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4th edition of Atlantic Currents annual report: challenges of an Atlantic Africa

Relations with Latin America, migration, terrorism, maritime potential, quest for integration ... The 4th edition of the Atlantic Currents annual report will be published on December 13th and presented by its authors during a press conference to be held in Marrakech, prior the opening of the 6th edition of the high-level Atlantic Dialogues conference. 

This 176-page document published by the Moroccan think tank OCP Policy Center examines major global issues relating to the continent, from an African perspective. In line with the Atlantic Dialogues conference, it aims to shed new light on challenges facing the Atlantic, both in the North and in the South, by voicing the views of the South on the international stage. Its purpose is: "to foster a new geopolitical construction of this strategic region".

Drafted by four OCPPC associate researchers, Abdelhak Bassou, Rachid El Houdaigui, Mohammed Loulichki, El Mostafa Rezrari and two economists, Tayeb Ghazi and Yassine Msadfa, the report supports and extends the ideas discussed during the Atlantic Dialogues. It will be available to participants throughout the conference on the AD Connect application.

Divided in six chapters, it addresses the following topics: 

1- The partnership between Africa and Latin America: between

sentimentalism and realism How to lay the foundations for a genuine strategic partnership, beyond the special relationship existing between South Africa and Brazil, both members of BRICS and the G20? The challenge is daunting: « to contribute to a new, fairer and more representative world order » but also to enable Africa to identify its own solutions with a strong focus on agricultural development.

2 - African migration: a reason to panic?

The facts contradict dominant perceptions about African migration, which is portrayed as a scourge. What are the nature, causes and consequences of these flows? A cold examination of the figures shows that 80% of the African migration happen within the continent. Five major host countries, and economic powerhouses, attract a large portion of migrants: South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia. Only marginally focused on Europe, African migration also constitutes an opportunity, given the need for workforce in European countries, where the demographics are declining.

3 - Contending with a new generation of terrorism and considering joint continental response capacities

Terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people in Africa since 2012, in addition to the damage inflicted to infrastructure and economic performance in affected countries. Al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Daesh in Libya, AQIM in Mali... According to the Global Terrorism Index, eight armed groups, with more than 52,400 combatants and ties to the Islamic State (IS) or Al Qaeda, are active in Africa. What are possible common African responses? This chapter reviews existing instruments and the factors hindering more effective action on the part of the African Union and sub-regional blocks (SADC, ECOWAS, G5 Sahel). It details a pragmatic scenario that would enable a better African response in the Sahel.

4 - Towards Africa's appropriation of its maritime reality and potential

Oceans are African territories that are largely underestimated in development strategies despite the importance of maritime trade and port activity in Africa. The 23 countries on the Atlantic seaboard account for 46% of the continent's population, 55% of its GDP and 57% of its economic trade. Maritime and territorial disputes, the rise of threats (piracy, banditry, terrorism) ... These challenges also hinder the appropriation of a maritime area where the presence of foreign powers is blatant, both in terms of logistics and exploitation of natural resources or in fighting against piracy. What can be done ? The report proposes ways of improving African "maritime governance."

5 – True Economic Convergence in Africa: Evidence and Implications

It is difficult to address African integration without raising the right questions about the reality of convergence among the continent’s regions - and the reasons for the lack thereof. Why has the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seen its intra-regional trade rise to 20% of its total external trade between 2014 and 2016, a level close to that of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as compared to a mere 5% in the countries of the Central African Economic Community (ECCAS)? Inflation, budget deficit, foreign exchange reserves... This chapter focuses, in a methodical and detailed manner, on the definition of convergence criteria and their evolution in various African regions. In closing, it gives a very precise insight into the road ahead.

6 – Integration process indicators in the Atlantic area

As a follow-up, the report presents a series of comparative integration indicators for the different regions of the Atlantic area, based on subregional groups: 23 out of 54 countries in Africa, 30 in Latin America and the Caribbean, the North America block and 32 European countries - Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Great Britain included. It shows, among other things, that Africa accounts only for 2% of the Atlantic region’s overall GDP, against 10% for Latin America, 44% for Europe and 44% for the United States.

Previous editions of the report dealt with different themes, with chapters devoted to major issues in the Atlantic area. 

2016 Report : Various topics were addressed, including the "green energy revolution" in Africa, implications for relations with Africa of Europe’s new global strategy, finance in Latin America and Africa, as well as the role of religion in international relations.
2015 Report : In an attempt to rethink "mental maps" of the Atlantic, the focus was on Africa and its Atlantic prospects, taking into account both the role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs, "fragile states and transnational security implications", but also plans for economic "emergence."
2014 Report : In an effort to reshape Atlantic maps, this report examines the North Atlantic’s dominant "Brussels-Washington" axis. It also looks into South-South and NorthSouth relations in the Atlantic area, to broaden mental, as well as economic, social and international borders, with a view to improving the living conditions of Atlantic societies.

About the OCP Policy Center :

OCP Policy Center, a Moroccan think tank launched in 2014 in Rabat, with 39 associate fellows from the South and the North, wants to share knowledge and to contribute to a richer reflexion on economics and international relations. Through a Southern perspective on the main questions at stake for developing countries, it offers a real added value. It aims at helping strategic decisions processes in a meaningful way, through its four research programs : agriculture, environment ans food security ; economics and social development ; raw material economics and finance ; geopolitics and international relations. Website's OCPPC

Press contacts

Atlantic Currents Report: Mr. Yassine Msadfa
Research Assistant – Atlantic Dialogues 2017 | OCP Policy Center | +212 6 66 01 69 78

Atlantic Dialogues 2017 | Mrs. Sabine Cessou | + 33 6 70 87 20 05 | +212 6 13 05 25 52