Africa and Caribbean Economic Ties Necessary
|Map of Africa|
Our thoughts have swung to Africa in recent weeks because of the visits of the Vice President of America Joe Biden and China's President, Xi Linping to the region. Of course, Biden would have reminded the Caribbean leaders of the “great” friendship the Caribbean and America enjoy and Xi Linping would have promised greater aid to the region, promising assistance with trade and underwriting some social projects.
We do not wish to pour cold water on either China’s or America’s presence in the Caribbean. They are two of the most powerful and rich countries in the world and we cannot ignore that fact. Furthermore, Chinese products have been imported to the region for decades and our imports from America are already astronomical.
However, we are concerned that there have been no great and sustainable efforts to open vital trading links with Africa. Americans and Asians are heavily involved in trading with Africa or establishing mega businesses. We seem to ignore our historical links to the motherland of the vast majority of Caribbean citizens. It is most alarming as we approach two centuries since the abolition of slavery, that in most Caribbean nations, we have been this distant from Africa and the possibilities of more economic activity between Africa and the region.
We are also aware that in many African countries political instability has been a deterrent or have made attempts at economic activity difficult. However, we must remind those who use this as an excuse that in many countries facing similar challenges, economic activity and forging vital partnerships do not come to an automatic standstill.
We believe that the images of Africa by the media and a failure to truly educate our young citizens about Africa’s importance to the world economy are some of the many reasons that we are still terribly uninformed about the vast richness of Africa. The opportunities are there for those trying to forge a new and vibrant Caribbean economic path.
We therefore urge our regional leaders to consider Africa and to move swiftly to build partnerships to make Africa an important entity in the new Caribbean economic order.