6th Edition of the Atlantic Dialogues under the theme: Africa in the Atlantic, Time for Action
OCP Policy Center is organizing the sixth edition of The Atlantic Dialogues, a high-level conference that has become a tradition since its launch in 2012 by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and OCP Policy Center in Morocco. This annual gathering convenes influential public- and private-sector leaders from around the Atlantic Basin for open, informal discussion on cross-regional issues. The event encourages a lively, interactive and informal exchange of views between young professionals and today’s leaders.
Over the past six years, OCP Policy Center has demonstrated a strong interest in major Atlantic issues. It has done so through the organization of large international events such as the Atlantic Strategy Groups in Brazil and Senegal respectively, and through the publication of many Atlantic-related papers and books of which the “Atlantic Currents”, a valuable annual report allowing a deeper and further extension of the analytic contribution provided by the Atlantic Dialogues. The Atlantic question is hence central to OCP Policy Center’s analytical production and activities, and The Atlantic Dialogues Conference is the platform that allows the think tank to capitalize on its Atlantic interest.
Building a Community
Over the past five years, more than 800 senior government officials, business leaders, academics, and media and civil society representatives from Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe, as well as thinkers from around the globe who demonstrate a renewed interest in the Atlantic, have convened in Rabat, then Marrakesh in order to refresh, refocus and expand the transatlantic conversations. Morocco has been host to these gatherings for its geography, and tight relations to all countries bordering the Atlantic, making it an attractive meeting place for both North and South.
Fostering intergenerational dialogue
Asserting an Atlantic vision and filling in the perception gap can only be reinforced when the next generation of leaders are given a place at the table. Since its inception, the Atlantic Dialogues editions have convened yearly, through the Emerging Leaders Program, a community of 40-50 rising professionals.
These young leaders are chosen not only for their outstanding achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to contemporary development, business and other Atlantic interregional shared issues. Today, they represent a rich network of 150 leaders in their fields, who enhance and stimulate the dialogues during the conference and beyond.
2017 Topical Agenda: Africa in the Atlantic: Time for Action
During the past decade, Africa has celebrated economic growth and new levels of political and economic engagement with its continental and Atlantic partners. These developments have fueled the will to generate common African agendas, and to solidify institutional frameworks allowing for ambitious long term visions to achieve the continent’s development. The African Union’s recent dynamism put forward the emergence of a cohesive African community, brought together for the promotion of unity and solidarity among African States, and coordination to intensify cooperation for development – among others. However, and in spite of being the home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world and vast natural resources, the continent continues to face many challenges related to its economic development, security, and governance, which not only affect its populations, but the rest of the world as well.
Looking higher in the Atlantic, the Brexit breaks the long held assumptions that European integration cannot be undone. The European crises have revealed the structural weaknesses of the EU construct, while there still is political will and public support to reform the EU. The election of Donald Trump sent shockwaves across the world. In the face of several global challenges, the U.S., under its new President, has withdrawn from several global geopolitical agendas and issues. In the meantime, it has been rethinking and actively redefining relations with its opponents and allies, Russia, North Korea, China, Europe, and Africa.
Finally, Latin America offers a mixed picture as political turmoil has shaken Brazil and Venezuela, announcing regime changes and structural mutations in its economic and geopolitical interactions with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, many success stories remain to be told in various sectors relevant to agriculture, economic transformation and energy.
Together Atlantic countries have the opportunity to build a greater foundation for cooperation by capitalizing on the potential of both the North and South, leveraging on Africa’s burgeoning dynamism. There is also value in seeking a greater integration between African countries bordering the Atlantic, and the latter can serve as an engine of growth for the rest of the continent.
After having explored ways to change mental maps in 2016, we will meet again in December 2017 in Marrakesh to reset the policy agenda of the Atlantic community, and explore concrete ways to modernize transatlantic relations and partnerships with a changing Africa.
Under the theme “Africa in the Atlantic: Tow Time for Action”, this year’s edition will take place at a time when the world faces considerable challenges from the mutations of globalization to populism, to stubborn unemployment and migration pressures, to the persistence of terrorism and extremism. But against this backdrop, there are also opportunities ranging from multilateral cooperation to the energy revolution, from generational change and soft anti-radicalization strategies to the digital revolution and innovations in agriculture, infrastructure and governance.
Under the theme “Africa in the Atlantic: Time for Action”, this year’s edition potential sessions will include:
• Rethinking partnerships between Atlantic Superpowers and Africa
• Transatlantic security dialogue
• Agriculture and food security in the Southern Atlantic
• Making Africa the Atlantic engine of growth
• The green energy revolution across latitudes
• Jobs in times of automation and artificial intelligence
• The role of the Atlantic in bridging Africa’s financing gap
• Integrating South Atlantic Industries in Global Supply Chains
• Digital technology at the service of education
• Walking the Talk of entrepreneurial policies
• The role of infrastructure in African integration
• Policies to unleash the full potential of the demographics of youth
• Africa’s natural resources and geopolitical realities
• Moving the relationship forward of India and China in the southern Atlantic
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