Reaching out…

…to Africa
Tomorrow, we shall witness the very first official summit between Africa – represented by the African Union (AU)- and CariCom. In case you didn’t know, Africa is divided by the AU into five regions in Africa and a 6th, outside – the African Diaspora. That’s right dear readers, we’re all members of the African Diaspora – whether we’re of African descent or not. Isn’t that fantastic? So one wonders why some make all that fuss that only one set of people will be receiving Reparations. If we’re all part of the same diaspora out of. Africa shouldn’t we all share in whatever comes our way from the old colonialists?
In fact, we already benefitted from being a part of the AU. We were allowed to purchase 150,000 of the African Union’s allocation of 400 million doses of J&J’s COVID 19 vaccine to the tune of 1.5 million doses. So, what should we be looking forward to on Tuesday? Well, when Mia Mottley was CariCom Chair in her 2020 New Year Message she’d announced that an office-space was already donated in Nairobi, Kenya for CariCom. She’d even installed a plaque in acknowledgement when she visited in 2019. Informing the region about the Summit, Mia said we’re: “claiming our Atlantic destiny as a region as we reach out to our brothers and sisters on the African continent.”
A Caricom release informed us that “Expected outcomes could include greater economic trade and investment opportunities between Africa and the Caribbean; and solidarity in actions to address global challenges including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.” Lots of folks here might still have the image of a famine-stricken African continent that’s been foisted and fostered by the western powers and their media. But in truth, while Africa has problems – and where in the world there aren’t problems? – they’re poised to become the engine of growth for the world – with some of the fastest growing economies in the next few decades. Not so coincidentally Africa will also have about the same population as China.
Greater interaction with Africa might also open up the eyes of some of our rabble rousers here when they get a more granular look at the ethnic realities – there it’s called “tribal” – of even the most well-endowed countries of Africa. Several of them – including the Conference’s host Kenya – have tried many of their suggested “innovations” like coalitions, shared governance, electoral tinkering, etc…but they’re still back working with multi-party parliamentary democracy. Like us in Guyana.
As arch-imperialist Churchill said, “democracy might be the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Like for example Burnham’s Burnham’s Cooperative Republic!!

…for development models
With America seeming to falter – and not just after the Afghan debacle, but as far back as the economic meltdown in 2008 – many pundits are looking at other development models than the one championed by the US. The neo-liberal US model, was dubbed the “Washington Consensus” back in the 80’s when it was unleashed by the IMF in Latin America to “save” a lot of bankrupt economies – including Desmond Hoyte’s PNC in 1989.
So we should know the US model like the back of our hand: limited (a night-watchman) state, privatization of government corporations, financial liberalization (easy money flows) and stabilization monetary policies to contain inflation. But it hasn’t worked here, has it? The million-dollar question is whether that was due to inherent contradictions of the model – or because of our toxic politics.
There’s also the Far Eastern “Flying Geese” model led by Japan with state-fostered-and- led entrepreneurship development.
And now China, with their authoritarian communist undemocratic government running a capitalist economy!!

…and compare
Some may ask, “What about India?” Well, the jury is still out. What exactly is their model?? Muddling through? At least China has brought 800 million out of extreme poverty!!
Match that and then we may talk!!