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What about the African Union, which at least in theory aspires to become like the EU? North African countries could not join your "Euromediterranean union" and remain in the African Union.

Morocci could join the EU, though, as it is the only African state that hasn't joined the AU. However, it's hard to imagine that the EU would think about admitting Morocco unless the Western Sahara issue were settled. (And the AU's recognition of Western Sahara is the reason why Morocco is not a member.)

by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about the African Union, which at least in theory aspires to become like the EU?

There's two thousand kilometres of nothing between North Africa and the AU. And, unlike the Mediterranean, Sahara doesn't even have the redeeming value of enabling bulk transportation of goods with minimal energy and manpower input.

And, well, the AU isn't terribly enticing as economic blocs go...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:25:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the EU's Mexico/SA.

And it has resources, including metals, energy (potentially), diamonds, and basic food stuffs.

And a cheap labour force.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 08:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
And a cheap labour force.

Indeed, and a growing one at that.

The African population of one billion is expected to double in the next 50 years. What will that do to labor supply?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 12:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on how far inland it expands and on how able (and willing) local political bodies will be to plan infrastructure and industrial plant with manufacturing in mind. You can have a billion people in a land-locked country, but unless they have a rail line, a road or a navigable river to get their produce potential buyers, they are not in the global labour force.

And it depends on how successfully the people who would really rather see Africa continue to be a resource provider, rather than a place of manufacture, are going to be in sabotaging industrial development there. So far our Dear Leaders have been depressingly successful at that sort of exercises.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 01:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think here the argument is that North Africa is potentially the EU's Mexico and sub-Saharan Africa is potentially the EU's Central and South America.

Of course, sub-Saharan Africa's external economic relationships could potentially be dominated whichever potential hegemon can offer a relationship that drives progressive development in sub-Saharan Africa ... and there is no guarantee that all regions of sub-Saharan Africa will swing the same way.

One substantial advantage of an African Union over a West African, Central African, East African, or Southern African Union is that the African Union poses no risk of going anywhere, so it can be trotted out as evidence of government support of Pan-Africanism without ever forcing a government to change any of its policy to actually support African Union.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 01:32:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One substantial advantage of an African Union over a West African, Central African, East African, or Southern African Union is that the African Union poses no risk of going anywhere, so it can be trotted out as evidence of government support of Pan-Africanism without ever forcing a government to change any of its policy to actually support African Union.

The Foreign Office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe. The Civil Service was united in its desire to make sure that the common market didn't work. That's why we went into it.

[...]

It's just like the United Nations, in fact; the more members it has, the more arguments it can stir up, the more futile and impotent it becomes.

- Sir Humphrey



Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's one huge problem with that analogy, though.  South America has at least a few countries with generally functioning governments, infrastructure, and educated populations.  Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela have their problems, but they're nothing on the order of that faced by Nigeria or Kenya, let alone Rwanda, or basket cases like Zimbabwe.

The West has done nothing to help, and a lot to actively hurt Africa.  But there is a lot of domestic state-building that the peoples of these countries need before they're going to be comparable to much of South America.

by Zwackus on Fri Aug 27th, 2010 at 01:31:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The African Union is not one sovereign state.

The African Union (abbreviated AU in English, and UA in its other official languages) is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 53 African states. The only African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002,[4] the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Read more...

The geographic "distance" between Morocco and AU member states is defined by the (disputed) boundaries of that nation, not "two thousand kilometres of nothing."

Here's recent news from "nothing," where no "North Africans" need apply to "Black Africa."

The Joint Military Staff Committee of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger will be based in Tamanrasset. They want to increase co-operation and move towards joint operations against terrorism, kidnappings and trafficking.

Militants have exploited a lack of co-ordination in the past, evading capture by crossing from one state to another. The US and other Western countries have warned that unless the governments of the region join forces, al-Qaeda could turn the Sahara desert into a safe haven and use it as a base for launching large-scale attacks.

Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 11:31:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... here's another one:

For transportation and communications purposes - in other words, for the drivers of economic and political integration - North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa might as well be different continents. In fact, integration would be easier if Sahara were a navigable water body, since overland transportation is a real PITA compared to sailing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 12:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is a miracle that peoples of "North Africa" have any idea that the desert is not the end of the world.

Thank god, Columbus discovered Cape Town.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 03:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice try, but that ain't the point. The point is that from any technical, economic or practical perspective, the Mediterranean is quite simply a smaller barrier to integrate across than the Sahara.

Of course, North Africa should be perfectly free to pick their alliances, or remain alliance-free for that matter. And Europe should support North African political and economic development under whatever banner it takes. Not just for altruistic reasons either - stable, prosperous neighbours make for a better neighbourhood.

... But if I were sitting in a government office in Cairo or Tunis, I know which compass point I'd place my bets on.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 04:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, I understand the "point" of the pop density map is to dramatize natural barriers, oceans of sand and sea, languages and tyrannies, religions and so forth, between civilized peoples. The natural barrier between North Africa and Europe is smaller than the barrier between North Africa, therefore Europe, and "Black Africa" is insurmountable. Regardless of whatever.

Reflecting on a trope of 18th century neo-Hellenistic phases of humanity would be comical if it were not 2010 and its repetition so eurocentric, mindless, and creepy.

So where we will disagree apparently is in acceptance of a foregone conclusion: the necessity of "integrating" Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, and Egypt with Europe for all practical, technical, and economic intents and purposes of a plan devised by the Club of Rome and the Union for the Mediterranean, programmed by M. Sarkozy (UMP). <insert concern troll>

The only purpose I've read at ET, until  Melanchthon alluded to consummating "centuries of shared history, economy and culture," is to expropriate energy resources in the Sahara which --you've illustrated so graphically-- are obviously idle inspite of Europe's great time of "decarbonised" fuel needs.

60 years ago it was rubber and oil. 100 years ago, iron ore and oil. 200 years sugar and slaves. 400 years ago, gold.

The PwC business case, "100% Renewable, a roadmap to 2050 for Europe and North Africa," is here. This is a thoroughly researched strategy for expropriation, where "the integration of North Africa and Europe" is nothing more than "the smooth flow of electricity and revenues" to Europe to be consumed.

This story is credible. This story is consistent with compulsive, acquisitive premises of industrial governance. It kinda squeals for lipstick.

Like European investment banks supporting "North African political and economic development" because Algeria, Lybia, or Egypt are close, good neighbors.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 01:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and the only reason the EU expanded to Central and Eastern Europe was to take over the exploitation structure put in place by the Soviet Union to the Wes's benefit.

Are you saying that there is no path to genuine cooperation between Europe and Africa, because it can only be about exploitation of Africa by Europe? Or what?

The Mediteranean basin was a single world centuries ago, and the links have never really left. Quite frankly, quite often it feels like there is more in common between a Marseillais, a Sicilian, a Tunisian or a Lebanese than between a Marseillais and a Dane...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:52:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... of a thread some time ago (hello Migeru!) where Mig produced an interesting outline/map for Europe of economic/cultural areas based upon watersheds, river basins, natural barriers etc.

I have been focusing my efforts for some time on the historic 'Hanseatic' area around the North and Baltic Seas, but extensible to (say) Ireland, Iceland, Faroes and so on.

It seems to me that the Mediterranean basin is in many ways a more natural geo-political, cultural and economic nexus than the national and international accidents of history we have.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 09:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot speak to the vagaries of continental European alliances with Russia or against the USSR.

Unless you care to discuss adventures in Angola.

Are you saying that there is no path to genuine cooperation between Europe and Africa, because it can only be about exploitation of Africa by Europe?

If there were a "path to genuine cooperation" --in contrast to resource exploitation and postcolonial suzeraignty-- it would be self-evident at this point in time in the "genuine" integration of cultural and material enterprises among and between peoples in Africa and Europe.

We be celebrating "liberalization" of capital flows and human migration assured by intergovernmental administration of EU and African Union members. We would be celebrating the resolution of COP15.

