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AN ASSESSMENT ON THE OBJECTIVES AND ACHIEVEMENT OF THE NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER IN THE UNDRR DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ECONOMY: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA ECONOMY

 

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AN ASSESSMENT ON THE OBJECTIVES AND ACHIEVEMENT OF THE NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER IN THE UNDRR DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ECONOMY: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA ECONOMY

 

ABSTRACT

The Economic, Political and Social disparity between the developed and the underdeveloped nations has remained a sore point in international politics. The paper was a descriptive analytic exposition of the opinions expressed in current literature about this subject. Its basis of analysis is the dependency theory. The methodology employed is library research and content analysis. The South’s contention is that its underdevelopment is a result of several years of slavery, colonialism, imperialism and exploitation. Efforts to move towards development had always been frustrated by the North. This, many claim has been responsible for the threat to world peace and stability in the form of terrorism and the like. For peace and stability to abide, the South has clamoured for a dialogue through which the North could accede to some concessions that would assist the South to develop. The North, it is believed would not easily give away the basis of its national power, which stems from the continued exploitation of the South. Except the South finds an alternative development path it will be a forlorn hope to expect the North to willingly work towards its development, concluded the paper. The turn of the millennium has brought with it the emergence of a new global economic order- An order that is defined in terms of the whittling down of the dominant influence of the Global North in world economy and the simultaneous rise to prominence of some countries in the Global South. Within the context of this new order, this paper represents an attempt to highlight some opportunities that Nigeria may take advantage of in order to further advance her vision 20:2020. It concludes by suggesting a number of probable Foreign policy thrusts that could be helpful in achieving this objective.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0  INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

It is now a long time since the notion of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) has been proposed and gained considerable recognition in the international community. According to Gordon (2009:1), the idea of NIEO was endorsed by the United Nations by the year 1974 with the belief that the Third World Nations and their peoples demanded a New Economic order which would provide them with inter alia, permanent sovereignty/ or control/ or administer over their natural resources, and more control over their economic destiny. Historically, NIEO is a post WWII phenomenon believed to bring economic and political development in the third world countries. Mahiou (2011:1) defined NIEO as the means through which the new states that emerged as a result of decolonization from European colonial rule get an opportunity to participate effectively in international political, social, cultural and economic arena. Thus, NIEO mainly reflects the political claims of the so called Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the post-colonial era.

The main theme around which NIEO’s philosophy revolves is ‘‘economic independence’’ is basic and a must for political sovereignty of LDCs. In other words, the political independence of any state is reflected in the economic capability and strength of any state. Thus, with the aim of political independence, NIEO treated economic autonomy as a means, not as an end in itself, to all other

sovereignty of LDCs. As Olaniyan (1987:1), noted that trade balance, if possible, in favor of LDCs, is one of the utmost economic aims of NIEO. The same writer presented a paper in a Nigerian forum reads as follows regarding this point:

“…NIEO from the very beginning never calls for a balanced flow of resources rather it calls for flow of capital and technology in favor of LDCs which basically seek the restructuring of the pattern of international trade and the flow of capital and technology so that their benefits could be more equitably ‘distributed to the developing countries.”

However, The economic development represents an economic blueprint which essentially encapsulates Nigeria’s dream to become one of the first 20 economics in the world by the year 2020. It illustrates goals, strategies, objectives and a general framework that is expected to catapult the country into this enviable position among the comity of nations. It is basically a strategy designed to solve the perennial problems of underdevelopment which the country has had to contend with since independence. According to Eneh (2011), Abdulahmid (2008) had traced the history of the dream to a research finding by economists at an American development Bank. Based on an assessment of her abundant human resources and “on assumption that the country’s resources would be properly managed and channeled to set economic goals”, it was predicted that Nigeria would be among the 20 top world economies by the year 2025 (Onyekakeyah, 2008 cited in Eneh, 2011). According to an abridged version of the vision published in December 2010, Nigeria economic development (NV20:202020) is defined as, Nigeria’s long term development goal designed to propel the country to the league of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020. Attainment of the Vision would enable the country achieve a high standard of living for its citizens. The NV20: 2020 was developed by Nigerians for the Nigerian people and involved a process of thorough engagement with all stakeholders across all levels of government and society. The Vision is therefore, a rallying point for all Nigerians, regardless of ethnicity, political leaning, economic status, or religion behind a common cause of placing the country on a sustainable development path and transformation into a modern society better able to play a greater role in the comity of nations…This Vision reflects the intent of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to become one of the top twenty economies in the world by the year 2020, with an overarching growth target of no less than $900 billion in GDP and a per capita income of no less than $4000 per annum. There is an on-going debate on the question of whether Nigeria’s political leadership can muster enough courage and discipline to pull this off, especially given the unpalatable history of the failure of several similar development plans. My main major aim in this work is to contribute to this debate by attempting to highlight a number of probable foreign policy options that Nigerian leaders could adopt in order to put the country in a great position towards achieving the vision, especially within the context of a changing global economic order.

