wealth to build and maintain them.

Now is the time to educate our young adults who are entrepreneurs how removing these informal trade barriers within countries are just as important as the formal trade barriers between countries.

This is where we here can jump on board with trading with our brothers and sisters on the continent. We should be taking the initiative on this and NOT relying on the Congressional Black Caucus to do this for us.

The Jewish community has AIPAC to fight and protect the interest of Israel. They are considered to be one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. They even have several members of the Congressional Black Caucus fighting on their behalf including Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. Congresswoman Kilpatrick has been to Africa several times (Nigeria in particular). However, she (or ANY member of the CBC) has never initiated or ASKED someone to initiate a Nigerian PAC or 527 to serve the best interest of Nigerian-Americans and Nigerians when it came to opening the market for free trade.

We need more than just Trans-Africa to compete in a global market. It would be good to globalize education by designing management companies to have African-Centered operating schools in both Accra, Ghana and Detroit, Michigan or telecommunication schools with an emphasis on accounting in Lagos, Nigeria and Ypsilanti, MI. Management company owned and operated by us, creating an atmosphere of globalization for our children to compete and even exchanging students once a year. We can do this. All we have to say is less government, more faith and building confidence within our community.

We have the power to overcome obstacles. Let's move in this direction if we want to compete globally.

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