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Atlantic Dialogues Africa in the Atlantic: Time for Action

The sixth edition of the Atlantic Dialogues International Conference will be taking place between 13 and 15 December in Marrakech, under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Organized by the Rabat-based think-tank OCP Policy Center, this high-level meeting will address the major geopolitical and economic challenges of the South Atlantic Basin. It will acknowledge 50 young emerging leaders and will feature more than 340 participating speakers from 90 different nationalities. It will be held under the following title: « Africa in the Atlantic, Time for Action ».

Owning the discourse on Africa

Address today’s challenges in a straightforward way, draw up other prospects and more importantly, give oneself the means of thinking and acting at intercontinental level... Those are the ambitions of the Atlantic Dialogues.

This annual forum, initiated in 2012, seeks to open up the international debate on the Atlantic challenges, by making the voices and views of the South better heard. The first session, entitled: « Africa tells its own narrative », goes beyond a simple statement or a manifesto. It sets the basis for a strong commitment and a source of proposals, in line with OCP Policy Center’s action and multiple publications, and its very raison d’être.

Although the South Atlantic has not been very much present in the dominant perceptions, due to the linguistic areas inherited from the colonial era and to the geopolitical organization established in the twentieth century, it nevertheless presents a complex reality. OCP Policy Center is deeply convinced of this: this area is indeed a crucial fulcrum for the future of Africa. Far from being isolated from the rest of the world, this vast continent must highlight its long history of exchange with Europe and the Americas, for the sake of its own interest.

Conversing on equal terms

In order to ensure a balanced exchange between the North and the South, political figures, high-level public officials, researchers and economic decision-makers will come from the entire African coastline – from South Africa to Morocco through Nigeria – but also from the Americas and Europe. Out of 340 participants this year, 30% will be coming from Sub-Saharan Africa, 21% from Europe, 19% form Morocco, 18% from North America and 9% from Latin America. Representatives of international institutions will represent 21% of participants, the private sector 15%, think-tanks 23%, academia 14% and the media 7%.  

Top personalities like Barre Seguin, Director of Strategy at US Africa Command, Mary Beth Leonard, US Ambassador to the African Union or Fathallah Sijilmassi, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), will be invited to engage in a debate in English so as to encourage informal discussions.

Tackling the true issues

Political figures are also expected such as Edward Scicluna, Finance Minister of Malta and Omar Amadu Jallow, Gambia’s Minister of Agriculture.

Three former Latin American Presidents will present the lessons learned from the development pathways of their respective countries for Africa: Eduardo Duhalde (Argentina), Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia), Michel Rodriguez (Costa-Rica).

Former Prime Ministers Aminata Touré (Senegal) and Lionel Zinsou (Benin) will also be present as well as former Foreign Affairs Ministers Hubert Védrine (France), Miguel Angel Moratinos (Spain) and Paulo Portas (Portugal), and former Education Minister Silas Lwakabamba (Rwanda).

The annual report Atlantic Currents will be presented on the first day of the conference. Ten plenary sessions will be held on economic issues on 13 December, education, geopolitics and infrastructure financing on 14 December, prior to security, military interventions and lessons learned from development experiences in Latin America on 15 December. These sessions will focus on specifi topics: migration, global value chains, African integration and the energy mix namely.

Making room for young professionals

Discussions will continue during the afternoon sessions around equally central issues: social and gender inequality, consolidating democracy, effectiveness of development assistance, new Asian prospects, the role of the diaspora, a new «narrative» on Africa, the perspectives of « Trumpism », transnational crime and violent extremism, among others.

A new cohort of 50 young professionals from 25 different  nationalities (27 Africans including 6 from North Africa, 7 Latin- Americans, 7 Europeans, 7 North-Americans and 1 Asian),  selected on the merits, will join the Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders (ADEL) network composed of 250 persons. Three days of workshops and discussion, specially designed for them, will be organized in the presence of 20 former ADEL network members between 10 and 12 December in Marrakech ahead of the conference. These young professionals coming from the academic community, think tanks, civil society, the private sector and international organizations will then take part in the Atlantic Dialogues in an original way by submitting concrete projects focusing on change and development.

For the record:

The Atlantic Dialogues Conference, initiated in 2012, has been jointly organized by OCP Policy Center and the American think-tank German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) until 2016.

Topics addressed at the previous editions were as follows:
2012 – Changing Mental Maps: Rediscovering the Atlantic.
2013 – Atlantic Societies – Growth, Change and Adaptation.
2014 – The New Atlantic Equation: Convergence, Cooperation and Partnerships.
2015 – Assessing Global Risks.
2016 – Changing Mental Maps: Strategies for an Atlantic in Transition.

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.

Press contacts :

Atlantic Dialogues / OCP Policy Center: Mrs. Sabine Cessou,
+ 336 70 87 20 05 + 212 (0) 6 13 052 552.

Atlantic Currents Report: Mr. Yassine Msadfa
+ 212 (0) 6 72 26 23 53.

Emerging Leaders Program: Mrs. Lilia Rizk
+212 (0) 6 66 93 89 06.