Alejandro Izquierdo and Ernesto Talvi (2011) have sufficiently argued that there is indeed a recognizable shift in the structure of global economic exchanges. According to them, “the aftermath of the global financial crisis is reshaping the world environment, pointing to the emergence of a new economic order that differs considerably from that prevailing prior to the crisis in 2007. The world economy is currently facing a two-speed recovery process with industrial countries growing sluggishly- while recovering from a major financial disruption- and emerging markets growing at a much higher speed” This clearly tells us that a new global economic order is fully in place, with both the emergence of new major players, and structures very different from the ones that prompted Global South countries to call for a New International Economic Order (NIEO) in the 60s and 70s. Indeed, demands for a new international economic order has been a major theme in the economic relationship between the Global North and the Global South, itself informed by the theoretical underpinnings of dependency theories. Kegley and Shanon (2011) have drawn our attention to the fact that most emergent Global South countries “were born into a political economic order with rules they had no voice in creating”, and according to dependency theorists, most of these countries, by virtue of colonialism and imperialism, had their economies integrated and structured into the world capitalist economy as dependents or peripheries. By implication, North-South relationship has been characterized by unequal trade, inequality in levels of development and unequal consumptions of energy possession of technology. As early as in the 60’s and 70s, Global South countries had, under the umbrella of the G-77, called for a structural reorganization of the International Economic regime which was highly skewed in favour of the Global North. They had sought to “compel the Global North to abandon practices perceived to perpetuate their dominance and dependence” and “a redistribution of world wealth”. Of course, these demands were rejected by the North, and so the “North-South exchange generally degenerated into a dialogue of the deaf” (Kegley and Shanon, 2011).

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The powerful countries of North America and Western Europe felt threatened by the NIEO and continuously tried to criticize and minimize it; according to economist Professor Harry Johnson, the most efficient way to help the poor is to transfer resources from those most able to pay to those most in need. Instead of this, NIEO proposes that those poor countries that have monopoly power should be able to extort these transfers. In practice such power has caused most harm to other poor countries (Harry G. Johnson, 1976). Commanding prices above their natural level usually reduces consumption and thus causes unemployment among producers. Moreover, price regulation typically gives the extra income to those in control of who is allowed to produce, e.g., to governments or land-owners (Breda Pavlič and Cees J. Hamelink, 1985),

All of the foregoing notwithstanding, and majorly my argument in this work, is that the success story of the BRICS and NIEs have created a new order on the one hand, and more importantly shown that development is indeed not a hopeless venture for LDCs in the Global South, albeit not in the ways neo-liberal theorists, and even dependency theorists have posited. They have shown that the international economic regime favouring Global North at the expense of the South can indeed be altered. A report on the BRICS by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations University has this to say,

The emergence of the BRICS reflects an ongoing change in the international economic order. The BRICS now account for a substantial part of global gross domestic product (GDP), global manufacturing value added (MNA) and global manufacturing exports. Their increased economic weight has led to a realignment of international economic institutions and given an increased voice to emerging economies in international affairs (UNIDO and UNU, 2012)

 

These countries have also proven that by discipline, commitment and the ability to exhibit the necessary political will to pursue policies that are sure to elicit criticisms from Global North-dominated international economic institutions, it is quite possible to throw away the shackles of dominance and move towards sustained growth and economic prosperity. Again, on the economic prosperity of the NIEs (Newly Industrialized Economies), Kegley and Shanon (2011) makes the point that they are “among the largest exporters of manufacture goods and the most prosperous members of the global south, and have climbed their periphery into the semi-periphery”. These realities serve as a pointer to one basic fact: the Global North no longer has complete control over global trade, finance and economic exchanges. Perhaps, the emergence of China as a global economic powerhouse and her overtake of Japan (of the Global North)

as the second largest economy in the world is a real testament to a changing world economic order. These countries, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are increasingly gaining a larger voice in the world economic roundtables and as such, whittling down the dominant influence of the Global North.

