The Future of the Atlantic and the Role of Africa in International Development

The 2014 USACOR report forecasts that economic cooperation across the Atlantic will increase through the implementation of free trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the development of free trade areas in the African continent. Such agreements shall be complemented by multilateral security cooperation to prevent conflicts, asymmetric warfare and also to guarantee food and water security. The report recommends that free trade agreements be supported by fair labor and antitrust laws to protect working and middle classes, common environmental regulations and multilateral mechanisms for dispute resolution.

The report underlines the vast availability of undiscovered mineral resources, especially in Africa, and the need for public-private partnerships to exploit such resources. It stresses the importance of environmental protection in the exploration and extraction of resources to preserve the fragile ecosystem.

The main priority for economic development in Africa is the improvement of the health condition of its population. The education is essential to promote religious tolerance and harmony in a diverse religious environment.

The report also recommends limiting factory fishing within territorial waters and reforesta­tion through soil enhancement techniques. The use of genetically engineered photosynthesizing bacteria would increase the production of electricity. Many types of algae and bacteria can flourish in salt water, conserving fresh water for saline-adverse crops.

Vaccination and water sanitation are the two factors that would improve the health conditions in Africa. Investments from the private sector in conjunction with public institutions are necessary to implement such techniques and to foster sustainable economic development in Africa.

1. Legal and Political Issues

(a) The Development of Free Trade Agreements in the Atlantic Region

Francesco Stipo

Although the beginning of the third Millennium was characterized by a shift in the world’s economic growth from the Atlantic to the Pacific region, the Atlantic is still the center of world’s economic prosperity. In fact, as of 2012, the European Union and the United States had respectively the first and second highest GDP in the world, which contributed to 40% of the world’s economic output.

“The development of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement can boost the global economy and increase cooperation among countries with homogeneous political systems and economies.”

Strong international trade between America and Europe induced the countries in the Atlantic region to open their economic borders and launch in 2013 negotiations for a comprehensive trade and investment agreement called TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

The European Commission estimates that the TTIP could boost the European economy by 120 billion, the U.S. economy by 90 billion and the rest of the world by 100 billion euros. The agreement covers several aspects of bilateral U.S.-EU trade such as “market access for agricultural and industrial goods, government procurement, investment, energy and raw materials, regulatory issues, sanitary measures, services, intellectual property rights, sustainable development, small- and medium-sized enterprises, dispute settlement, competition, customs/trade facilitation, and state-owned enterprises.”§

The development of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement can boost the global economy and increase cooperation among countries with homogeneous political systems and economies. However, to develop sustainable economic growth, it is our recommendation that this agreement includes provisions for fair labor and antitrust laws to protect working and middle classes, common environmental regulations and multilateral mechanisms for dispute resolution. We also recommend that the TTIP not be restricted to the North Atlantic region but also extended to countries in Latin America and Africa that share the same values as their North Atlantic counterparts.

(b) Security Cooperation across the Atlantic

Keith Butler

The major transatlantic political and security entities that currently exist include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). While NATO is the only defense treaty organization among countries in the North Atlantic, there exists the potential for expansion of defense and trade organizations into the South Atlantic countries, both in Western Africa and South America. The Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU) are the two major political treaty organizations in the South Atlantic that are involved in transatlantic relations with NATO, the EU, and NAFTA.

There are a number of persistent security, political, and economic issues that have a direct impact upon transatlantic relations. Of particular note is the issue of food scarcity, which continues to be a major factor that has caused destabilization in North Africa, and could affect West Africa and South America in the future. Access to fresh water is another issue that affects almost all transatlantic nations, and may impact the future of agricultural production among both developed and developing countries among the transatlantic community. Economic growth has slowed down significantly among the developed countries in the region since 2008, and a general malaise in trade flows persists. The illicit trafficking in drugs, weapons, and people across transatlantic borders continues despite efforts by various governments to reduce illegal activity. While there are bi-lateral trade relations among a number of countries (such as that between NAFTA and the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA), most of the trade mechanisms among the transatlantic community exist within the larger World Trade Organization (WTO).

Overall, there are significant issues that affect the political, economic, and security relations of nations within the transatlantic region. While the North Atlantic countries have strong political, economic, and security treaty organizations, the South Atlantic countries have an opportunity to better integrate their regions with the larger Atlantic community. It is highly doubtful that the South Atlantic countries will integrate into, or promote the idea, of a transatlantic defense security and economic regime. However, as the regional blocks in South America and Africa develop, then perhaps a more comprehensive transatlantic community will emerge.

(c) Food Security and International Development in Africa

Roberta Gibb Welch Esq.

Agriculture has been a major area of development in Africa.

“Perhaps the biggest threat to African development comes from Africa itself.”

The complex interlocking patterns of land acquisition and ownership that are fundamental to development are global in scope and mutual and multifaceted in nature at one end of the spectrum, with impoverished subsistence farmers operating at the other end. Africa possesses the largest reserve of undeveloped, agriculturally amenable, common lands in the world.

Worldwide, land is at a premium. As the price of food escalates, driven by demand and by commodities speculators, the contest for land intensifies. Both Africa and South America are relatively land rich, while China, India and Europe are relatively densely populated, so there is a North-South asymmetry as well as an East-West asymmetry. North American-based multinational corporations are buying up and leasing agricultural and forest lands in Africa and South America. European and Chinese corporations, both private and state owned, oil-rich Middle Eastern countries and South East Asian corporations are also scrambling to buy land in Africa, South America and to a lesser extent in the Middle East.

The cultivation of microorganisms as a source of fuel and food will serve to expand our food and energy resource technology and to provide a foundation for food production in the future. Bacteria and algae are potent sources of food for humans and for livestock. Genetically engineered photosynthesizing bacteria can also double as a means of producing electricity. Many types of algae and bacteria can flourish in salt water, thus conserving fresh water for saline-adverse crops. Moreover, advances in protein research have made it possible to grow animal protein in cats. This is a technology that can lend itself to development in Africa and will also attenuate the need for huge tracts of grazing land for livestock and grain production.

The future of food production and development in Africa will no doubt involve a mixture of large agribusinesses, small and medium sized farms, urban and suburban gardens, fishponds, fish farms, microorganism crops and vat protein production. The development of all of these technologies in Africa is a road to the future that will help Africa and Africans to flourish and also provide resources for the world.

Perhaps the biggest threat to African development comes from Africa itself; first in the form of terrorists and terrorist organizations that disrupt governments and wreak havoc on civil societies; second in terms of tribal, religious and ethnic hatreds that burn out of control as over-population, poverty and the extremism born of fear, false beliefs, hunger, and mental, emotional and physical illness which drive massive acts of genocide; and third, in the untrammeled power of brutal dictatorships and corruption that are an anathema to democratic civil and human rights.

Francesco Stipo: Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science; Chair, Legal & Political Committee, US Association, Club of Rome
Anitra Thorhaug: Chair, Energy & Environment, US Association, Club of Rome
Marian Simion: Chair, Health & Religion Committee, US Association, Club of Rome
Jack Allison, Keith Butler, Ryan Jackson, Roberta Gibb Welch: The biographies of co-authors can be found at
† See World Bank,
‡ See European Commission,
§ See European Commission,

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