It is larger markets that enable economies to grow and larger markets generally depend on regional integration. In other words, if you don’t integrate, you fragment your markets leaving your economy at the mercy of external forces. One way western countries control poor third world countries in Africa is by controlling the markets of those poor countries. Once the markets of a country are controlled by an external force, it is almost impossible for that country to gain economic freedom and that is the problem facing most poor third world countries in the world today.
Our markets are fragmented and we are caught in a trade-trap making it almost impossible for our economies to grow at the rates they should be.
So what exactly is regional integration?
The World Bank and the IMF (the International Monetary Fund) were set up during the end of the Second World War to rebuild the economies of Europe. However, in order for the world bank and the IMF to implement their policies, they (the world bank and the IMF) began offering loans to poor countries but only if the poor countries privatized their economies and allowed western corporations free access to their raw materials and markets. That was a poverty trap and many poor countries realized it when it was too late. We were already in chains.
That was the beginning of much of the problems we face today in Africa. Now we are in a vicious cycle of poverty and there seems to be no way out. The western corporations flourish while the poor continue to die in poverty.
My great grandfather had no clock but he was always on time why because he could tell the time just by looking at the position of the sun. My great grandfather could tell the time just by listening to the sound of birds and even the croaking voices of frogs. My great grandfather could see even with his eyes closed. It is a huge mistake to refer to such a man as an "illiterate". Most of us the so-called educated men and women of the world today, have clocks in our homes. Some of us even carry wrist watches and cell phones with us yet we are almost always late.
A stupid man is far more dangerous than an atomic bomb. A wise man fears not the weapons of mass destruction but the stupid men operating those weapons.
Not long ago, some of us (Africans back home) only saw Chinese people in their very famous "Kung fu" martial arts movies but it may surprise you to know that over a million Chinese investors have permanently settled in Africa today with their families. Not because they love Africa as a home but because they know there is money and more money to be sucked from the sweats of some poor innocent Africans. They have no plans of going back why because in Africa, they reign as supreme beings and are worshiped all day and night.
Even the "nobodys" in China want to be worshiped just because they came with some little money to a land where several people continue to toil all day and night just for their daily bread.
Let us establish an important point from the outset. We are not talking about racism of a garden variety that, albeit still stinging, is largely benign. We are dealing with an institutional racism where a director of a department can openly announce in a public meeting that he cannot hire black professionals because "blacks do not make good accountants" and besides he would not "want [his] department to look like a ghetto."
We are contending with an institution where there is a term for segregation of blacks in one of the Bank's several buildings - "Ghettoization". We are talking about an institution where the Staff Association's repeated plea "to address seriously the issue of ghettoization" is ignored.