 

However, the demands by the countries of the South will make one to consider it wishful thinking for anyone to expect that most of these demands can actually be met. This is because the superiority of the North actually resides in some of these factors, and it would be virtually impossible to let go. The way the International capitalist system operates presupposes that there will always have to be some countries that will provide the raw materials for the development of the North. While there have actually been concessions in terms of debts relief, debt forgiveness and other forms by the countries in the North the activities of most leaders in the countries of the South have not been too encouraging. A situation whereby money is stashed away by leaders in developed countries’ banks does not show that the countries are actually in need of any major revision of the global economic policies. Most of these countries do not even utilize the grants or loans in profitable ventures and so it is difficult to expect returns. Also owing to the turnover of regimes in these countries, the new leaders pretend as if nothing is wrong with the early borrowings, only for them to also procure new loans.

Transfer of appropriate technology is also wishful thinking because there lays the factor that actually upholds their superiority. The technology of the North has become so advanced that it would actually take many decades for some of the countries in the South to catch up. We have seen situations where technology is imported, only for the operation to be faulty because of lack of sustained electric power supply. Take for instance, the GSM base stations in Nigeria, which have to run on diesel generators for 24 hours a day instead of being connected to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (former NEPA) grid.

Also, the activities of multinational companies cannot really be curtailed in most of these countries especially Nigeria because these companies have collaborators at the top echelon of the ruling class. This is why they keep on getting away with nefarious actions in the developing countries. A good example is the activities of MTN and into the communication scene in Nigeria. Also, the oil giants always succeeded in dividing nationals of Nigeria against themselves.

On a final note, it can be argued that for as long as the international system remains the way it is, a success of the North-South dialogue occasioned by the various demands will be a mirage. The North will definitely continue to give concessions but they will never give in to most of the demands of the South. Also, as long as conditions continue to be deplorable in the countries of the South, their citizens will continue to migrate to places in the North where their services will be better appreciated and rewarded. The problems of the South can thus be summed up as follows:

(a) Monoculture Economy: The problem with the North-South dialogue is the monoculture economy of the countries of the South. The nature of the economy will not give it the power to bargain from a position of strength with the North.

(b) Corruption: Another major problem of the South is pervasive corruption that has engulfed the countries. For examples, Nigeria officials were discovered to have been involved in shady deals with Halliburton of the USA.

(c) Capacity Development and Utilization: The countries of the South should push for capacity development. At present, capacity development and utilization of the South’s resources is at very low ebb.

(d) Nature of Leaders: The leaderships in most countries of the South are comprador agents. They are merely interested in the gains of their foreign partners as against the interest of their people.

(e) Re-orientation : Instead of the countries of the South to continue to agitate for a New International Economic Order (NIEO), they should be interested in a New World Economic and Social Order (NWESCO). This is the sense in which NEPAD becomes meaningful.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

  1. To examine the objectives of New International Economic Order.
  2. To examine the tentative foreign policy options for Nigeria
  3. To evaluate the New International Economic Order and Development of Nigeria economy.
  4. To examine the New International Economic Order objectives and extent of its achievement in Nigeria.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION

  1. What are the objectives of New International Economic Order?
  2. What is foreign policy options for Nigeria?
  3. What arethe New International Economic Order and Development of Nigeria economy?
  4. To what extent has the objective of New International Economic Order be achieved in Nigeria?

1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

H0: There is no  significant relationship between the objectives of New International Economic Order and the extent of its achievements in Nigeria.

H1: There is a significant relationship between the objectives of New International Economic Order and the extent of its achievements in Nigeria.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This scope of this research work is an assessment on the objectives and achievement of the new international economic order in the UNDRR developed countries economy: a case study of Nigeria economy.

1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The research in encountered a lot of problems/limitation in the course of carry out this research work.

Material Constraints: It was difficult to gather relevant materials needed for the work as the research study is based on qualitative method.

Time Constraints: The researcher had limited time to embark on in-depth study and reviews but judiciously manage his time to realize his aims.

Financial Constraints: The researcher is joked with financial resources for more in depth research but manage to put together the little he had to complete the research work.

1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS

New International Economic Order (NIEO): The New International Economic Order (NIEO) was a set of proposals put forward during the 1970s by some developing countries through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to promote their interests by improving their terms of trade, increasing development assistance, developed-country tariff reductions, and other means.

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