Summit of the western Mediterranean countries


Stability at the regional level and intensification of all partnership, for a lake of peace and shared prosperity.

After the mixed impacts of the Barcelona Agreement and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) activities, a summit of the western Mediterranean countries as a significant meeting will be held on 24 June 2019 in France to boost cooperation between countries of the two shores of the western Mediterranean.   The refocusing on the western Mediterranean is accompanied by the realization that the residents of this basin share not only primary common interests, particularly in the economic field but also security in order to establish a “strengthened association”. The objective being “resolutely political” to avoid a north-south fracture that could carry all the drifts and extremities, that can lead to major imbalances. For example, for this meeting, the migratory flux depends largely on the under-development of the disadvantaged regions of the southern shore of the Mediterranean and instead of feeding the misunderstanding about the idea of a “union” of the two shores.  Would it make more sense to conclude a pact of cooperation and solidarity limited to the States on both sides of the Western Mediterranean, a pact based on shared values and principles; a pact motivated by an objective of solidarity and development, in the framework of a win-win partnership?

Civil society, a significant player

We must be aware that all new international relations are no longer based mainly on personalized relations between heads of state but between decentralized networks and organizations through the involvement of the civil society which can promote cooperation, a dialogue of cultures, tolerance and symbiosis of the contributions of the east and the west.  It is dangerous to be locked up in a ghetto that would inevitably endanger life through violence. The latest events should make us think even better by avoiding this confrontation of religions because so much Islam, Christianity or Judaism have contributed actively to the flourishing of civilizations, to this tolerance by condemning any form of extremism. Future relationships between the two shores of the western Mediterranean composed of 5 + 5 countries can be enabling vectors. For, overall, southern Europe and the Maghreb cannot escape this adaptation to global mutations (the current crisis leading to profound upheavals in both geostrategic and socio-economic areas) and more globally in the whole of the Mediterranean region. For there is a need to overcome narrow chauvinistic nationalisms insofar as true nationalism in the future will be defined as the capacity to increase together with the standard of living of all populations by our contribution to global added value. The world is currently characterized by interdependence between countries. This does not mean the end of the role of the state but a separation of politics and economics which cannot be subjected to the vagaries of the economic situation, the State dedicating itself to its fundamental mission of macroeconomic regulator and macrosocial.  We firmly believe and after analysis that the intensification of cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean and more specifically between Europe and the Maghreb ought to be based on true co-development, with the possibility to disrupt bureaucratic behaviours of all conservative rentier annuitants and register them in a dynamic perspective profitable to the populations of the region. It is that the Mediterranean area can be a place of creation of logical networks allowing to communicate with distant cultures by promoting the symbiosis of the contributions of the east and the west. This network must promote communication links; freedom insofar as the excesses of corporate voluntarism inhibit any spirit of creativity.

It is that the Maghreb and Europe are two geographical regions presenting a millennial experience of openness on Latinity and the Arab worlds with natural links and in its whole door of culture and influences Anglo-Saxon.  It is essential for Europe to develop all the actions that can be implemented to achieve desirable balances within this set. The creation of weak regional economic spaces is a stage of structural adjustment within the globalized economy with the objective of promoting political democracy, a humanized competitive market economy, debates different ideas through social and cultural actions to combat extremism and racism the implementation of ordinary affairs. Thus, it is necessary to pay attention to the educational action because the thinking man and creator must be in future the beneficiary and the leading actor of the development process. That is why we are advocating the creation of a Euro-Maghreb university as well as a cultural center of the Mediterranean youth as a means of reciprocal fertilization of cultures for the realization of the sustained dialogue in order to avoid prejudices and conflicts sources of unnecessary tensions as well as a central Euro bank to promote trade. Algeria and France can promote the creation of these empowering structures.