But no.

And I am walking a ring of a self-deception about "natural" barriers to cooperation. The fantasy that French West Africa does not exist. But a cosmopolitan metropolis of antiquity is risen.

To serve the purposes of a Greater Europe.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:
If there were a "path to genuine cooperation" --in contrast to resource exploitation and postcolonial suzeraignty-- it would be self-evident at this point in time in the "genuine" integration of cultural and material enterprises among and between peoples in Africa and Europe.

It is true that the current relationship between European countries (mainly France and the UK) and most of the Sub-Saharan African countries is still shamefully neocolonialist.

But do you mean that because a genuinely cooperative relationship doesn't exist, it cannot exist? At the end of the 1940s, one could have said a European Union was not possible...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:46:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
re: "But do you mean that because a genuinely cooperative relationship doesn't exist, it cannot exist?"

As I've described "a genuinely cooperative relationship": Not in my lifetime.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:15:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:
Not in my lifetime.

Ah, but I was thinking long term. And, as Jérôme Keynes would tell you: "In the long term, we're all dead"...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe has been evil and will always be evil. I get it. What are you doing on European Tribune, exactly?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:04:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had supposed for the many of the reasons you continue to post at dailykos.

Now I know better.

good-bye.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 12:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that I'm not writing that nothing good could ever come of any policy coming out of America, just because it is coming out of America. I've been critical of policies, and politicians but I don't think I've ever written on dKos "whetever you do, it's bad" like you basically did about Europe in this thread.

So,non the comparison is not valid.

In any case, I'm not denying Europe's colonialist past, nor the continued exploitative beahavior of many of its companies in Africa today, but your blanket rejection that anything done with Africa is going to be exploitative by definition is just not acceptable.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 07:10:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds awfully like love it or leave it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 01:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but there is no room for manoeuver in Cat's position.

It's a different thing to say "there is a significant risk, given the past and some still current European behavior in Africa, that a partnership would end up being unfair" and to say "any partnership will be exploitative because that's what Europeans are and do"

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 07:12:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and if you dare suggest that North Africa joining a Euro-Mediterranean union might make sense economically and politically:

That's your inner, patronizing imperialist speaking


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 07:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fear that it has more to do with self regard and aspiration than with analytic rigor. What Cat was saying comes from perspective highly critical of US and European civilization and its impact on the rest of the world. She cited Edward Said and, to the extent that I understand Said, seems to be mostly consistent with that approach.

While many of us in the US and Europe are critical of the nature of our societies and do not wish them to continue to have the impacts that they have had on much of the rest of the world we have been signally ineffective in bringing about such change -- to the extent that total system collapse is more likely than orderly internal change.

This is not to say that Jerome, Melanchthon and others are not sincere in their desires to bring about such change, but that has not made it so. I took Cat's comments as being directed at the fact and the likely probability of outcome concerning the relationship between the USA, Europe and Africa. On that I personally suspect she is right. "Not in my lifetime" -- unless via collapse. The poison in the soul of our shared cultures is deep and at the root of its organization. We all have to take responsibility for that, whether we are benificiaries, victims or both.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 12:34:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a very real risk that any such relationship will be exploitative. The industrial development business is overrun with economic hit men, pork barrel and assorted other colonial nastiness.

However, the risk of an exploitative economic relationship is, I would argue, an argument for increased involvement of people who are not in favour of colonialism and who know how to spot an economic hit man and beat him at his own game. Because if we do not beat the economic hit men in some way, we'll end up with this, at least if history is any guide:

another scenario would be that Siemens et al build multi-billion-dollar facilities but keep complete control of it, without tech transfer or ownership, and thus it's them selling both to Spain and Algeria even if they also pay rent for the desert land;

Now, project finance and economic and political integration isn't the only battlefield in this particular revolution. But it's an important one, and one that we should not abdicate entirely simply because the rules are tilted against us.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 02:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had wondered where you had gone for part of the final third of August. Part of the answer was found when I read the last 20 or so comments on JaP's diary. Sadly, I also found what had happened to Cat, though trouble seemed to be simmering the last time I looked.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 02:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that part of the final third of August would probably be the part where I had no internet ;-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 8th, 2010 at 10:46:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
???
by vladimir on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 03:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So North African countries are being used in neo-colonialism to extract their resources. And that is happening right now. Then what would be wrong with the North African countries joining the EU? What is wrong with getting the vote?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 04:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The natural barrier between North Africa and Europe is smaller than the barrier between North Africa, therefore Europe, and "Black Africa" is insurmountable. Regardless of whatever.

