Over the past few weeks I have explored the theme of current development and today I wish to draw on my findings to present my vision of what development in 2043 will be. I will focus on the shifting roles of aid and NGOs, as I believe these will be the most meaningful changes. I will also link this to the theory of a ‘global village’, which I believe will be the most significant change to the world. I will use examples within Africa to make my points.
I have come to believe trade to be the future in Africa after reading the works of Dambisa Moyo. Moyo argues that ‘No country has ever achieved economic success by depending on aid to the degree that many African countries do’ (Moyo, 2009, p5.). With poverty in Africa having almost doubled between 1981 and 2002 and 70% of governmental spending in Africa coming from foreign aid (Moyo, 2008), I feel this statement to be proven correct. Moyo also offers an alternate way forward, trade. She prompts the examples of emerging SE Asian nations to show the success of trade, and furthermore, the work of Robert Rotberg also indicates how SE Asian countries such as China may become key trading links for African nations. For example, Chinese oil companies have moved into Sudan after western companies left the area due to concerns over human rights (Rotberg, 2009). I therefore believe that because Africa holds numerous valuable resources, it could become a strong trading and if so, links with SE Asia will be key. In fact, the only issue with this theory, which leads me to my next point, is the possibility that other nations will not allow fair trade and use Africa’s economic vulnerability as an opportunity to pillage the continent.
This, I believe, is where a change in the role of NGOs will come in, and rather than providing donations and charity, they will be of value in representing less powerful groups in struggles for fair trade and treatment. This is an idea stressed by Issa Shivji, who states that NGOs will ‘only truly play the role of catalyst of change’ if they incorporate ‘activist discourse’ in the future (Shivji, 2007, p. 47). This is because with less need for aid donations due to the growth of trade, the more prominent issue in development will be negotiating fair trade. However, Shivji also mentions that large NGOs like NEPAD may also be guilty of forming a ‘feudo-imperial partnership’ (Shivji, 2007, p.46) through which they tie the continent into making trades with their representative countries. Hence, I believe that the states of Africa will attempt to recover their sovereignty in the future, and NGO involvement in development in general will also be reduced.
With trade flows growing exponentially by 2043, I expect Massey’s phenomenon of the ‘global village’ to be fully in play. By this, I mean that through the process of globalization, the world will be transforming into one globalized local, with the same cultural identities seen throughout. Evidence of this already occurring is Johannesburg, where the city’s major languages include English, Gujarati and Urdu (Segbers et al. , 2007). However, I think that culture loss will be more significant in rural areas, where long-standing traditions may be lost, for example agricultural practices that are replaced with machinery, and local foods replaced with imported ones. To me this represents a negative to development in 2043 in the form of cultural loss.
My vision of development in 2043 is one that is dominated by trade. Trade will replace aid in Africa, with SE Asia as the main correspondent. Due to this change, NGOs will also adapt, focusing on advocating the rights of less powerful countries rather than supplying aid donations, although NGO involvement in development will decline overall as nations become wary of illegitimate organizations. Finally, the increase in trade will mean the accelerated expansion of the ‘global village’ and hence I believe the most visible change to the world in 2043 will be the loss of culture.
Massey, D. (1992) Power Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Space’ in Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, ed. Jon Bird et al. London
Moyo, D. (2009) Why foreign aid is hurting Africa Wall Street Journal
Rotberg, R. I. (2009) China into Africa: Trade, Aid and Influence World Peace Foundation: Massachusetts
Segbers, K. Raiser, S. and Volkmann, K (2007) The Making of Global City Regions: Johannesburg, Mumbai/Bombay, Sao Paulo and Shanghai John Hopkins University Press: Maryland
Shivji, I. G. (2007) Silences in NGOs discourses: The role and future of NGOs in Africa: Oxford and Nairobi