3rd Postcolonial Meeting: Covid19 & Trade - Talk by Prof. Ken Okamura


What is it about GlobalMatch's Postcolonial meetings? Scroll down below the protocol


After last weeks separate discussions in the Global North and Global South Meeting Rooms we came together in a joint discussion to share our results and, more especially, to have Mr. Ken Okamura reacting to our questions. Mr. Ken Okamura is professor for economics and finance at Oxford University and advisor for trade related affairs for many governments. More information on Mr. Ken Okamura here. We are very grateful for his attendance and insights.


Q&A with Mr. Ken Okamura



Protocol

3rd Combined Online Meeting, Global South & Global North, on 20th of May

"How does Covid19 affect the production and consumption relationships between Global North and Global South?”


Guest Speaker: Mr. Ken Okamura

Participants: Svenja, Himadri, Saikat, Opolot, Charles, Caesar, Bright, Chaoran, Sebastian, John, Kathrin, Enock, Edward Moderator: Saikat Protocol Writer: Himadri


The video above shows the discussion with Mr. Ken Okamura in detail. We touched on questions such as what are the current implications of Covid19 on trade between Global North and Global South; Which industries will suffer most under the crisis and who profits?; What are future predictions for global trade? What can consumers do to strengthen a global economy that is more balanced in terms of access to capital? The talk focussed on different developments regarding the crisis of food and equipment in different regions which reflect not on the availability of those items in that region, but rather on the different entitlements to the distribution of items. Although localization of production is being widely projected as a solution, Mr. Okamura pointed out that the localization of all kinds of production and businesses in one country is exceedingly difficult given the availability of resources and other conditions. There are historical and political reasons for how the current global productions and consumtion patterns are structured the way they are today. (Not to say that they cannot be improved) The flow of goods, capital and people across the globe will stay also after teh crisis, thinks Mr. Okamura. At the same time improving rule of law, flow of information and capital to Global South will help in reducing the gap between Global North and Global South. While Global trade will remain in place post Covid19, national and international economies are going to witness some major changes, like the diversification of industries in Global South, tax increase and less of focus on SDGs.


"Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

- Publilius Syrus


After Mr. Okamura answered some more questions by participants, the group remained in the online meeting room to reflect on the points being made by our special guest speaker. Participants felt they had gained valuable insights. However, doubts remained as to what extent a balanced global trade can be achieved, since more investment from Global North in Global South would mean more dominance and interference of developed countries in the governance and trade of developing countries. Even if the tourism industry, an especially hard hit industry, is to regain post Covid19 with all precautions and measures, the flights are likely going to be more expensive. This could mean that only already privileged people will be able to afford traveling. With prises rising in general, it led us to think that the gap between privileged and less privileged people and countries might increase as a consequence of the crisis. This is contrasting our mild hopes that the crisis could bring about a change. One participant noted that todays talk made clear how the crisis has become much more of an economic crisis than a health crisis. Not only governments are concerned with the falling GDP but people are taking to the streets to protest again the lockdowns in order to resume their business to save them. Some participants also remark that those countries that will not be able to control the virus might fall (even further behind) in global trade. Moreover, citizens from those countries will not be allowed to enter other countries nor will those countries with high Covid19 rates receive visitors/tourists. This might even cause more development and foreign aids funds to be agreed upon, something that we consider rather as a vicious cycle than a help. In our next meeting we will therefore discuss the relation between Covid19 and development aid. Sign up here for our next Postcolonial discussion coming Wednesday!


About GlobalMatch's Postcolonial Meetings Do we want to go "back to normal" or is there time and space for change?

At GlobalMatch we aim at bringing people together and we believe that it is even more important to do so in times of a global crisis. While the world is at lock down and social distancing is key we invited people from Global South and Global North to come together in online meeting rooms and to talk about more than the everyday-corona-talk.


Originally, this series of Postcolonial Meetings started in Kampala, Uganda, offline. When we planned to start these discussion groups in Germany, we didn't know yet how much a pandemic would alter our everyday lives and global relations so quickly.

However, the crisis shows how deeply connected everything is, how much connected we are. And it brings up a lot of questions!


Why do we meet separatly first? Each topic will be discussed on two following Wednesday evenings. On the first Wednesday, two meetings take place simultaneously, one for Global South (8 pm EAT) and one for Global North (7 pm CET), each in their own online meeting room. At GlobalMatch we aim to connect people and to provide a safe and open space for discussion. Reflecting about postcolonial topics can become quite sensitive at times. For the sake of more openness and comfort we will first have the discussion separately to get familiar with each topic. On the following Wednesday we come together for a combined discussion. Everyone is welcome to join!

Sign up here for our next Postcolonial discussion coming Wednesday!


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