Globalization is a process of cooperation and integration amongst the people, companies, and governments of nations. Globalization is multifaceted consisting of different dimensions such as the spatio temporal, material and cognitive dimensions.
Spatio temporal Dimension
The spatial dimension of globalization refers to the shrinking of the world in terms of space and time. Globalization literally shrinks space and time. A case in point, the distance between Cape Town and Johannesburg is about 1 400 km. While it will take you approximately 285 hours (I week and 4 days) to walk to Johannesburg and 14 hours to drive to Johannesburg from Cape Town, you could now take a two-hour flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. This is a consequence of globalization.
Cognitive is related to cognition, where cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. This dimension refers to the exchange of information, ideas, norms, beliefs and other thought processes and concerns the change of creation; all consequence of globalization. These changes are driven by the rapid spread of information and communication technologies thus leading to a more intense flow of information, ideas, etc. between nations, scientist, and companies. For example, physicists from the University of Cape Town (UCT) are collaborating with other physicists from other parts of the world in upgrading CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
The material dimension of globalization concerns trades, finance, production of goods, raw material, etc. The interconnectedness of globalization has brought forth the dynamics for trades, production, etc. For instance, the supply chain in the automotive industry is global, thus different parts of a car is often manufactured in different countries and not in a single country.
The Manifestation of the three dimensions in Africa
Many African countries are aspiring to become knowledge and information-based societies. They have initiated ICT’s (Information and Communication Technology) to ensure participation and to overcome the lack of connectivity.
ICT’s has produced quite promising results. According to The world in 2013: ICT Facts and Figures; “16% of Africans are using the Internet; 7% of African households have net access; annual household internet get admission to growth stands at 27%; much less than 10% of wired broadband subscriptions have speeds of 2 Mbps or more; and cell broadband penetration has elevated from 2% in 2010 to 11% in 2013.” However, enhancing information flow is not sufficient enough and the focus of ICT’s shifted to the transformation development of societies and economies.
Africa has become more interconnected and connected with the rest of the world in terms of higher education. More students from other countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, etc are now studying in South Africa, allowing exchange of information, ideas, beliefs. Foreign professors and researchers work closely with African universities. Africa is a lot more active in terms of information and communication technology now, than a decade ago. Showing signs of progress.
However, the progress is tedious and as much as it is making progress, the other developed and developing countries is making much more progress leaving Africa in the dust.
As mentioned above, the spatio temporal dimension are the shrinking of time and space. In Africa and all over the world technologies such as Skype (video call) and the Aeroplane has made it possible to “bend time and space”. A person in Nigeria could talk to a person in Egypt or South Africa without physically being there or could take a flight in 5 or 6 hours to South Africa.
There are also prospects about a bridge that would connect Africa to Europe. The bridge will be approximately 15 km. Linking Africa to the rest of the world would allow for more growth and development.
Africa has become more productive and more involved in international trade, finance and production of goods. Africa’s output has grown, on average, at over 5% per year. That is twice the rate of the 1990’s. Investments in Africa have continued to rise. A third of the continent’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) is attracted by resource-poor countries, up from 10% only 10 years ago. Africa’s shares in value added trade has risen from 1.4% (in 1995) to 2.2% (in 2011). Globalization has thus enabled Africa to access a wider market base across the world.
Impact of the material dimension of globalization on South Africa
Over the past 30 years South Africa, being a member of the global village, has been hugely influenced by globalization that is positively and negatively.
South Africa’s economy largely influenced by its import-export trading, its net Foreign Direct Investments and its net portfolio inflows. According to Rispa Akello, South Africa has experienced an annual average of 6.70% in manufactured exports between 1990 and 2005 that is 3.80% increase from the previous 20 years. According to Trading Economics South Africa’s GDP (Growth Domestic Product) has reached an all-time high of 7.60% in 1994. The GDP measures and refers to the domestic levels of production in a country.
However, the above-mentioned statistics supports economic growth for 15-20 years ago. But in recent years South Africa’s economy has struggled and reached “junk” status and South Africa is still recovering from the junk status. In 2009 South Africa’s GDP was an all-time low of -6.10%. From 1994, the economy has been on a steady downgrade path. South Africa’s unemployment rate has recently increased to 27.2%. The number of social grants in South Africa has also increased over the past years, with 17 million in 2017 that is an immense increase from the 3 million in 2000. While globalization has largely improved the lives of the affluent it has a much lower impact on the poor and in some cases even made their circumstance worse.
Thus, in conclusion South Africa’s economy has been extremely unstable over the past decades and has driven us to believe that globalization has had “only” negative impacts on South Africa, overshadowing the fact that it has brought a considerable amount transformation in terms of the economy, information and communication technology and the spatio temporal facets of our society.
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