Atlantic Strategy Group Conference “Towards more Prosperity and Security in the Southern Atlantic”
OCP Policy Center and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, in partnership with the Institut Panafricain de Stratégies and the Institute Fernando Henrique Cardo, are organizing an Atlantic Strategy Group conference on April 25-27th, 2016 in Dakar, Senegal with a focus on economy, trade, security, governance and human development in the Southern Atlantic. The event will be preceded by an informal dinner for conference participants on April 25, 2016.
The convening will see the participation of roughly 40 experts, leading policy makers, academics, businesspeople, and other specialists from Africa, Morocco, Brazil, the United States, and Europe.
The main theme of the conference is “Towards more Prosperity and Security in the Southern Atlantic” and its rationale is as follow:
Countries throughout the southern Atlantic are confronting the effects of geo-strategic and -economic transitions. These are contributing to: 1) new forms of conflict, which may originate in other regions but whose impact is expanding even where geography once served as a buffer; and 2) new challenges to sustainable growth that are driving policy adaptation. In this more fluid strategic environment, the wider Atlantic may have increasing relevance as an approach to that can facilitate practical collaboration that help Atlantic societies protect and advance their interests.
Against this backdrop, changes taking place on the African continent are particularly important. African countries are tackling the difficult task of redefining relationships with traditional partners and managing new partnerships. They are carving out their space in a highly competitive multipolar world through diverse partnerships and regional and continental solutions. The growing presence of China in Africa, primarily in the economic realm but increasingly as a security actor, has had significant implications for relations with the EU, its member states, and the United States. Countries from Brazil to India, Turkey to Indonesia provide further avenues to pursue development goals for the African continent. Alongside a diversification of their external relations, initiatives such as the recently agreed Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) linking the SADC (Southern African Development Community), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), and EAC (East African Community) markets, could have significant impact on continental integration. How African states choose to navigate old and new partnerships will have significant implications for relations with the United States, the EU, and Latin America, particularly Brazil.
Yet, the conversation about the role of Africa in the international system and the external projection of African states has been challenging, given the size of the continent and the political, economic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of its 54 states. National, regional, and continental identities vary, as do development trajectories and strategic interests. Furthermore, Africa has yet to bridge the divide between countries north and south of the Sahara. Countries are also grappling with broad-based reforms geared toward ensuring sustainable economic transformations in a quickly changing global landscape.
This is a particularly valuable moment of inflection in which leading stakeholders in Africa, the EU, the United States, and other Atlantic countries should examine, together, the issues and trends that are re-ordering the international system – and identify the most important areas of convergence as well as the difference that must be managed.
Proposed Program and Format
The conference, preceded by a networking dinner, would include four main themes: economic transformation, trade, security, and governance.
The conference panels are:
- Economic transformation and regional integration: Promoting sustainable, inclusive growth and regional integration in Africa. This panel would seek to explore national and regional development strategies and the role of external actors by addressing questions of capital investments, reform agenda, institutions and capabilities, priority investments (health, education, energy, water, information and communication tech., agriculture). Identifying and debating areas of opportunity for external actors to invest and build mutually beneficial partnerships will be a core aspect of this session.
- Trade and investment: Improving trade among and between southern Atlantic countries will be crucial to driving growth. Overlapping and competing trade and investment agreements, rapidly improving infrastructure, safety of maritime routes have implications for greater economic integration on the African continent and between Africa and Latin America. This third session will address the challenges and opportunities for increased intra-Africa and southern Atlantic trade and investment.
- Security challenges and regional stability: Economies flourish in secure and stable environments. This panel will assess the achievements and challenges for security and regional stability in Africa, with an eye toward transnational criminal and terrorist groups that operate in Africa and have hubs of activity in many parts of the Atlantic space. It will cover issues including capacity building in both structures and forces, highlighting areas of cooperation, and bridging the gap between security forces (corps habillés) and civilian populations. The securitization of migration policies by Northern countries could also be tackled in this session.
- Governance and human development: Establishing transparent and secure political and economic governance. This session aims at addressing questions of accountability, transparency, and illicit flows both within the African region as well as the Atlantic space. The discussion will also consider the human element such as mobility, migration, employment, equality/human rights, and education.
Tuesday 26 April 2016
|09:15 – 10:00||
Transport from the hotel to the conference venue
|10:00 – 10:30||
- Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, President, Institut Panafricain de Stratégies
|10:30 – 12:00||
1st Session: Prosperity and Interdependence: Transforming and Integrating Economies
After years of strong and sustained economic growth, countries of the southern Atlantic are facing a more volatile and uncertain environment. This is due in part to falling agricultural and energy commodity prices, and the economic slowdown of major partners such as China. With many Latin American countries facing recession and structural readjustments, the outlook is uncertain. While unlikely to reach the heights of the early 2000s, growth rates in Africa are expected to strengthen. Despite clear challenges, the recent downturn should also be seen as a window of opportunity for reform as part of a long-term development agenda.
Unlike what was experienced in other parts of the world, and particularly in countries such as Brazil, the green revolution of the previous decades has largely bypassed the African continent. The recent fall in commodity prices, and decrease in revenue for commodity-rich countries, could increase the focus on agriculture and fisheries while also incentivizing states to invest in new sectors and further diversify their economies. Following the COP21 agreement and ahead of the upcoming COP22 in Morocco, African countries are also poised to seize the opportunities of radically transforming the continent’s energy landscape. Efforts to foster trade through regional integration and the creation of trans-national value chains will be critical to diversifying Africa’s economies, and to increasing the regions’ competitiveness globally. Furthermore, rapid technological advances have the potential to generate new opportunities for business and drive structural changes.
