The Maghreb Union the world’s worst trading bloc is believed as such by most, notably by the author of the proposed article of the WEF. It is nevertheless a vast expanse of land between the Sahara, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is made of nations with relatively homogeneous ethnic compositions that are largely dominated by the Amazigh component. The Arab identity that was inlaid during the 8th and 9th centuries came eventually to dominate the whole without however convening it, within one State or complementary neighbouring States.
Today rallies take place with or often without confrontation with the security forces in every corner of the Maghreb to claim for most amongst many things their legitimate identity. The Mouvement Autonomist Kabyle and the M’zab in Algeria, the Rif’s Hirak in Morocco are only the loudest few taking to the street for what could be assimilated to discontent with such existing States.
All of these countries it is said are consequent to a long chain of crises. These started with the demise of that part of the Maghreb from the multi century old rule of the Ottoman Empire to the superfluous French protectorate of a few years in Morocco and Tunisia and outright but unsuccessful colonisation in Algeria.
This article below of the World Economic Forum written by Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of Social Engagement – The Americas, gives a pretty descriptive image of the currently prevailing situation of the countries of the Maghreb.
The Maghreb Union is one of the world’s worst-performing trading blocs. Here are five ways to change that
The Maghreb is the perfect example of a region whose countries have been unable to find their way to a deeper integration
The Image above is of REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
In today’s world it is increasingly difficult for non-integrated countries to be either economically or politically viable. It is simply not sustainable for countries to be isolated in their own bubble; those nations should overcome their competitive mindset and search for ways to cooperate with their peers.
The Maghreb, in Northern Africa, is the perfect example of a region whose countries have been unable to find their way to a deeper integration. Only the most basic level of cooperation exists between the region’s five countries – Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – despite the fact that the Maghreb Arab Union was created more than 25 years ago with the aim of building a powerful economic bloc in the region.
The region’s potential is enormous, especially if its countries can work together. However, trade between the Maghreb countries represents just 4.8% of their trade volume, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa – and it represents less than 2% of the sub-region’s combined gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank. This region is one of the lowest-performing trading blocs in the world.
If the five Maghreb countries were integrated, each would gain a minimum 5% rise in GDP. A report by the World Bank on economic integration in the Maghrebestimated that deeper integration, including the liberalising of services and reform of investment rules would have increased the per capita real GDP between 2005 and 2015 by 34% for Algeria, 27% for Morocco and 24% for Tunisia.