Cooperation between the Maghreb and European 5 + 5 countries

It is in this context that must be apprehended a realistic approach to co-partnership between the two shores of the western Mediterranean where civil society will play a significant role, considering the fast approaching Fourth World Revolution in the geostrategic, economic, social and cultural fields.  At the global level, we are witnessing the evolution of a past accumulation based on a purely material vision, characterized by rigid hierarchical organizations, a new method of accumulation based on knowledge control — technological news and networked organizations, with segmented global chains of production where investment, in comparative advantages, being realized within sub-segments of these channels. As Jean-Louis Guigou, president of the IPEMED (Institute of Economic Foresight of the Mediterranean world, in Paris), it must be made clear that, in the interest of both the French and the Algerians, and more generally the Maghreb and Europeans as well as all the south Mediterranean populations. More precisely, economically the win-win partnership at the country level two shores of the Mediterranean, presents strengths and potential for the promotion of diverse activities and this experience can be an example of this global partnership becoming the privileged axis of rebalancing of southern Europe through the amplification and tightening of links and exchanges in different forms.  Exchanges can be intensified in all fields: agriculture, industry, services, tourism, education without forgetting cooperation in the military field, where Algeria can be an active actor, as shown by its efforts towards the stabilization of the region. Moreover, let us not forget the number of residents of Maghreb origins, and whatever the number, the diaspora is an essential part of the rapprochement between our peoples because it contains essential intellectual, economic and Financial. Also, must mobilize at various stages of intervention the initiative of all the parties concerned, namely Governments, diplomatic missions, universities, entrepreneurs and civil society.

The intensification of cooperation between the two shores of the western Mediterranean will only be possible if the involved countries have a realistic approach to co-development far from the mercantile vision and the spirit of domination, having a shared vision of their becoming.  The symbiosis of the contributions of the East and the West, the dialogue of cultures and tolerance are sources of mutual enrichment. The latest events should even better make us think, avoiding this confrontation of religions because both Islam, Christianity and Judaism have contributed actively to the flourishing of civilisations, to this tolerance by condemning any form of extremism. Globalization is a blessing for humanity if we integrate social relations and not confine it solely to merchant relations by synchronizing the real sphere and the commercial sphere, economic dynamics and social dynamics. At the time of the geostrategic tensions at the level of the region, the consolidation of large ensembles, the challenges of globalization, the rapprochement between the two shores is necessary for an intensification of cooperation, to measure the weight of the history that binds us. However, let us be realistic for in practice, the implementation of sound business, like the image of a country, no longer rests as in the past on personalized relations between heads of States or ministers but instead must be the result of decentralized networks, favouring the involvement of innovative, dynamic individual and companies. Tactics must be integrated within the strategic function/objective of maximizing the social well-being of the entire Mediterranean region.

Concerning the summit of the western Mediterranean civil societies on June 24, 2019 in France, this important international meeting will bring together, the heads of States and Governments, the President of the World Bank, the presidents of the EIB, the EBRD, the Director-General of the OECD and non-State actors of civil society in all their economic, social and cultural diversity. Its political launch will have on the 15th meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the 5 + 5 dialogue on 18 January 2019 in Valletta. Five groups have been set up: Morocco will lead the economy, and innovation component, Portugal, culture, Italy, sustainable development, Malta youth and mobility, and Algeria has had the most critical component, having been made responsible for the Energy Transition.  This could mean regional cooperation projects, conventional energies, non-conventional energies, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and in general proposing the new energy consumption model 2020/2030. His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Algeria, appointed professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul, expert International, to lead the Algerian delegation, at the International Meeting on June 24, 2019, in France.

Revival of the Arab Maghreb Union


The Maghreb with 99,380,000 inhabitants with a $375.6 billion GDP in 2017 is in north-west Africa, as delimited to the north by the Mediterranean and to the south by the Sahara, in the west by the Atlantic Ocean and by Egypt in the East. A revival of the Arab Maghreb Union, despite its huge development potential and common cultural and linguistic ties, “the Maghreb is one of the least integrated regions in the world”. Studies have shown that the removal of barriers in the region could have significant economic benefits, support efforts to combat instability and help address several regional challenges including socio-economic development, combating climate change, protecting the environment and developing clean, sustainable energy.

Part 1 – Realities and perspectives

The total area of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) is 5.8 million km², representing 4.3% of the world’s area and exceeding almost 80% of the area of the European Union is mostly desert. On February 17, 2018, the AMU celebrated its 30th birthday. At the end of November 2018, its Secretary-General was requested by Algeria to arrange a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in order to revive the notion of a Maghreb together and the reactivation of its bodies. The purpose of the contribution that follows many international contributions on this subject is to draw up the balance sheet and look at prospects.

The Maghreb is confronted with the emergence of a globalised economy and society to numerous challenges.  On the one hand, the nation states have difficulties in coping with the world economy’s upheavals and on the other, to face the international institutions as a unified front.