Very few geographic features are truly insurmountable in the face of the full engineering capacity of a determined modern industrial state. That does not, however, mean that surmounting them would be the wisest use of that engineering capacity.

So where we will disagree apparently is in acceptance of a foregone conclusion: the necessity of "integrating" Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, and Egypt with Europe

There are very few foregone conclusions in international politics. As I said, the states of Northern Africa remain more or less sovereign, and are free to align themselves with whomever they please. If you see anybody offering a better deal than Europe is, please let me know.

for all practical, technical, and economic intents and purposes of a plan devised by the Club of Rome and the Union for the Mediterranean, programmed by M. Sarkozy (UMP). <insert concern troll>

Eh, no. Club Med predates Sarko by a decade or so.

The only purpose I've read at ET, until  Melanchthon alluded to consummating "centuries of shared history, economy and culture," is to expropriate energy resources in the Sahara

Expropriation is one possible scenario, though not one that is likely to involve full integration.

But hey, why not ask Portugal whether they think that integrating with the European community has resulted in an expropriation of their natural resources, or whether Spain believes that they have been treated to a poor deal with their EU membership? Last time I checked, no European country except England had anything resembling the shadow of a majority of its population that was in favour of leaving the EU.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:59:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fine. Credit to Chirac. What difference would it make to your ability to acknowlege the historical, geopolitical significance of its institution and its instrumentality for implementing Desertec? Which is literally the framework, infrastructure, of a Greater Europe.

"As I said, the states of Northern Africa remain more or less sovereign"

I read that. You do not question the necessity of imperialism, although you also remarked earlier,

quite a lot of places still remember what it was like to have Europe at the centre of the world, and most of them would probably really rather prefer it to not happen again...

and

Overcoming that hurdle would require Europe to overcome a substantial internal hurdle as well: To realise how other people feel about last time Europe had empires.

My impression is that most Europeans remain in flat denial of most of the two or three centuries preceding the last world war. Europe cannot reassure former colonies of our benign intentions if we don't display some measure of awareness of historical reality.

Are you joking or do you mean to adopt a patronizing attitude toward the self-determination of nations "invited" to join the EU?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's take a hypothetical example of economic integration:

Algeria, wanting to reduce its dependence on imported coal, decides to install solar panels to provide electricity. Algeria does not possess the capacity to manufacture solar panels domestically, or the capability to build that capacity. So in order to obtain that capacity, they borrow a suitcase full of either US$ or € and hire a bunch of American, SE Asian or German engineers to build them their factories and train their workforce to use them. Why not engineers from Sub-Saharan Africa? Because they don't precisely have a surplus to lend out.

In order to repay the loan, they need hard currency. For sufficiently long amortisation times, they might be able to pay out of the ForEx savings from not having to import coal. But let's say that they want to get out from under the debt relatively quickly so as to not present a target to ForEx piranhas. So they want to sell some of the electricity that they produce. Who are they going to sell it to? The Americas? Russia? Good luck making that economical. The Middle East? The rest of North Africa? They have equivalent solar resources within shorter transmission range. Sub-Saharan Africa? They have superior resources within shorter transmission range. So they make a thirty-year take-or-pay contract with a Spanish utility that rolls out some HVDC cables across the Med.

