Managing Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Myanmar: Lessons from South Africa

AshEse Journal of Economics

Vol. 3(3), pp. 199-218, November, 2017                                                                                   

ISSN 2396-8966                                                

© 2017 AshEse Visionary Limited                                                                

Review

Managing Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Myanmar: Lessons from South Africa

Enoch Amoah

University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), No. 2006, Xiyuan Ave, West Hi-Tech Zone 611731, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received October, 2017; Accepted November, 2017.

 

Abstract

Beginning in 2011 Myanmar has initiated reforms to transition the country from half-a-century repressive military regimes to civilian rule. As the country’s progress towards democratisation it is threatened by cleavages grounded in ethnic, linguistic and religious identities, the study examined how democratic institutional mechanisms could be used to manage Myanmar’s diversity drawing lessons from South Africa. Employing comprehensive integrative review methodology grounded on appropriate conflict management approaches, the paper made a critical analysis of the cost of ethnic conflict in Myanmar and drew comparisons between the constitutional and institutional mechanisms established by Myanmar and South Africa. To address the central goal of identifying lessons that Myanmar can learn from South Africa in managing ethnic and cultural diversity, the researcher assessed the impacts of the approaches adopted by both countries, and provided recommendation and elements of change to help Myanmar create ‘a state that belongs to all who live in it.’ The paper holds that democracy is built and sustained on inclusion and tolerance. As an intricate cultural mosaic, with several decades of repression, discrimination and militarism the sustainability of Myanmar’s democracy can best be achieved through constitutional recognition and toleration of cultural diversity; establishment of a parliamentary system of government to facilitate the inclusion of all groups within the legislature and the executive; adoption of proportional representation to ensure that all minority parties have the possibility to access national politics; and the establishment of a genuine federalism and autonomy arrangement that gives each constituent group a political space of their own to express their own values, identities and interests.

 

Key words: Ethnic group, Ethnic conflict, Cultural diversity, Democracy, Diversity management 

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China-Africa Relations: Looking Beyond Traditional Benefits

AshEse Journal of Economics                                                                                                     

Vol. 3(3), pp. 170-198, November, 2017                                                                                   

ISSN 2396-8966                                                

© 2017 AshEse Visionary Limited     

Review

China-Africa Relations: Looking Beyond Traditional Benefits

Enoch Amoah

University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), No. 2006, Xiyuan Ave, West Hi-Tech Zone 611731, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received August, 2017; Accepted November, 2017.

 

Abstract

There has been a tremendous growth in China-Africa relations both bilaterally and multilaterally in the last three decades. Currently, Beijing is Africa’s largest trading partner and the biggest developing country investing on the continent. It is taking an active and steady role in solving Africa’s governance and development issues. In all these, the public rhetoric from Chinese state authorities has been that Beijing wants to see a prosperous Africa. However, China’s expanding engagements on the continent indicate that it is not playing a zero-sum game. On the contrary, it is motivated by its domestic needs and global aspirations. Employing qualitative research approach, this paper thoroughly assesses the motivations for China’s growing interests in Africa, impacts of the relations, and the critical lessons that African countries can learn from Chinese growth. The paper asserts that while China relentlessly pursues its interests, Africans must look beyond the existing mercantile relationship based on extraction and export of basic commodities and other traditional benefits from Beijing, and focus more on learning lessons from the ways in which China has achieved its steady trajectory of growth. It reveals that though international support is critical for developing Africa, achieving sustainable development depends largely on the toughness to design and implement sound policies at the national level. Africans need to liberate themselves from the mindset of aid and dependency. Instead, must assume responsibility for the transformation of their economies, finds pragmatic solutions to newly evolving problems, and eliminate corruption and poverty through efficient utilisation of the continent’s vast resources.

Key words:Benefits, Interests, Lessons, China-Africa relations, Sustainable development  

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