Rubén Rivero Capriles

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Establishing further ties between Africa and South America

A long term goal could be to expand direct scheduled commercial airline and ocean freight service between South American and African countries through private investors willing to establish a true global infrastructure. Help from governments is certainly useful, but our political systems are generally prone to corruption and diverted resources.

In terms of tourism and emigration, South Americans like to travel to North America and Africans like to travel to Europe. In that sociological context, promoting direct trave between Africa and South America is quite tough at this time. We should continue establishing online bonds between our people, so that eventually our fresh intercontinental market becomes big enough for transportation companies to profitably establishing direct air and sea routes. We need more convenient transportation options to develop our intercontinental tourism industry.

The borders between contiguous African and South American countries are inherited from colonial times and they continue separating kindred from each other. These intracontinental rivalries do not seem on their way to being resolved any time soon. In the mean time, we should promote a very strong bilateral relationship between South Africa and Brazil. The next two Football World Cups as well as a future Olympiad will take place in either of these countries. Africans and South Americans from across our continents should take advantage of the global rise of Brazil and South Africa, because the smaller countries might also accelerate the integration between our various local cultures through the help of the big two.

The history of slavery is far from having been exhaustively studied. It is easier nowadays to construct a person's genealogy tree through sites such as geni, myheritage and even facebook. It would be interesting that a team of Nigerian, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast researchers teamed up with Caribbean, Colombian, Venezuelan and Brazilian counterparts with the goal of finding out their common ancestors.

The petroleum and gas industries of Venezuela and Nigeria are facing tremendous production challenges due to internal conflicts arising from our local populations. Perhaps a stronger integration among the people of our countries could divert some interest out of nationalistic subsidies back into meritocracy. Our countries are potentially rich in developing alternative sources of energy, but the legal issue of private vs. state ownership of resources remains as a significant drawback to investment, research and development.

I have not studied any of these issues in depth and I am sure there are people out there who are much more qualified than me to propose a framework for establishing further ties between our continents. The main purpose of this essay is to promote a wake up call to other Africans and South Americans to further develop our direct interaction within the context of competitive globalization.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 19, 2009