Foreign & Security Policy

Atlantic Currents 2016: An Annual Report on Wider Atlantic Perspectives and Patterns

December 13, 2016
El Mostafa Rezrazi
Rosa Balfour
Madeleine Goerg
Vera Songwe
Mustapha Mouzouni
Bouchra Rahmouni Benhida
Jack Miles
Ian Cochran
Mariana Deheza
Benoit Leguet
Tayeb Ghazi
3 min read
We are delighted to present this third edition of Atlantic Currents, an annual report charting wider Atlantic patterns and perspectives.

We are delighted to present this third edition of Atlantic Currents, an annual report charting wider Atlantic patterns and perspectives. GMF and the OCP Policy Center are proud of the role we have played in extending the transatlantic debate to embrace the Atlantic Basin, north and south, and in stimulating new thinking about “Atlanticism” for the 21st century — breaking down the often self-imposed barriers to robust dialogue among societies with a deep shared history, and a shared stake in cooperation. The rapid changes on all sides of the Atlantic over the past year only underscore the importance of this Atlantic conversation on issues and ideas. This year, we have devoted special attention to strategic, forward-looking analyses that seek to encourage creative thinking about where we may be headed and how we might get there.

El Mostafa Rezrazi and Mustapha Mouzouni each focus on broad questions of international architecture in their respective chapters. Rezrazi examines Africa’s continental organizational structure with an eye toward the possible emergence of a more cohesive Atlantic-oriented community within Africa, whereas Mouzouni looks to the ocean itself and the means through which countries in the South Atlantic cooperate on the challenges posed by transnational crime, terrorism, and piracy. For the shared ocean to be more successfully managed to the benefit of all Atlantic societies, the South Atlantic must not only develop more effective means of coordinating among contiguous countries but also in how regional groupings collaborate with partners across the ocean.

Vera Songwe delves into detail on the economic side of African integration, pointing to the importance of improving infrastructure, logistics, and access to energy within Africa, among other things. Creating these basic enabling conditions for greater prosperity will likely have positive cascading effects. In developing Africa’s energy resources, Ian Cochran, Mariana Deheza, and Benoît Leguet emphasize the imperatives of low-carbon, climate-resilient development. Focusing on the post-Paris COP21 climate agreement and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, they offer a series of recommendations for how to foster a “green energy revolution” in Africa and elsewhere.

From the European perspective, Rosa Balfour and Madeleine Goerg offer an overview of the recently completed EU Global Strategy and its potential implications for EU-Africa relations. Bouchra Benhida takes a deep dive into the activities of major African and Latin American financial institutions in spreading national influence. Focusing on large banks and sovereign wealth funds, she offers insight into how geo-finance is advancing the interests of certain well-positioned countries, while also providing benefits to recipient countries.

Jack Miles digs into important questions regarding how diplomats and others can talk about the role of religion in international politics, arguing that the current silence is not serving anyone’s interest. Religion is sensitive for good reason, but he offers constructive suggestions for breaking the self-imposed taboo on religion’s role in domestic and international relations. The volume concludes with an in-depth look at economic and social indicators for countries in the Atlantic Basin compiled by Tayeb Ghazi.