"Gringos" Discuss Effects of Moroccan Aid at Buenos Aires Conference

"Gringos" Discuss Effects of Moroccan Aid at Buenos Aires Conference

     Center For Global Business Founder and Director Fiona Sussan and Center Fellow Lou Daily have “followed the money” and will be presenting the results at the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) 2017 Conference in Buenos Aires.  The paper, on the entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) of Morocco, examines a number of start-ups and accelerators in Morocco.  Morocco, of course, is geographically situated very close to Europe and hence possesses vital geo-political significance to the West.  In fact, it is no secret that the US and the West in general consider the whole MENA region (Middle East, North Africa) to be an effective focus for financial aid in order to resurrect sagging EEs (many post-revolution), to discourage radicalization of youth, and to bridge cultural divides.  The post WW2 Marshall plan comes to mind as an earlier version of the use of US aid which served both a humanitarian and political purpose.  USAID, in its own words, still has these two avowed goals – both humanitarian and political.  When we look into Moroccan start-ups and accelerators, and “follow the money”, we frequently find the presence of USAID funds.

     But there is a complication.  Is USAID, as presently constituted, taking sides in an economic debate?  Is there a commitment to “neoliberalism”, an economic philosophy which some might equate with “neocolonialism”?  When USAID talks of “free markets”, does this really promote “freedom”?  Our founding fathers knew nothing of this concept of freedom, and in fact were always hypervigilant on the issue of large organizations and banks, always suspecting they were enemies of freedom.  Criticism of USAID has come from the right (William Easterly) and left (Immanuel Wallerstein, Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz).  Bill Clinton famously stated in regard to African famine during his administration: “We Blew It”, referring to US, IMF, and World Bank policies during that era. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-clinton-we-blew-it-on-global-food/  It doesn’t help either that President Trump incessantly speaks of “winning” in regard to trade practices – trade is supposed to be a win-win proposition. So it would seem that raising these issues – the purpose and effectiveness of USAID – would be legitimate questions to raise.

     One reviewer loved our paper, another gave it very low marks and poor comments, perhaps trying to keep it out of the convention.  With so much “Bolivarianism” circulating in South America (Ecuador, Venezuela, just to name two), no doubt there will be at least partially a receptive audience in Buenos Aires (where Che Guevara attended the University of Buenos Aires).   On the other hand, President Trump at times could be mistaken for a “Peronista”, and was recently visited by the current Argentine President.  So it could be a lively session for Fiona and I in Buenos Aires.   Americans have always been starting trouble, ever since we told the world’s biggest military power to chill in 1776.  If Buenos Aires could stay calm when Bill Haley rocked around the clock there in 1957, they will take in stride the Center For Global Business. 

 

Photo of President Obama  retrieved 5/12/2017 from  CNN:  Watch the Obamas dance the tango in Argentina.   Anderson Cooper 360.  http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/03/24/president-obama-tango-argentina-dancing-vo-ac.cnn