A Prosperous Covenant Nation discipling Nations in the ways of God

Week 7 (30th September – 7th October 2017): Justice in the Global Economy and the Future

Week 7 (30th September – 7th October 2017): Justice in the Global Economy and the Future

October 2, 2017
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1Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.
2He will judge Your people with righteousness,
And Your poor with justice.
3The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
4He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
Psalm 72: 1-4

Main Prayer Focus of the Week:

  1. A shake up in the World Economy and a transition to one that is fair to poorer nations
  2. A World trade system that is fair to the poor nations

OVERVIEW OF THE WEEK’S FOCUS

Of all continents on the earth, Africa the continent most endowed with natural resources. Africa is so rich and yet so poor. 30% of the world’s minerals reserves sit in Africa but the continent only contributes 1% of global output and by 2013 had a total of 383 million people living in poverty accounting for 54% of the world’s poor.[1] The situation African countries face with regard to world trade was succinctly put by President Nyerere when he lamented.

“ The price at which cotton is bought and sold in the market is determined by the workings of the international free market; countries of the South learn what the prices will be by listening to reports from Britain, USA and Europe. The cost of producing that cotton is completely irrelevant; so is the cost of living of the worker or peasant in the cotton fields. On the other hand, the prices of lorries, tractors, railway wagons, fertilizers, etc, are all determined by the producers – the transnational corporations and other firms.”

Africa supplies most of America’s strategic minerals. China, which has over 50% of the 17 rare-earth minerals, is consolidating its hold by stockpiling these industrially strategic resources. [2] The sources of these industrially strategic resources will probably be Africa this while Africa’s leaders and peoples still sleep.[3] Unfortunately this would be at the cost of Africa’s prospective industrialization, unsuspecting as the continent usually is.[4] If industrialized countries are doing it, African governments need to think quickly and deeply about setting aside strategic reserves of its resources for use in prospective industrialization drives or refusing to mine them at all until the countries are ready to industrialize.

For centuries, Africa’s trade with the rest of the world: engagement in slave trade, low-value agricultural production, and the present day extraction of minerals were all done with an overriding foreign interest.  Africa exports the best of its natural capital and importing back goods processed from that natural capital at multiple times the cost. Producing what we do not consume and selling it at very low prices and consuming what we do not produce while buying it at very high prices. It is a net loss both ways For example coffee African countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania are the among the top producers of coffee globally. Among these, only Ethiopia appears among the top fifteen countries that exported the highest  dollar value of coffee in 2015. The list is populated by countries that do not grow a single tree of coffee.[5] “African countries are trapped in a state of existence in which by giving away their natural capital (people, agricultural produce, mineral resources, hydrocarbons) to others to convert into their own productive capital, they forfeit the intermediating benefits that include factories, jobs, deepened and widened tax bases, reinforced financial services, broadened logistical industries, increased civil infrastructure, diversified exports and skilled manpower.”[6] The prices of Africa’s main products – diamonds, coffee, oil, cocoa, cobalt, sugar, iron ore, tea, aluminium, gas, cotton, maize – are determined in the commodity markets overseas but not in Africa.[7]

In addition Africans have built other continents while we remain poor. The Atlantic slave trade that lasted about 400 years from the 15th to the 19th centuries was critical in building the economies of the Americas and some European countries to the detriment of Africa. Even with the coming of the Chinese, Africa’s relationship with China is essentially structured like the one it had with imperial Europe: a source of raw materials, a market for manufactured goods, and a field for some development projects. China’s voracious appetite for resources touched off the second “Scramble for Africa.”

Pray for:

  • God will rid the continent of leaders who are greedy and parasiting off the African people for their personal gain
  • A new sense of appreciation of who God has made us to be as African people
  • A new sense of ownership and nationalism over our natural resources and a collective commitment to safeguard them and rejection of those with an Esau mentality.

