The Nexus of Globalisation and Global South Social Policy Crafting: Some Zimbabwean Perspectives.

Author:Mathende, Takudzwa Leonard
 
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Takudzwa Leonard Mathende holds a Bachelor of Social Work Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe and an MA in Social Impact Assessment from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is currently practicing as a Social Worker with a UK local authority. Previously, he worked in the child protection and social development sector both in Zimbabwe and City of Johannesburg, South Africa. Having worked for Africa's largest municipality, Takudzwa has developed tested research interests and experience in social impact assessment, social development policy and environmental social work.

Tatenda Goodman Nhapi holds a Bachelor of Science Social Work Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2015 he was awarded an Erasmus Mundus Masters in Advanced Development Social Work, a five European universities study consortium programme. Tatenda is an academic and practitioner. Currently he practices Social Work with a UK local authority. His research interests include social policy and administration, environmental social justice and sustainable development approaches. To his credit, he has published 10 journal articles and book chapters in these domains.

Introduction and Background

This article' objective is to explore the nuances between globalisation and global south social policy crafting using Zimbabwean perspectives. This paper is an attempt to outline some concepts and discourses which can point towards a research agenda in the global South. While there are many possible points of entry in this complex field, the article focuses on the environmental transformations generated by globalisation and social policy administration in Global South. The 2008 global financial and economic crisis reshaped pro-poor public policies and reinforced social protection interest. The economic crisis has been interpreted as testimony that markets are not always self-regulating, and when unregulated, they become unworkable and unsustainable in the long-run (Chikozho, 2015). For colonial legacy and abject poverty in the 1960s African governments drew up development plans and programmes to improve the cumulative process of underdevelopment (African Union, 2008). African Union notes there was considerable infrastructural investment and some economic growth but no trickle-down effect to the grassroots level. Despite evidence of considerable economic growth across Africa, poverty and vulnerability continue to persist. In fact Ake (1996), argued that development in post-independent Africa actually never took place. Chikozho (2015) further elaborates thus by stating political independence advent provided the majority of African countries with appropriate mix of public policies enabling rapid socio-economic development achievement. However, experiences across the continent have so far yielded mixed results and the search for an effective political economy model in the face of a rapidly globalizing world (Chikozho, 2015). From a political economy perspective, African poor economic development results from lack of appropriate policies/reforms, overreliance on natural resources, absence of an original economic development model, poor implementation, numerous social problems making development intractable (Gumede, n.d).

The 2006 Zambian Government hosted Livingstone Social Protection meeting is noted by Southern African Social Policy Experts Network (2015) as one of the several continental initiatives seeking the deepening social security.

Socio Economic Overview

Zimbabwe is predominantly an agro-based economy with about 79% of its population residing in rural areas and earning a living largely from subsistence agriculture (Mushunje 2009). Zimbabwe has a total population of 13,061,239 people divided into 48% males and 52% females where 67% of the population lives in the rural areas (Zimbabwe Stastical Agency(ZIMSTATS), 2012).Over the past decade the Zimbabwean economy has been mired in a severe vicious cycle of economic regression and paralysis.

From a peak of 9.7 percent in 1996 economic growth slumped to a record -14.8 percent in 2008, some economic regression and paralysis precipitating increased poverty and social and economic marginalisation of already disadvantaged groups. By 2003, 72 percent of the population was below the poverty line, up from 55 percent in 1995 (Chitambara, 2010).

The 2011/2012 Poverty Income and Consumption Survey (PICES), a Zimbabwe Statistical Agency survey based on 32,248 nationally representative households estimated that 76% of rural households are poor with 23% deemed extremely poor. The contested fast-track land redistribution programme implementation starting year 2000 led to the withdrawal of aid by most donors, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, impacted negatively on the economy (Kaseke, 2003). Zimbabwe has experienced two major--and markedly different--phases in its land reform efforts. The first was carefully planned and implemented with support from a broad group of international donor agencies; the second, which began in 2000, was motivated primarily by political considerations and was implemented in a chaotic and non-transparent fashion that has done severe damage to the economy and harmed international relations (Leiden African Studies Centre, 2018). The 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked Zimbabwe 136 out of 139 countries. In the 2009-2010 rankings Zimbabwe was ranked 132 out of 134 countries. According to the report a combination of dilapidated infrastructure, limited healthcare and education services and poor institutional frameworks have conspired to render Zimbabwe less competitive in the global marketplace (Chitambara, 2010). There has been signs of recovery, the Zimbabwean economy remains fragile due to a combination of factors that include deteriorated social and economic infrastructure and low Official Development Assistance (ODA) (approximately US$650 million mostly in humanitarian aid) (United Nations Development Programme-UNDP, 2011). There is strong Government acknowledgement of the constraints of poverty and it is comprehensively addressed within the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET). The first two (2) components of the economic blueprint (Food Security and Nutrition and Social Services and Poverty Eradication) specifically focus on addressing the immediate needs of citizens that have been affected by poverty (Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), 2012).

Conceptualisation of Globalisation and Social Policy

The dominant narrative in conception of globalisation, is its extensive network of economic, cultural, social and political interconnectedness and human processes routinely transcend national boundaries (Hay and Watson 1999). While social policy refers to organised efforts of government designed to improve human welfare/wellbeing. Therefore, "global social policy is a practice of supranational actors embodies global social redistribution, global social regulation and global social provision and or empowerment and includes the way in which supranational organisations shape national social policy" (Deacon et al 1997:195). The global village has neutralised politics, culture between nations and within regions and continents and has become the major factor in the development of social policy. Clarke (2000: 201), notes that globalisation disrupts "national" focus of attention and forces us to "think globally".

The social policy approach is its macro-focus on the nation state and particularly the so-called 'welfare state'. International comparisons of social security policies and programmes have generally used the nation state as a unit of analysis, and social protection activities at the household or community level have received relatively little attention (Midgley, 2013). The supranationalisation of social policy has become a business of the international community. Individual nations have to cross refer to other nations in what they are doing in social policy before formulating their own and if nations do not do this, they become isolated on the global map. This is because the individual states may make policies which might not be appreciated internationally. It has become a responsibility and obligation for every government to understand that it is a member of the global family/village and failure to do this the individual state/player may face detrimental consequences that is, being excluded from global activities. However, Melber (2017) laments SDGs adoption, noting" are more technical than normative, giving insufficient attention to the UN's own norms and standards". This is underlined by the fact that as late as March 2017 a total of 244 indicators were added to the 17 goals and 169 targets. According to Melber, this reinforces not only a management problem, but creates the misleading impression that a proper and detailed check list would be sufficient to deal with the major challenges our world and the dominant lifestyle is facing.

Globalisation has become a major topic of discussion and concern in economic circles since the mid-1990s. It is clear that the trend toward more integrated world markets has opened a wide potential for greater growth, and presents an unparalleled opportunity for developing countries to raise their living standards (Ouatarra...

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