TOWARDS “ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION”
A Concept Note
The global COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Live Matter (BLM) movement have rapidly escalated the need to address a range of deep-seated economic and social issues impacting millions of people across the world and have reshaped the thoughts and actions of many. For countries in Africa and the Caribbean, as well as countries where members of the African Diaspora reside, they have brought back to the fore underlying weakness and disparities in economic structures that are inextricably linked to the history of slavery, colonization and imperialism that have produced and reinforced systemic inequities, injustices, poverty and underdevelopment.
The COVID/BLM duality represents opportunity to rethink these long-standing issues through new lens – a 2020 vision – and another opportunity to reshape and restructure our countries and our world post COVID-19. It has heightened the urgency to RETHINK as well as act to ACT.
Recognizing the significance of pre-existing market constraints within and across countries that have choked off economic opportunities for many, now worsened by COVID-19, there is now an urgent need to upgrade our engagement in global markets to better reflect the nature and demands of international competition. Trade, investment, development and empowerment actions are needed to not only increase wealth creation but also address social concerns. This is especially urgent for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with limited markets.
A group of business persons, philanthropists, scholars, creatives and development experts in Africa, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora, having carefully reflected on this moment, is committed to finding new solutions and enhancing existing prospects for creating and penetrating new markets and forging new relationships and partnerships that can contribute to transformative economic development. A first step is to invite like-minded individuals to join a conversation about “Economic Emancipation.”
A PROPOSED “ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION” EVENT
August 1st (or the first Monday in August) is celebrated as Emancipation Day in several Caribbean countries/territories and is focused on commemorating the day enslaved Africans “received freedom from slavery.” In the context of the 2020 COVID/BLM duality, it is now imperative that we learn lessons from the past and highlight economic emancipation and its related governance framework as central to the commemoration of Emancipation Day.
To invigorate Trade, Investment, Development and Empowerment (TIDE) actions of economic actors across Africa, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora, especially among countries in the Southern hemisphere, giving real meaning to South/South trade and investment.
- To increase understanding and awareness of the importance of economic emancipation in reshaping a post-COVID-19 economy and society.
- Create and foster business relationships and multi-sectoral partnerships/networks that can create wealth and contribute to transformative economic and social development
ACTIVITIES TO ACHIEVE OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE 1: “Economic Emancipation Day” Webinar on August 1, 2020
Panel Discussion: What Does “Economic Emancipation” Mean Today?
OBJECTIVE 2: Relationship Building, Income Generation & Advocacy
- Follow-up facilitated meetings to foster specific business relationships and multi-sectoral partnerships/networks that are wealth creating
- Undertake specific national, regional and/or international advocacy campaigns
 Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua, Anguilla, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines