An assessment of the impact of international organizations in Africa
The debate about international organizations rages on. In many fronts scholars and students of international disciplines hold diverse views on the precise functions of these organizations. Particularly, opinion is divided on whether these institutions influence policies, domestic and foreign, of states. Scholars in the realist school of thought feel that the organizations bear no effect because states are too „guarded‟ and would never cede substantial powers to a supranational body to give it strong ability to influence, shape or even enforce policy. On the other hand liberal institutionalists credit international organizations with the introduction of efficiency through information sharing and reduction of transactional costs while raising the costs of non-compliance. Many organizations have set up shop in the third world countries. It is intriguing to note that these organizations owe their origins elsewhere. They have nonetheless had extensive operations and interests in the Third World countries. The question that lingers is; whose interests do the international organizations advance? There have been assertions that the organizations have contributed greatly to the eroding of economic, social and political space in the Third World countries. At the same time some have contended that the organizations have continued to advance imperialistic manners of their originating countries. The United Nation which has been looked at for provision of leadership has had its fair share of criticism for its part in pushing for more involvement of private sector in governance issues, a move seen by many as promoting interests of transnational capitalists. Scrutinies of texts commenting on this topic reveal very scant and superficial address of these issues. Literature on the specific contributions of international organizations and assessments thereto are few and far between. It is the view of this author that this is an area that needs urgent redress both from academic and practitioner points of view. This project endeavors to bridge this gap and seek to prove, disprove and clarify whether international organizations are a blessing or curse in the Third World countries with a keen interest in the impacts they have had African states and the African individual.