Governments across the AMU’s nation-states per the current crisis are almost unable to fulfil their missions as a result of the complexity of modern societies and the emergence of the multitude of fragmented subsystems. The uncertainty feeds on the crisis of political representation, hence the need to integrate more into a larger ensemble in order to be able to respond to new global concerns is dragging on.  A centrepiece in the Euro-Mediterranean and African region, the Maghreb as the origin of the new migratory flows is fast becoming a geostrategic and economic issue for the European Union, the USA and China in the context of a competition.  Three countries of the UMA, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have signed their “Euro-Mediterranean Association” agreements that go well beyond the simple trade liberalisation as initiated as early as the end of the years 1960 in the framework of the first Euro-Maghrebin trade agreements.  It is commonly acknowledged that the results of this association agreement are mixed. However, since then, we have a new data which is that of the Union for the Mediterranean which tends to be supplanted at present by the 5 + 5 Summit which enshrines economic cooperation and Maghreb integration as a priority.  This principle of economic integration (by the market) of the Maghreb countries, the idea came during the two conferences of ministers of the economy of the Maghreb, the first on 26 September 1964 and the second on 26 November of the same year in Tangier (Morocco).  These two conferences culminated in the establishment of the Maghreb Consultative Standing Committee (MCSC).  It is responsible for studying all problems associated with economic cooperation between the North African countries.  After three years of trials and errors, the Maghreb community issue is precise, and in 1967, the MCSC produced a report in which three types of solutions were put forward from the integrationist perspective.  These are:

  • The maximum resolution would imply the signature of a treaty establishing the Maghreb Economic Union on the model of the Treaty of Rome. It would mean the fixing of a timetable for the elimination of customs duties and quota restrictions, establishment of a standard exterior tariff, harmonisation of economic, fiscal and monetary policies and finally the establishment of joint institutions with decision-making powers;
  • The minimum solution which would make the gradual creation of an economic union a mere declaration of intent, the only legal commitments limited to the periodic participation in negotiations on tariff concessions or the choice of places of new industries;
  • The intermediate solution based on the interaction between trade liberalisation and technical harmonisation should cover a period of 5 years during which the Maghreb countries would commit: too linear reductions (10% for example per annum) of customs duties and quantitative restrictions on traded products, to the establishment of a list of industries to be approved and whose products would be guaranteed free movement and franchising on the Maghreb market, the creation of a Maghreb integration bank to finance projects of common interest and promote this simultaneous and equitable industrialisation, the possible establishment of a union of payments and finally the harmonisation of their trade policies with regard to third countries in order not to jeopardize later the establishment of a standard external tariff system.

The set of principal axes highlighted previously, were taken up at the Maghreb Summit, which was held in Zéralda (Algeria) in 1988 and the second Maghreb Summit held on 19 February 1989 in Marrakech, saw the adoption of the Treaty of the U. M. A. which defines the modalities of a Maghreb construction and its development strategy. Various sectoral committees have worked very cyclically to try to establish a free trade area gradually, assuming the free movement of products between the partners — a customs union and therefore new standard management instruments such as the unification of tariffs and the elaboration of unified policies, aiming at defining the usual rules to enable the implementation of a regulatory system economic development in the region. The objective to be achieved at these summits as a last resort was to establish a common market and a progressive and comprehensive economic unit, a prelude to the best complementarity between the five countries in the region. The declaration of the Heads of State on the establishment of the AMU, adopted at the Marrakech summit, marks for its part the will of the member countries to translate into reality the dream of the Maghreb’s generations to build a viable union. It can be seen in their declaration that it should be perceived as “a complementary community that cooperates with similar regional institutions, a community that participates in the enrichment of dialogue and putting its potential at the service of strengthening the independence of the States parties of the Union and safeguarding their achievements, working with the international community to establish a world order in which justice, dignity, freedom, human rights and where relations are imbued with sincere cooperation and mutual respect.

Professor of universities and international expert, Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul,

2nd edition of the International Conference of African Organisations


Migration crisis in Africa; challenges, issues and perspectives

This contribution is a synthesis of my intervention following the invitation of the organizers of the provisional programme of the 2nd edition of the International Conference of African Organisations and all members of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), that is held at the ‘Centre International de Conférences Abdelatif Rahal’, Algiers on 19 to 21 November 2018, bringing together several African organizations and personalities.  It will be concerning all migratory flows; responsibility of which being shared between the leaders of the north (recent flows into the USA) and between Europeans and Africains.

