Globalization: The Key to Development

Globalization describes a process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of communication, transportation, and trade. The term is often times mistaken as a purely economic concept. There are other aspects/sub-processes which are existent and equally as beneficial as the economic aspect.
Several definitions have been proposed for this dynamic concept, only a few encapsulate it thoroughly and give a clear picture of the concept. Of these many definitions, only two definitions would be considered in an attempt to sufficiently explain the concept of globalization;
“The diminution or elimination of state-enforced restrictions on exchanges across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has emerged as a result.” And
“To become international or start operating at the international level, or cause something, especially a business or company, to become international for the purpose of development.”

John Maynard Keynes in August 1914 declared, “The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea, the various products of the whole earth, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep.”
Globalization has evolved from its initial position as mere trade links in the third millennium BC to its present position where several other aspects such as; industrial, financial, economic, political, cultural and ethical have manifested. The importance of globalization is invaluable, thus its inclusion in foreign policies of many developed and developing countries.            
Opinions about globalization are varied based on the several aspects, but its inclusion as one of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) as “Develop a global partnership for development” has gone a long way in increasing awareness, importance and various effects of globalization. Some of the aspects of Globalization include, but are not limited to;
i.    Financial
ii.    Economic
iii.    Health Policy
iv.    Political
v.    Information
vi.    Ecology
vii.    Cultural
viii.    Social
ix.    Technical
x.    Religious
xi.    Sporting events
xii.    Language.

•    Financial- the importance of the financial aspect of globalization is felt daily and cannot be exhaustively accentuated. The emergence of worldwide financial markets and better access to external financing for borrowers are advantageous to developing countries (nations). Financial borrowing from has been encouraged by the World Bank which provides leveraged loans to developing nations based on certain criteria on the development of education, eradication of poverty, reduce of child mortality, improvement of maternal health and other factors which would lead to development and a more stable global partnership. This would lead to the elevation from developing country status to a more prestigious status.

•    Economic- globalization has availed nations with different statuses (Developed and Developing) the opportunity to have a common market, based on the freedom of exchange of goods and capital. This aspect affords foreign investors the chance to invest in developing countries. Economic globalization can be measured by four key indicators;
o    Goods and services, e.g., exports plus imports as a proportion of national income or per capita of population
o    Labor/people, e.g., net migration rates; inward or outward migration flows, weighted by population
o    Capital, e.g., inward or outward direct investment as a proportion of national income or per head of population
o    Technology, e.g., international research & development flows; proportion of populations (and rates of change thereof) using particular inventions (especially ‘factor-neutral’ technological advances such as the telephone, motorcar, broadband)

•    Health Policy- On the global scale, health becomes a commodity. In developing nations under the demands of Structural Adjustment Programs, health systems are fragmented and privatized. Global health policy makers have shifted during the 1990s from United Nations players to financial institutions. The result of this power transition is an increase in privatization in the health sector. This privatization fragments health policy by crowding it with many players with many private interests. These fragmented policy players emphasize partnerships and specific interventions to combat specific problems (as opposed to comprehensive health strategies). Influenced by global trade and global economy, health policy is directed by technological advances and innovative medical trade. Global priorities, in this situation, are sometimes at odds with national priorities where increased health infrastructure and basic primary care are of more value to the public than privatized care for the wealthy.

•    Political- political globalization has lead to the creation of “regional governments” such as ECOWAS, Arab League and other regional organizations that have improved the political, economic, social and industrial potency of member nations. ECOWAS for example, was founded to achieve "collective self-sufficiency" for the member states by means of economic and monetary union creating a single large trading bloc. ECOWAS has so far been effective in developing member states by the creation of ECOWAS Bank of Investment and Development in 2001.

•    Information- with the introduction of globalization, information flow has increased between geographically remote locations. The advent of sophisticated communication technologies such as internet, mobile phones and television has made communication easier. These technologies are responsible for ease of global trade.

•    Ecology- the advent of global environmental challenges that might be solved with international cooperation, such as climate change, cross-boundary water and air pollution, over-fishing of the ocean, and the spread of invasive species.

•    Technical- Development of a Global Information System, global telecommunications infrastructure and greater trans-border data flow, using such technologies as the Internet, communication satellites, submarine fiber optic cable, and wireless telephones. Increase in the number of standards applied globally; e.g., copyright laws, patents and world trade agreements.

•    Religious- The spread and increased interrelations of various religious groups, ideas, and practices and their ideas of the meanings and values of particular spaces.

•    Worldwide sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup which recently took place in South Africa has helped the country rake in profits from ticket sales, transportation and hotel fees. South Africa also gained more useful infrastructure which have boosted development, more jobs have been provided for the unemployed in the society. Also, incorporation of multinational corporations such as Nike have set up youth academies and other structures that would aid development. Although, many of these worldwide sporting events have been seen as entertainment in the past, many citizens around the world are now aware of the immense financial, economic and infrastructural benefits that can be realized from hosting such events.

•    Industrial-with the advent of globalization there has been the emergence of worldwide production markets and broader access to a range of foreign products for consumers and companies. Particularly movement of material and goods between and within national boundaries. International trade in manufactured goods has increased in several folds(percentages)  over the past fifty(50)years between many African countries and China in particular.

•    Language- with globalization has come the craving for unity in language for several purposes; business and other economic activities. Research has shown that Mandarin is the most spoken language with 845million speaker followed by Spanish with 329million speakers and English with 328million speakers. However the most popular second language is undoubtedly English. At this juncture it is imperative to point out that English is the lingua franca of globalization based on the following stats:

o    About 35% of the world’s mail, telexes, and cables are in English.
o    Approximately 40% of the world’s radio programs are in English.
o    About 50% of all Internet traffic uses English.

Undoubtedly, the development of global trade agreement between developed nations and developing nations accrues many benefits for both sides, these include;
i.    Free and fair trade between countries is encouraged. This helps developing countries by providing them with a steady market to advertise and sell products.
ii.    Increased liquidity of capital allowing investors in developed nations to invest in developing nations.
iii.    Corporations have greater flexibility to operate across borders
iv.    Reduction in tariffs and other fees. Due to the trade agreements present between partners, there is a concession given on each good or service rendered.
v.    Goods and people are transported with more ease and speed as a result of the partnership.
vi.    Global mass media connects all the people in the world easily for different purposes. For example, the advent of the Internet enables a trader from Nigeria to communicate and purchase good/products from a manufacturer of an important commodity that is not readily available in Nigeria from another country, this goes a long way in reducing miscellaneous cost of travelling to the producing country.
vii.    Reduction of cultural barriers increases the global village effect.
viii.    Greater interdependence of nation-states.
ix.    Increases in environmental protection in developed nations.
x.    Enhances civil liberties and leads to a more efficient allocation of resources.
xi.    Globalization leads to lower prices, more employment, higher output and a higher standard of living for those in developing countries.
xii.    Environmental protection in developed countries increases

Although these very attractive advantages/benefits are associated with globalization, a number of developing countries such as Haiti, Myanmar, the Central African Republic and Burundi rank as the least globalized countries in the world.

The above mentioned proofs to all and sundry that globalization is the key to development as it makes virtually everything easy and accessible through well laid down communication systems and ease of trade through mutually benefitting agreements.