Net results: Algeria gets electricity paid for by Spanish electricity consumers (and Australian coal miners). After amortisation is complete, Algeria also gets ForEx revenues that can be used to make other infrastructure projects happen that are beyond the technical capabilities of indigenous industry. Algeria gets indigenous solar panel production capacity. Spain gets solar power cheaper than than they would if they had to install the panels at their own latitude. Everybody gets to benefit from the displacement of coal power with solar power.

What, precisely, is wrong with this picture? (Except from the perspective of the Australian coal miners...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
re: "What, precisely, is wrong with this picture?"

It's delusional.

The scenario is predicated entirely by the assumption that the only value of power generation to Algerians, for example, is the market value of surplus capacity, stock, and distribution ("Who are they going to sell it to? The Americas? Russia?"); and energy export is a prerequisite of "economic integration" signified by some amount of EUR reserves accumulated entirely as revenue share of exclusive marketing to EU customers.

That's your inner, patronizing imperialist speaking obliquely about the intractable problem of increasing energy consumption in Europe. This golem cannot conceive of an African nation obtaining project financing to acquire a discrete productive means and extinguish debt. It cannot conceive of any competitive supplier of plant and equipment other than the tools in its chest. Precious hates BRIC brac.

Do you know much wind capacity is actually installed in Algeria? Could you estimate much more renewable energy will Algeria require to (1) replace fossil fuel marked-to-OPEC (2) service its public and private sector population over 80 years or so? This last goal is the most important measure of civilization, by the way, beside industrial capabilities and excess manufacturing capacity, exemplified by Algeria's partners in "economic integration."

Some information is in the Desertec prospectus, for example,

In 2050, we envisage that the EU-NA power system will have a total electricity consumption of at least 5000 TWh/a, with approximately 25% of this demand in [ALL OF] North Africa and the remainer in Europe. In total, only 60% (3000 TWh/a) of the system-wide electricity supply is produced in Europe, whereas 40% (2000 TWh/a) is produced in [ALL OF] North Africa.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 02:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not quite clear on what you think is wrong with a 75/25 split in electricity usage between the present EU and North Africa. North Africa has pretty precisely 25 % of the population of the combined EU+NA system. So, ceteris paribus, we should expect it to have 25 % of the electricity usage. Maybe differences in demographics would tilt the population ratio to 70/30 in 2050, but that's still close enough for corporate work.

The fact that North Africa will have a greater share of electricity production relative to population in an EU+NA system than the EU is not so different from the fact that Italy, France and Spain have a larger share of EU wine production relative to population than Finland, Sweden and Norway. I'm sure that Finland could make fine wine, if they threw sufficient resources at the problem. But that would hardly be the smartest or the most elegant way to provide Europe with wine...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:22:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"project finance"?

Project finance is exactly what Jake described, and you actually could not get project finance in Algeria for a big investment project like he describes but based on local demand, because project financiers want to see high probability cash flows to be in a position to lend, and for some reason (European oppression, probably, they don't trust the locals to pay them back, and require export contracts backed by creditable parties to provide these.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That and the fact that they usually demand €-denominated loans, which means that the project had damn well better have a €-denominated cash flow sufficient to retire those loans on schedule. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for a currency crisis and the accompanying IMF euthanasia of your economy and political sovereignty structural adjustment program.

Unless, of course, one thinks that it's a brilliant idea to deliver developing countries into the waiting arms of an economic hit man.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may raise some more sceptical aspects: this picture would be nice, if it is realised like that. However,

  1. that needs Algeria to consciously follow its interests (and its leaders to resist bribes): for, another scenario would be that Siemens et al build multi-billion-dollar facilities but keep complete control of it, without tech transfer or ownership, and thus it's them selling both to Spain and Algeria even if they also pay rent for the desert land;

  2. I do think that Spain has enough solar resource (and a good one at that) to supply itself;

  3. I am not convinced that the Desertec plans are much more than greenwashing for the companies involved, that is: if realised, it may not grow beyond the scale of a few GW;

  4. Algeria is a bad example, because the government doesn't like Desertec.

Then again, I don't see how Desertec would bring EU integration any closer...

