Poor nations are not benefiting from globalization, São Tomé’s leader tells UN

Poor nations are not benefiting from globalization, São Tomé’s leader tells UN

President Menezes of São Tome and Príncipe
Globalization has failed to help the poor in many parts of the world, but instead served to benefit already affluent consumers in wealthy countries, the President of the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Globalization has failed to help the poor in many parts of the world, but instead served to benefit already affluent consumers in wealthy countries, the President of the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes said the continuing existence of poverty, despite the enormous scientific and technological advances made by humankind, was the disgrace of the modern era.

“Half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Twenty per cent of everyone alive suffers from chronic hunger. Every single day 30,000 children die needlessly from dehydration, diarrhoea, or infections, all so easily prevented or cured,” he told the annual high-level debate at UN Headquarters in New York.

“In many countries children are not even given a name until they are one month old because so many of them do not live that long. One billion adults today are illiterate. One hundred million children cannot go to school because of their poverty.”

Mr. de Menezes said many poor nations, like his own, had been told that the “rising tide” of globalization was the best way to finance the development they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

“But this rising tide of globalization in many parts of the world lifted the yachts and swamped the rowboats…. It seems that perhaps globalization has made the right to shop more important than the right to vote.”

The President said it was unrealistic to expect private corporations to combine their entrepreneurial activities with furthering social causes.

“Obviously, some companies must improve their practices and be held accountable for cleaning up their environmental disasters – like those in the Niger Delta, for example. But to put companies in the role of economic reformers is unrealistic.”