Africa a continent with significant potential

Some countries including Nigeria, Gabon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Libya specialize in oil, gas and raw materials and having experienced high demand and high prices in the world markets allowing them relative financial ease.  Conversely, countries such as Benin, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Togo, Mali, which are penalized in products that often experience deterioration in terms of trade, misery, famine and often internal conflicts and where the military expenditure budget in Africa is beyond human understanding to the detriment of the allocation of resources for development purposes.

The ten richest African countries in decreasing order are for the current GDP in 2017:

  • Nigeria with $581 billion,
  • South Africa with $276 billion,
  • Egypt with $264 billion,
  • Algeria with $170 billion,
  • Sudan with $124 billion,
  • Morocco with $121 billion,
  • Angola with $104 billion,
  • Ethiopia with $93 billion,
  • Kenya with $77 billion and
  • Tanzania with $52 billion.

On the other hand, the poorest countries are in decreasing order:

  • Burundi with a GDP per capita at $285,
  • Malawi with a GDP per capita of about $300,
  • Niger with a GDP per capita of about $364,
  • Mozambique with a GDP per capita of $382,
  • The Central African Republic, GDP per capita slightly higher than $382,
  • Madagascar, GDP per capita is about $401,
  • Somalia with a GDP per capita about $434,
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo with a GDP of about $444 per capita,
  • Liberia, with per capita GDP at about $455 and
  • Gambia with a GDP per capita at slightly higher than $473.

Security and stability of States must be based on democratic values

However, beware, we must be wary of the global GDP that veils the interprofessional (concentration of income) and interregional disparities, as for any comparisons only similar methods of calculation should be used. An example in 2014, The African continent was learning with amazement that, following a statistical review, Nigeria became the first African economy (ahead of South Africa) with a revalued GDP of $510 billion in 2013, compared to $262 billion in 2012. The GDP of South Africa was about $384 billion that same year. The magnitude of this re-evaluation of Nigeria’s GDP Following a statistical review is not an isolated case in Africa. However, these indicators are not enough to understand the situation in Africa. Also, in order to analyse blockages in Africa, the economic factors of political factors cannot be isolated. The joint African Development Bank – Global Financial Integrity (ADB – GFI) report highlights the fact that Africa has suffered from net outflows of the order and that the flight of resources out of Africa over the last thirty years – the equivalent of Africa’s current GDP – is curbing the launch of the continent. Thus, African leaders bear a heavy responsibility to their people and must promote the rule of law, good governance, therefore, the fight against corruption and tribal mentalities, the protection of human rights and the commitment resolutely in the overall reform, thus the democratisation of their society considering cultural anthropology avoiding the unconnected patterns of social realities. So is essential raises the problem of the security and stability of States which must be based on democratic values. In the region, we have seen profound changes in the Saharan geopolitics after the collapse of the Libyan regime, with consequences for the region. Also, the importance of the weight of the informal in Africa produces crippling bureaucracy, promotes corruption, varying by country, but generally exceeding 50% to 60% of the economic surface. For some countries, this sphere employs more than 70% of the workforce. According to the International Labor Office (ILO), this sector provides 72% of jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, of which 93% of new jobs are created, compared with the formal sector, which employs only about 10% of jobs on the continent. In the Maghreb per our study carried out for the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), Paris – December 2013, the informal sphere in the Maghreb, it exceeds 50% of the economic area and employs more than 30% of the working population.  The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing with the income gap reinforcing the inequities in wealth, education, health and social mobility.  A Large and young population is not a handicap for a country, provided that this population is active and that it works in the formal sector so that its work can benefit the dependent population, the very young and the very old.  Sadly though, 75% of the sub-Saharan economy is informal, and the education sectors in these countries are now affected, and the young people who come out poorly trained.

Globalisation and migratory flows

Immigration is now the entry, in each country or geographical area, of foreign persons who come for an extended stay or to settle there. The word immigration comes from the Latin in-Migrate meaning “to enter a place”.  On the margins of this phenomenon is the dual nationality and nomadism, the notion of immigrant is based on the declarations of the place of birth and nationality.

