Benefits to be found in African Union and Caricom cooperationThursday, February 25, 2021
The history of the Caribbean and the African continent is one that dates back to the slave trade. Over the course of history countries in both regions have been plagued by the same development challenges — poverty, war, crumbling health-care systems, and exploitation from larger global powers, etc.
Today, the Caribbean and Africa boast independent nations looking to forge their own paths and cultivate relationships within and between the regions.
One relevant example of this is vaccine distribution for dealing with COVID-19. Given the similarities in postcolonial developmental challenges it would be beneficial for both regions to facilitate increased cooperation, such as health, trade and transportation, diplomacy, education, etc.
The African Union (AU) and Caribbean Community (Caricom) have more in common and should explore opportunities to further the tenets of multilateralism. The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has shown failures in the global market. These failures have existed for decades and have hindered the growth of the Global South. Regionalism and inter-regional cooperation, for example South-South cooperation, remain among the ways to increase bargaining power to mitigate the effects of the global market on these nations.
The current status of the relationship between the AU and Caricom is promising, but there is still much to be done. Therefore, the need for deeper cooperation remains critical in areas such as trade, diplomacy, tourism, and education. By forging stronger ties, both regions would not only improve regional cooperation, but create avenues for bilateral relations between member states. Increased diplomatic ties will enhance the flow of goods and services through trade agreements, as well as movement of people.
The benefits of mutual cooperation stand to serve the AU and Caricom in the midst of an increasingly globalised world. Therefore, the pursuance of opportunities for both bilateral and multilateral engagements should be of strategic importance to both regional organisations.
Paige N Samuels
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