Trans-Atlantic relations in the Southern Cone: A common security agenda

Khanyile, M. B. (1998)

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The countries on both shores of the South Atlantic Ocean have often looked more to the north for solutions to their socio-economic and security challenges than to their counterparts across the ocean. This approach has not only resulted in mutual neglect but has also exacerbated threat perceptions among neighbours. The establishment of the Mercusor (the Common Market of the South) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the Latin American and Southern African regions respectively, signals the awareness of the commonness of challenges and the need for regional solidarity. Through these sub-regional arrangements, inter-state tensions have been reduced drastically but intra-state conflicts still pose the greatest threat to regional stability. However, both regional organisations have 'inward-looking' agendas. Trans- Atlantic exchanges remain peripheral and minimal. Measured in terms of trade flows, for instance, between the two continents, Africa's total exports to and imports from Latin America in 1995 were slightly over two percent of Africa's overall trade. Similarly, Latin America's trade with Africa amounted to just one percent of her overall trade value.

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