The Future

Uganda’s future is intertwined with that of her neighbors and in many ways with that of the whole continent of Africa. The median person in Africa is 18 years old – half of Africa’s population is under 18 and Africa is set to remain the youngest population in the world in the decades to come. According to projections by the United Nations, the median age in Africa will increase only to 21 in 2035 and to 24 in 2050. In other regions of the world, the median age will be 35 years old – almost 45 in East Asia and Pacific. According to UNICEF, by 2050, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion. Africa is the only region where the population is projected to keep increasing throughout the 21st century.[8] Currently, there are 1.2 billion people on the continent, more than five times the population in 1950. By 2050, Africa’s population will double to 2.4 billion, eventually reaching 4.2 billion by the end of the century, just about the entire world population in 1977.[9] Africa is not the first region in the world to undergo such rapid population growth. America in the nineteenth century, China and the Asian sub-continent in the first half of the twentieth also experienced the same.[10] The difference with the African experience is that the growth is happening at a time of the most rapid global socio-economic and political changes ever, and from a rural unskilled population base. A further factor is that progress in medicine and information reduced mortality rates long before the society was ready to reduce its fertility rates.  North America’s population surge included a proportion of urbanized migrants, businesspeople, and capitalists with skills and savings that helped to build the nation; India and China were able to isolate themselves for a while from the rest of the world while making rudimentary steps towards social and demographic transformation.  Africa, on the other hand, has entirely open to outside influences. According to the World Population Review (2016) by around 2020, one out of every two newborn babies could be African. Being home to the world’s largest population of youth will require careful foresighted planning to reap this population dividend and avoid it becoming a burden or even worse, a source of instability.

In addition to the rapid population growth is the large-scale migration to urban areas. By 2030 fifty percent of Africans will be living in cities, growing from 36 percent of the population in 2010. Africa’s population of potentially productive youth will be the highest in the world. The continent’s urbanization rate, the highest in the world, can lead to economic growth and transformation, at par with or even better than the current trajectories of China and other East Asian countries. However, without transformation, it can steer further into increased inequality, urban poverty, the proliferation of slums, and even social chaos such as that of the ‘Arab Spring’.[11] Laws, policies, and actions needed to reap real dividends from Africa’s urbanization are therefore critical in the continent’s transformation. The need for African leaders to develop a long-term thinking mindset in planning for the next generations cannot be overemphasized.

We need leadership that will prepare us for this future which has emerged over the horizon.

  • By the end of the century almost half the world’s children may be African (The Economist).
  • 40% of all humans will be African by the end of the century (The Globe & Mail).
  • In the next 90 years Africa will see a population explosion nearly unprecedented in human history (The Washington on United Nations Population Division projections.
  • In 2100, Africa will be as densely populated as China is today (National Geographic on UN projections)

Pray that:

  • The power of interests, both foreign and local that are determined to keep the status quo in which Africa is a consumer of imported manufactured goods will be broken
  • Multinationals would be incentivized with the sanctions to repatriate profits
  • Leaders that will wisely steward the abundant mineral and natural resources that Africa has on behalf of her people will emerge on the continent.
  • The power of interests, both foreign and local that are determined to keep the status quo in which Africa is a consumer of imported manufactured goods will be broken.
  • Pray for a great awakening among the African people and Ugandans in particular to take ownership and responsibility the endowments God has given us.

INSTITUTIONS PRAYER FOCUS FOR WEEK SEVEN

Pray for these institutions using the prayer guidelines in Chapter One:

  1. Ministry of Trade,
  2. Ministry of Internal Affairs / Immigration,
  3. Ministry for Science and Technology
  4. Uganda Industrial Research Institute
  5. Uganda National Bureau of Statistics
  6. Umeme and the Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution companies
  7. Uganda Manufacturers Association
  8. Uganda Small Scale Industries Association

[1] (Ssepuuya, p.13)
[2] (Ssepuuya, p.281)
[3] (Ssepuuya, p.281)
[4] (Ssepuuya, p.281)
[5] (Ref Ssepuuya, p.36)
[6] (Ssepuuya, p.41).
[7] (Ssepuuya, p.59)
[8]  World Population Review, 2013
[9] ibid
[10]  Cour et al., 1999
[11] Mbadlanyana, Cilliers & Sibalukhulu, 2011

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