Finally, a nitpick:

Sub-Saharan Africa? They have superior resources

Actually, no: they may have a higher angle of the Sun in the sky, but clouds, too.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
another scenario would be that Siemens et al build multi-billion-dollar facilities but keep complete control of it, without tech transfer or ownership, and thus it's them selling both to Spain and Algeria even if they also pay rent for the desert land;

Yes, that is another possible scenario. Our job as lefties is to make sure that's not the way it turns out.

I do think that Spain has enough solar resource (and a good one at that) to supply itself;

OK, point. I originally used Libya and Italy, but the fact that Libya has oil means that they have access to hard currency to fund the project without building new export infrastructure (ditto for Egypt and the Suez canal), which complicates the argument a little without adding anything substantial to the conclusion.

I am not convinced that the Desertec plans are much more than greenwashing for the companies involved, that is: if realised, it may not grow beyond the scale of a few GW;

I wasn't talking about Desertec specifically - rather, I was thinking a Gazprom-style sovereign utility on the African side and a Ruhrgas-style quasi-sovereign utility on the European side. That seems to have worked out well enough for Russia, and anything that could survive the Yeltsin years is surely a solid design. And solar power - particularly solar power for export via HVDC lines - is an infrastructure business in the same way that natural gas is: You can only sell the power in the places that you have power lines to, and the infrastructure represents a substantial up-front cost.

Unlike gas, however, it does not run out, so if you take good care of your infrastructure, you can keep using it essentially forever. Which in turn means that as soon as it is fully amortised, it makes free electricity in perpetuity (or until Sahara gets a cloud cover or the Earth's axial tilt changes - but in both those cases you'd have to reevaluate your business model for other reasons...).

Sub-Saharan Africa? They have superior resources

Actually, no: they may have a higher angle of the Sun in the sky, but clouds, too.

I was thinking about the Sahara here as well: From a pure production perspective, the smart way to power sub-Saharan Africa would be to start from the south end of Sahara and work your way North. And you'll run out of solar panels long before you reach the border.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpicking your nitpick:

According to your map, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan, which are not usually seen as North African countries, are located in the maximum solar potential zone...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 03:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpicking the nitpicked nitpick: I countered "superior", not "up to just as good" :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 04:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would really like to nitpick your nitpicking of my nitpicking of your nitpick, but the scale of you map doesn't allow it... ;-)

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Use this!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! Then Chad and Sudan are the winners... ;-)

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is not a creation of Chirac, it's EU policy. Sarkozy tried to hijack the EU process for his personal glory (so what else is new) but the EU-Mediteranean cooperation process is not particularly a French-led one. If anything Spain has probably shown more consistent interest.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomads and their trade caravans have been criss-crossing the Sahara for centuries, way before the Europeans. But the Sahara -- like the Atlantic Ocean -- has been a natural barrier.
by Bernard on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:07:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 1500's, obviously the economic integration of North Africa into the Sahelian trading system was by no means trivial, but that was then and this is now. The Sahelian trading system no longer exists as a major economic force.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BruceMcF:
the Sahelian trading system

A significant part of it being slave trade...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 08:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... a size preserving map of the world ...

... to remind us of the size of territory that we are bundling into one economic union for the convenience of not having to grapple with four or five regions each as big or bigger than Peninsular West Asia, aka "Europe".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 10:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are few economical and cultural links between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, even if some countries share a same religion. In fact, as far as I know (I lived several years in North Africa) there is little love between North Africans and Black Africans.

On the other hand, economic, demographic and cultural exchanges between North Africa and Europe have been going on for centuries. Today there are very dense economic and cultural relationships. Indeed, one might say that the North African and European economies are very much integrated: many supply chains both in the manufacturing sector and in the services sector link the two sides of the Mediterranean sea. And it will be more and more so through common projects(Desertec comes to mind) and increased immigration (as soon as we get rid of Sarkozy and Hortefeux).

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 08:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a few Europeans, Italians and French my age, whose parents are comfortably retired in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, for example. Why do you refer to "North Africa" as if the region were a nation-state?