The emigrant is the person who left his place in a country for another place in another, in order to settle there temporarily or permanently. A human migration being a displacement of individuals is probably as old a phenomenon as humankind.  It is increasing in numbers by 2% per annum and measures stocks that include voluntary migration and forced migration. Internal migration to countries is also on the increase, but it is more about population displacement. Statistics show that huge migratory waves have recently declined, in favour of a trend towards immigration more related to brain drain and skills from developing countries, to the detriment of the latter. The characteristics of the current African migratory phenomenon are the diversification of the countries of provenance and destination, as well as the forms are taken by migration. It is estimated that the return of capital or remittances to the countries of origin from the host countries is at least equal if it is not much higher than the amount of financial assistance provided by the so-called “rich” countries to the poorer countries.  If today most migrants move through regular channels, the migratory phenomenon is marked by a rise in the power of forced migration, mainly caused by conflicts and climate change. According to the most optimistic predictions, emanating from many institutions of the United Nations in charge of migration issues, by 2050, the number of displaced persons could jump to a minimum of 6 million/year.  The cause being climatic disturbances, extreme weather phenomena, declining water supplies, desertification, rising sea level and degradation of farmland.  According to international experts, it can also have several causes:

  • Economic: The search for a job, greater prosperity, better working conditions. This is the primary cause of current emigration;
  • Politics: The escape of an oppressive regime;
  • Religious: The hope of a more tolerant land of welcome;
  • Climate change: The taste for a different weather environment (generally milder, warmer and sunnier) and,
  • Fiscal: The will to be in a more favourable legal and financial context. This phenomenon plays particularly for the highest strata of society and in favour of tax havens.

In the era of globalisation where migratory flows are a concrete reality, migration has been globalised, with the same outcome of urbanisation and metropolisation of the world, demographic pressure, unemployment, information, and transnationalisation of migratory networks. The categories of migrants and countries have become more complex, with the globalisation of migration being accompanied by regionalisation of migratory flows. On a global scale, migration is geographically organised where complementarities are built between departure and reception areas. These correspond to geographical proximity, historical, linguistic and cultural links, transnational networks built by migrants, and smugglers (a form of slavery) that form a formal or informal space of movement, accompanied or not by institutional facilities of passage. Migrations have more than tripled since the mid-years 1970: 77 million in 1975, 120 million in 1999, 150 million in early 2000, near 300 million in 2017. This translates the mobility factors for different reasons.  Gaps between levels of human development, political and environmental crises, producers of refugees and displaced persons, reduced transport costs, a generalisation of passport issuance, the role of the media, awareness that one can change the course of his life through international migration.

Global warming, whose responsibility lies mainly with the rich countries and some emerging countries, that could strike the brunt of Africa within 2025/2030/2040, will accentuate the exodus of its populations. These different factors accentuate the bi-polarisation of three worlds, the rich countries, the emerging countries, and the developing countries pushing them to this exodus.

The demographers consider that migration will be an essential adjustment variable by 2050, due to which 2 or 3 billion of additional individuals are expected on the planet, while the effects of climate change will probably be if not already felt and that some areas will no longer be able to feed any additional populations

Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL,

Eight factors determining the price of oil


As put by Kimberly Amadeo in her article on The Behind-the-Scenes Role of Commodities Traders,  Oil prices are controlled by traders who bid on oil futures contracts in the commodities market. That’s why oil prices change daily. It all depends on how trading went that day.

Other entities can only affect the traders’ bidding decisions. These influencers include the U.S. government and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. They don’t control the prices because traders actually set them in the markets.

The oil futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell oil at a specific date in the future for an agreed-upon price. They are executed on the floor of a commodity exchange by traders who are registered with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Commodities have been traded for more than 100 years. The CFTC has regulated them since the 1920s in the US and by equivalent institutions in every developed and / or developing country.  It is also function of the following:

The eight factors determining the price of oil

According to the September monthly report of the International Energy Agency (IEA), in August 2018, for the first time, the bar of 100 million barrels produced per day was crossed. World oil consumption represented 97.4 million barrels per day (MBJ) in 2017 (including 57 MBJ by non-OPEC countries), equivalent to 1,127 barrels or 179,000 liters per second. Also, despite the commitments of the Paris Agreement (COP21) of December 2015 (entered into force in November 2016), global awareness for the climate does not seem to reach the oil sector. A list of eight reasons that determine the current course.