- What strategies have countries around the Atlantic used to transition from high growth rates to inclusive and transformative growth?
- Julie Bleeker, Consultant, Private Investors for Africa
Chair: Karim El Aynaoui, Managing Director, OCP Policy Center
|12:00 – 12:30||
|12:30 – 14:00||
2nd Session: Addressing Complex Security Challenges
The increasingly complex internal, transnational, and transregional security threats around the Atlantic Basin directly affect the dignity, livelihoods, and survival of its peoples. From climate change and gender-based violence to public health crises and trafficking in persons, there is no shortage of factors driving human insecurity. Concern about violent extremism and militant groups is growing around the world in light of numerous high-profile attacks, facilitated partly by modern communications technologies and porous borders. The speed with which these threats can grow, occupy new spaces, and metastasize is a challenge to security and law enforcement in many countries and internationally.
Debates over security and the use of force have evolved significantly in recent decades. Greater emphasis has been placed on the role of conflict mediation and diplomacy in attaining security and stability, with less resort to coercion. When hard power and lethal force are the only option, governments seek strategies that minimize harm to innocents and are viewed as legitimate by publics. As policymakers try to bolster human security, opportunities for cross-sector collaboration can be explored to build and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, and secure Atlantic space.
- What tools are available to connect stakeholders to prevent violent conflict and promote human rights? How can the gap between security forces and civilian populations be bridged?
- Youssef Amrani, Chargé de Mission, Royal Cabinet
Chair: Terence McNamee, Deputy Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
|14:00 – 15:30||
|15:30 – 17:00||
3rd Session: Good Governance and Human Development
In the current context of shifting population dynamics, migration, and labor shortages, investing in human capital is vital for governments to ensure growth and stability. Countries around the Atlantic space are facing significant technological shifts that are changing the shape of their societies, altering the way they do business, and creating new opportunities. In order to develop the human potential to drive the next wave of development, improve governance to unlock economic growth, and protect basic human rights, adapting to this new landscape and sharing best practices will be essential.
Political shifts in Cuba, Venezuela, and Argentina have the potential to improve governance and macroeconomic management. Brazil struggles with a massive corruption scandal and economic downturn, but there is potential for significant benefit in the medium- to long-term if the norms around corruption fundamentally change as a result.
Countries across the Atlantic are facing questions about the impunity of the elites, and many African countries are grappling with third-term limits for heads of state. Meanwhile, the United States and European Union are facing angry publics that have lost confidence in the ability of the political elite to deliver positive outcomes for them and solve problems. With the magnitude of change and a seeming inability to keep up with the expectations of their people, governments around the Atlantic space have their work cut out for them. Harnessing the full potential of technological revolution and shifting norms will require innovative and adaptive approaches to meeting the needs of increasingly connected publics.
- What new educational tools and models are creating successful outcomes that could be replicated?
- Koenraad Adam, Director Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium
Chair: Amsatou Sow Sidibé, Professor of Law and Political Science,
|17:00 – 17:30||
|17:30 – 19:00||
4th Session: Investing in the Atlantic: Avenues for Trade, Investment, and Economic Integration
Economic integration through trade is a crucial aspect of creating a cohesive Atlantic space. With trade deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), there are concerns that these mega-regional agreements could have potentially negative effects on emerging economies – especially in the case of the South Atlantic. Countries not involved in mega-regional trade deals could face increased pressure to adopt new norms and standards. The different economic models in Mercosur countries and Pacific Alliance countries shows a Latin American divide on how great a role the market should play versus the state. The EU-Mercosur free trade negotiations could shift the transatlantic dynamic if successfully concluded. The recent renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the signature of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the European Union and a number of African regional economic communities, and the recently agreed Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) further complicate the picture. The role of the World Trade Organization (WTO), once the key player of multilateral trade governance, is also being challenged. The intricate web of trade and investment deals linking Atlantic countries to one another keeps being woven.
- When it comes to economic cooperation, what are the implications of overlapping trade and investment agreements?
- Rafael Benke, President, Brazilian Center for International Relations
Wednesday 27 April 2016
|10:00 – 11:30||
5th Session: Over the Horizon: Atlantic Opportunities and Atlantic Challenges
The notion of the wider Atlantic has gained considerable momentum in intellectual and policy terms over the past few years, driven by geopolitical and geo-economic shifts. There is a growing debate about mental maps in the Atlantic space, and what is implied by transatlantic relations beyond the traditional north-north axis. Latin America, Atlantic Africa, and the Caribbean are an integral part of the Atlantic policy space, even if they have not received equal attention in the transatlantic discourse. That said, the wider Atlantic environment is evolving rapidly. Brazil, South Africa, and other key actors in the southern Atlantic all face considerable economic and security challenges, and their ability to drive south-south and north-south cooperation is potentially more constrained. Successive crises in the northern Atlantic and the resulting emphasis on domestic and regional challenges could also impede setting an ambitious wider Atlantic agenda. Beyond the role of states, trans-regional issues are at the heart of the wider Atlantic scene, including evolving migration and trafficking routes, security spill-overs, and energy and maritime challenges.
- Looking ahead, what are the trends that will shape Atlantic futures?
- Abdelhak Bassou, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center
Chair: Alfredo Valladão, Professor, Sciences Po; Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center
|11:30 – 12:15||
Conversation with the Honorable Mark Anthony Graham Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, Government of St. Kitts & Nevis, and President Pedro Pires, Co-chair of the board, Institut Panafricain de Stratégies
Led by John Yearwood, World Editor, Miami Herald
|12:15 – 12:30||