The Atlantic Currents annual report, a flagship publication of Moroccan think tank Policy Center for the New South, offers a Southern perspective on global and Atlantic issues. The 6th edition of this reference document will be published on December 12 in the presence of some of the authors who contributed to it, as a prelude to the opening of the 8th edition of the Atlantic Dialogues high level international conference.
Aligned with the theme of the conference, “The South in turmoil,” the Atlantic Currents report sheds new light on the challenges facing the Atlantic, North and South, by bringing the voices of the South into the geopolitical debate.
From global to local
As Karim El Aynaoui, President of the Policy Center for the New South and Bouchra Rahmouni, Director of Research, Partnerships and Events, reminds us in their introduction: “Previous editions have explained how this little studied region is divided between tormented in the North and a territory marked by economic, political and social vulnerability in the South. Promoting dialogue and better understanding are key elements to better help Atlantic countries overcome these divisions and breakpoints and to work together on sustainable development.”
The 9 chapters of the report deal with big questions, from the most global to the most local. It addresses “the post-American world”, the “chances of survival” of the current trading system regulated by the World Trade Organization (WTO), or “the future of the European Union”, before address South-Atlantic issues, such as “The expansion of armed groups in the Sahel and warning signals for the West African coastline” and “China and Africa in times of turmoil”, among others.
Policy Center experts and researchers from the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Morocco, Brazil and France addressed economic, diplomatic and cultural issues. The course was set in the preface signed by Aminata Touré, former Prime Minister of Senegal: “The Africa we want is an integrated continent, where its young people and women have real hope for their future and dream of reaching a new level of prosperity and opulence, leaving behind all feelings of fear, anxiety, marginalization, exclusion and victimization in their daily lives.”
Women in the foreground
Nouzha Chekrouni (Morocco), Associate Researcher at the Politics Center, gives a unique perspective on “Women’s Leadership in Africa,” and highlights the place women have among the report’s contributors.
Leading the reflection on “Global Governance in the Post-American World”, Len Ishmael (Saint Lucia), former Ambassador of the Eastern Caribbean States to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union, opens the report with an analysis on the American withdrawal from Western leadership and its consequences for the South: “While the international structure continues to take shape and evolve, the message from the South is simple: Do not force us to choose! Changing power dynamics and the perception of the US and China as competitors and threats instead of partners, push many countries to choose between one or the other”.
Anabel Gonzalez, Costa Rica’s former trade minister, examines the WTO’s stakes and calls for “renewed global governance”, while former representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations, Mohamed Loulichki, discusses the implications a “cultural diplomacy” in the context of the decline of hard power since the end of the Cold War.
For her part, Dominique Bocquet (France) focuses on the entanglement of Brexit, euroscepticism and populism as symbols of the new order, questioning the “future of the EU”.
Sahel, China-Africa, African agriculture and Atlantic economies
In the second part of the report, Rida Lyammouri (Morocco) examines the expansion of armed extremist groups in the Sahel, focusing on the West African coasts.
In addition, Marcus Vinicius de Freitas (Brazil) sheds light on China and Africa: “A strong temptation to treat China as Japan or the Soviet Union of the past has emerged, he writes. However, the two prescriptions are false (…) Although some would like to see a new Cold War, this scenario does not correspond to the Chinese perspective nor to its long-term interests, because it would destabilize a vital balance of powers in its own neighborhood. China.”
Fatima Ezzahra Mengoub (Morocco) and Olisaeloka Okocha, a former Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leader (ADEL) of Nigeria, discuss the use of technology in the African agricultural sector to enhance growth. Finally, Moroccan economists Tayeb Ghazi and Youssef El Jai draw a comprehensive map of convergence in each subregion of the Atlantic area, calling for more action to improve relations between countries.
As pointed out by Karim El Aynaoui and Bouchra Rahmouni, “The report offers not only a diagnosis of turbulence in the world order and the Atlantic basin, but also promising prospects and pioneering projects, including social innovation in response to social problems, women’s empowerment, cultural diplomacy, intercultural dialogue, as well as the digital revolution as a beneficial force and tool for enhanced cooperation.”