Are these the "North Africans" to whom you refer who have no love for "Black Africans" and foresee economic integration with the EU where none exists now?

How do the various departments and francophone West Africa fit this world view of Greater Europe apart from "Black Africa"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 11:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who said North Africa is a nation-state? North Africa is a geocultural region.

North Africa's economic as well as political integration with Europe was already extensive during the Roman and Byzantine empires (well, only for 9 centuries...).

Today, the North African countries' economies are strongly linked to the EU: it is their first supplier and customer, let alone the remittances from immigrants. And a lot of families have ties on both sides of the Mediterranean.

As far as I know, few people in North Africa feel they have a common destiny with the rest of the continent. And I have witnessed a significant trend of racism against Black Africans in Morocco and Algeria. That might have changed...

French West Africa ceased to exist in 1958. Are you refering to the Economic Community of West African States or to the West African Economic and Monetary Union?

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 12:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... in Francophone African nations is far more pronounced in Central Africa than in West Africa.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 01:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I typed "as if" in response to your remarks. I also modelled with examples the scope of specificity that I hoped you would add in your reply to furnish stereotypical claims about "North Africa." I seek information from you that recognizes variances in economic and political conditions among the nation-states said to comprise that region.

Similarly, I seek some specificity in remarks that characterize division of the continent as "North Africa" and "Black Africa." While I am well aware of the convention in Anglo-European Literature to segregate historical "Arab" settlements from others, south of the Sahel, the significance of this language of preference among economic partners for European "integration" is not immediately clear to me, considering historical, economic relations between "black" nations of "West Africa" and sub-Saharan Africa and imperial Europe up to and after wars of independence.

So, no. I do not refer to the Economic Community of West African States or to the West African Economic and Monetary Union. My article selection is not arbitrary; it offers a context to evaluate the extent of cultural and economic privileges enjoyed by "protectorates" today which may distinguish nominees.

By refering to a particular group of nation-states that complement the arbitrary division of the continent into "North Africa" and "Black Africa," I seek to understand better your criteria --being stereotypically representative of antiracist France, as it must be-- for EU election of trade partners in Africa to EU "integration."

Please do not hesitate to say if proximity and port facilities of partners to EU borders are the crucial criteria, after all.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 02:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:
proximity and port facilities of partners to EU borders are the crucial criteria

That, and centuries of shared history, economy and culture. Add to that population mingling... Whereas the colonisation of Sub-Saharan Africa lasted less than a century.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 03:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
less than half a century? Really?

Darn. I've quoted B. Davidson more than once. My mistake. I should make myself familiar with Article 4 approved texts.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 04:09:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't you read? I wrote less than a century. I was referring to the French (and British) colonisation that started in the second half of the XIXth century. Which means that, for inland countries, colonisation began around 1870-80 and ended in 1958.

By the way, the law created a public uproar and was finally repealed

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 06:01:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah! You are correct. You typed "less than a century." And the "the positive role of the French presence abroad, especially in North Africa" has been roundly disputed since the repeal of the law of official history.

Pardon me. I cannot read.

And I am a mediocre typist.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... theoretical atmosphere there ... I hung around with African students in both Knoxville, TN and Newcastle, NSW, and in a smaller African community, students from all over sub-Saharan Africa hang out together, party together, braid hair together, do favors for each other ... you can go ahead and claim it was externally imposed, but being amongst it, it looked awfully self-organizing.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 05:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pardon. What am I claiming is "externally imposed"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 09:55:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[quote] While I am well aware of the convention in Anglo-European Literature to segregate historical "Arab" settlements from others, south of the Sahel, the significance of this language of preference among economic partners for European "integration" is not immediately clear to me, considering historical, economic relations between "black" nations of "West Africa" and sub-Saharan Africa and imperial Europe up to and after wars of independence. [/quote]

You are saying that the normally closer relationships between, say, Ghanaians and Mozambicans than between Ghanaians and North Africans is to be understood primarily in terms of an imposed convention from Anglo-European literature

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 10:23:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. That is an interesting interpretation, though I didn't intend to characterize "normally closer relationships" between "black" nations at any point in history.

