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Berlin, Davos to Boao, where is Africa in Globalization!

Mr. Ofwono Opondo
April, 25, 18 
When World War 2 ended in 1945, the victors, US, Britain, France and Russia, established the United Nations (UN) to safeguard against future wars among nations. It replaced the League of Nations, which came after World War 1 truce. Just ending wars wasn’t enough, they argued, and hence the Bretton Woods institutions-International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a.k.a. World Bank, and International Monetary Fund established to generate policies and funds to spur global reconstruction, development, security and peace. The Berlin Conference had already parceled Africa to European powers as source of cheap labour, raw materials, and market, which continues to-date.
Seventy-three years today, indeed, the West, and part of Asia that were ravaged by wars have not only recovered, but witnessed exponential transformation in science and technology, which in turn engendered high productivity, greater incomes, GDPs, quality of life and life expectancy, prosperity, and eliminated poverty. Indeed, there haven’t been major wars among nations except proxy wars, and aggression sponsored mainly by the US and its European allies
On the back of Japan rose the “Four Asian Tigers” of South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, to which Malaysia, Indonesia, India and China have been added, hence Asia, emerging into a global economic powerhouse, overtaking hegemonic Europe combined. The UN, Britton woods institutions, and Paris Club have all passed without Africa, especially sub-Saharan region getting transformed. The first Eden of Man remains squalid and following international rules on governance, economics, investments, and trade written and dictated by the powerful. 
For Africa, after the dismal performance of the above consortium, recently the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, has gained currency where the rich club, again gather annually, and occasionally some African leaders are invited mainly for public relations. But it’s ironic, that as globalization gathers pace, it’s facing hostility from Washington and some of its allies where it all originated because free and open trade, is costing them their jobs at home and way of life. Policymakers in these countries are fearful either because they no longer believe in the arguments they vigorously expounded or are simply courting votes. 
It therefore comes as a surprise, that, China once closed and isolated, early this month convened in its port city of Boao, Hainan province an Asian economic conference dubbed "Openness for Greater Prosperity, and Innovation for a Better Future." At the conference, President Xi Jinping, announced a raft of measures, urging all countries to “conform to the trend of the times,” and make globalization a shared prosperity for all mankind.
Xi Jinping’s four measures included positive and quick reviews on tariffs and imports, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection, attractive investment environment, market access, and the Belt and Road Initiative to boost infrastructural and digital connectivity in order to spur growth especially with developing countries. IPR protection has been a grey area and point of counter-accusations between the West and China. In Africa, Chinese investors are being accused of dumping inferior goods, and flooding its workforce even where manpower could be locally available, yet Africans are not permitted to open up shops and buy property including land in China.   
President Xi promised to strengthen protection of IPR by raising the penalty to offenders, fully unlock the relevant laws, and encourage normal technological transfers in order to enhance competitiveness. It’s now President Xi promising to improve the climate for foreign penetration and investment in China, while the west seem to be closing out. President Xi said that China will complete the revision of the negative codes on foreign investment across board by end of 2018, likening investment climate to fresh to air which attract life from the outside.”
President Xi also promised to “enhance alignment with international economic and trading rules, increase transparency, uphold the rule of law, encourage competition and oppose monopoly," which Africa eagerly awaits. It was tickling to ears when President Xi asked the powerful and rich nations to embrace the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits as one sure way of enhancing cooperation and resolve differences. 
Again, one hopes that people in the West will reject the rising voices of isolationism, trade protectionism and economic chauvinism, seeking to bully their trading partners into making concessions by wielding the big stick of punitive tariffs or political actions because it offends the rules-based multilateral trading system previously championed by Washington and its EU allies.
 
Those who now rant against globalization should know that they remain its biggest beneficiaries. The rich countries boast the largest number of the biggest multinational corporations (MNCs), like Apple, McDonald's, IKEA, and Coca Cola among others. These MNCs have operations overseas, where costs are lower allowing them to rake huge profits that they remit back the lion's share, leaving the assembly line workers in developing countries with mere crumbs. It is most unlikely that African countries will actually partake in the immediate future in investments that China recently announced in easing restrictions in foreign equity caps in the banking, securities, insurance, and automobile industries.