More to my point is the contrast of races in European literature between all "black" societies and those of Arabic speakers anywhere -- but particularly in the "Dark Continent" --who have been identified with the "Caucasian" race in the rise of indo-european civilizations. And by rise, I do not mean perfunctory admiration for the material culture of the "Golden Aga of Islam," but the establishment of arcane academic disciplines to specify the taxonomy of in racial superiority flowing by conquests --first order colonization-- northward from the Upper Nile.

That is to dismiss depradations upon societies that do not flatter "universal" Indo-European mythos.

Systematic destruction of the Ottoman empire throughout Mediterranean Europe (e.g. "classical" Greece) and Africa (e.g. all of "North Africa") describes concisely the impetus of "shared history" culminating in glorified expeditions to Egypt and Algeria.

The introduction to The Protestant Ethic, for exmple, offers a conventional smorgasboard, as it were, of Occidental genius "refined" by international trade and philosophical appropriation up to the day it was published.

Edward Said, of course, takes on in great detail the purposes of Orientalism in literature (and propaganda) of the 19th century to the present.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 10:17:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:
Systematic destruction of the Ottoman empire throughout Mediterranean Europe (e.g. "classical" Greece) and Africa (e.g. all of "North Africa") describes concisely the impetus of "shared history"

Being repeatedly at war with each other doesn't mean countries do not share a common history, culture and even economy: European kingdoms have been at war for centuries. By the way, the Ottoman empire was seen as a European state until its end: during the XIXth century, it was nicknamed "the sick man of Europe". Political and military alliances were made with it (by France and the Republic of Venice, for example) and there was a huge volume of trade with it throughout its history.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes! I noticed. It's a chronically ironic condition of European relations to peoples around the world implies... war.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlike the rest of the world, which always lived in peace.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no peace. There is just war.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:36:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you know that war was invented by Europeans and that they forced other civilisations to adopt their war culture?

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Cheyenne might dispute the assertion that Europe invented war. But they did fail in persuading others to adopt war as a social reference ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 01:08:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Peninsular West Asians (aka Europeans) have been wrong about the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa would seem to be a total red-herring in this context.

Five hundred flawed or flat out wrong explanations for why the bulk of the population of sub-Saharan Africa today have greater cultural affinity for each other than for North Africans does not disprove the cultural affinity.

Pan-Africanism has always solicited and accepted support in North Africa, on the basis of the hope for strength in numbers if nothing else ... and because there are indeed borderland affinities in countries like Mali and Chad, and of course it elides the Sudan problem ...

... but the base of Pan-Africanism is sub-Saharan Africa.

For instance, if UEFA invited in the North African nations, it seems likely they'd leave CAF in a heartbeat. In sub-Saharan Africa, it would be a fraught and heavily politicized issue, with money dueling against heart.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 02:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't intend to characterize "normally closer relationships" between "black" nations at any point in history.

Another way of saying the point is, why in the hell not?

If talking about whether the idea of sub-Saharan Africa is a "real" thing in the here and now, or just a conceptual artefact of Europeans inspired by false theories of "race" ...

... wouldn't the first thing to look for be whether there is a cultural affinity among the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa?

When their nation does not make the World Cup, or if their nation makes the World Cup and then gets eliminated ... if there is a team remaining from Sub-Saharan Africa, people from all over Sub-Saharan Africa cheer for that team.

Of course, its not to say that history does not matter. As my wife says of the people of the Maghreb, they are the people who captured the sister of her grand mother into slavery, and somewhere in the world there are cousins that they know nothing about.

Were the Arab slave traders working on a slave raid somewhere near the bend in the River Congo necessarily from the Maghreb? Were they perhaps from a country like Yemen in the Arabian heartland rather than a country like Morocco in the Maghreb?

For the question at hand, what matters is more that the Maghreb tends to be viewed in Sub-Saharan Africa as a collection of Arab countries that happen to lie on the African continent.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 02:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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