  • The first reason, as noted in international reports would be a recovery of growth for 2018, but with a slowdown forecast for 2019 and 2020. Many international experts, as well as international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, foresee a possible global crisis horizon 2020/2025 in case of acceleration of protectionist measures between the US and Europe, as well as between the US and China.  Moreover, the latest report of the IEA of October 2018 warns the countries dependent on the oil revenues, due to a change in the trajectory of growth based on a new configuration of the global energy demand (Energy efficiency, renewable energies, hydrogen inlet horizon 2030 all based on the Knowledge economy) that will impact the demand for traditional hydrocarbons.
  • The second reason is respect for the quota of each member of the OPEC as decided upon in December 2016 in Vienna with notably Saudi Arabia representing 33% of OPEC’s. It is worth noting that OPEC in its entirety represents 33% of global marketing, even though the current tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia can lead to a disagreement between unsatisfied OPEC’s members.
  • The third reason is the agreement between OPEC’s Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia; these two countries producing each more than 10 million barrels per day. Moreover, any different decisions from these two countries would impact the price of hydrocarbons downwards.
  • The fourth reason is the political situation in Saudi Arabia, the world not seeing yet evident in the action of the kingdom’s Crown prince, with the fear of internal political tensions, but above all the sale of 5% shares of the country’s largest company ARAMCO, to maintain its shares at a high level; sale that has been postponed.
  • The fifth reason is the tension in Kurdistan (this area producing about 500,000 barrels/day), declining Venezuelan production, socio-political tensions in Libya and Nigeria.
  • The sixth reason is the American president’s speech on the US having second thoughts on the agreement on Iran nuclear deal; with sanctions beginning to be applied on November 5th, 2018. This would certainly be mitigated by the European position that decided to set up a barter system to circumvent the transactions in Dollars, and the Chinese market or the Iranians can get paid in Yuan.
  • The seventh reason is the weakness of the Dollar in relation to the Euro.
  • The eighth reason is the decline or rise of US stocks, while not forgetting the Chinese stocks.

In the short term, the above eight reasons may influence the price of oil either upward or downward, with some factors being more predominant than others.  The Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia reported on October 30th, 2018, under American pressure to raise its oil production to 12 million barrels per day against 10.7 million currently, to fill in for the Iranian production and in this case, it will be followed by Russia that does not want to lose market share.  In this hypothesis, the price of Brent should, except for a significant global crisis where the prize could fall below 60 Dollars, fluctuate between 65 and 75 Dollars, 70 Dollars a barrel, being the price of equilibrium in order not to penalise either the consumer countries or the producing ones.  The oil price went lower than $60 mainly as consequent to the massive entry of U.S. shale oil and gas with a production exceeding 10 million barrels/day.

In August 2018, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), the US has even turned into the world’s leading producer of oil, in front of Russia and Saudi Arabia, with 10.9 million barrels per day and this production should even exceed 11.5 million barrels per day in 2019.

Without democratic and moral institutions, no development


Economists and politicians, during this inevitable global society transition phase, must rethink the links between ethics and development because without democratic and moral institutions, no development would seriously be even envisaged.

As we have learned from the founders of economics science, e.g. political economics, that since natural resources are only an ancillary means of creating the illusion of virtual wealth, work is the only foundation of all wealth of a nation and speculative actions based on immorality, could destroy a nation.

Links between morality and multi-dimensional development

The global economy in this 21st century is characterised by the interdependence of economies and societies, living in a glass house, because of the revolution in the field of telecommunications.

No country can escape it, if new mechanisms of supranational regulation are not put in place to rehabilitate the real sphere, the currency being at the service of the economy and not an instrument to dominate it.  So of course, as part of a competitive global economy considering global comparative advantages and having to link economic efficiency with profound social justice – economists will talk about fairness.

Today, we are on the verge of a new transition from global society, with profound geostrategic upheavals, which will entail painful social adjustments and thus a new social regulation to avoid exclusions.  ‘Everyone for oneself’ would be suicidal with disastrous conflicts.  For this, politicians and economists need to rehabilitate a strategic factor of development, morality.  For there are inextricable links between sustainable development and morality – in fact, the reward of effort – and a fight against corruption in its various forms.  The foundation of all global crises or the development of societies is not only explained by the economy but also reliable data.  In the line of the teachings of Plato and Aristotle on the moral of rulers, the contribution of Ibn Khaldun (1), pioneer of modern social sciences is of great scope on both scientific and operative given the current global crisis.  Explaining the numerous chairs of teaching in Europe and the USA, it developed a theory of history centred on the great movements of society where its theses are exposed in the long methodological introduction (nearly 1000 pages), known as “ Muqaddima”, of the work to which he worked for thirty years, i.e.  Kitâb Al ‘Ibar or The Sample Book or Book of Considerations on the history of Arabs, Persians and Berbers.  For Ibn Khaldun, the study of a society implies what three dimensions that are analysed jointly:

  • The economic dimension, the needs of human groups and how to satisfy them;
  • The cultural dimension which includes the regulation of social relations, but also the use of techniques, the arts and science;
  • Finally, the political dimension, the power within the groups and the central power at the level of Global society.

The author clearly shows that most of the dynasties had the same fate: founded by a tribal group that was able to seize the central power, having experienced a period of prosperity and then a period of decay until another tribal group acquired enough strength and maturity based on the moral to seize in his turn the central power.

Ibn Khaldun distinguished five phases.

  • In a first phase, the leader of the tribal group, founder of the dynasty consolidates his power, supported by a strong ‘açabiyya and getting the allegiance of increasingly numerous tribal groups.
  • During the first two phases, politics dominates and allows for some economic development.
  • In the fourth phase, the power is strong, the perception of taxes promotes certain prosperity; the architecture, the techniques, the arts and the letters grow, and the people are living in certain ease.
  • In the fifth phase, self-satisfaction is recognised, and the dependency on physical assets established;

Spending will undermine the public purse especially as the men in power tend generally to surround themselves by characters who are principally looking for material profits. Taxes are rising, and the population is impoverished. Discontent settles in, and the dynasty would lose the support of its people, which will allow another tribal group endowed with a strong ‘açabiyya and nourishing a political project to seize in its turn the central power and to found a new dynasty.

This decadence is mainly due to the lack of morality.  It is in the same philosophical thought that Adam Smith (2) the founder of the modern economy has highlighted the dialectic links between morality and wealth of nations. He taught morale at the University of Glasgow and published in 1759 The Theory of Moral Sentiments. His The first book, the object being to define the principles of morality, seize the virtues necessary for the proper functioning of society and understand where the moral sense comes from, his work highlighting the crossroads of economics and moral philosophy.  Karl Marx will deepen these fundamental contributions in the Capital, Joseph Schumpeter in Reforms and democracies and between 1990 – 2018 most Nobel Prize winners in economics were awarded to the institutionalist.

Morals and democratic institutions considering the social specifics (3)

At an international meeting organised by the European Union, in Malta on December 24 through 26, 2011, attended by important international personalities, and in which we discussed these links, with the future of the Arab and Mediterranean economies.  Many participants from both shores of the Mediterranean have highlighted the fact that the establishment of new democratic institutions causes, in the short term, an economic slowdown, gives the impression of anarchy for the supporters of power because destroying their privileges, but with medium and long-term hope for the entire population.  The new institutions and economic reforms are destroying the old logic of the system, often based on informal, personalised relationships, not on institutions. It had been pointed out during this important meeting that Islam is a religion of tolerance, not being able to assimilate itself to intolerance and extremism which leads to terrorism which is nourishing itself of the planetary threat of misery and lack of morality of the leaders.  The chauvinistic speeches, confusing patriotism and chauvinism nationalist of some leaders denouncing “conspiracies from the outside”, no longer carries in a population with a growing majority, open to the world.

Moreover, it had been affirmed in conclusion that both global and internal upheavals in these regimes are the consequence of dictatorships and authoritarianism that have become, in a complex world, severe threats to the sovereignty and independence of these countries and, in general, to global security.  However, it is necessary to recognise for narrow interests; developed countries do not necessarily favour this trajectory.  It is in this context that the functioning of the international economic and political system must be rethought imperatively the policies of the West’s complacency towards these dictatorships which threaten global security.  It implies more morality on behalf of the leaders of the West because if there are corrupt, there are corrupters.  However, if we must not be utopian: the rule of law does not necessarily overlap with the concept of western democracy as we have seen from historical experiences (see the experience of South Korea).  Indeed, democratisation does not happen by a magic wand, it will take time, as has been the case in the west and some countries in Asia and Latin America.  Democratisation will move forward by power relations both at the internal levels (Conservatives / Reformers) than international.  The Democratic institutions considering the anthropology of societies as brilliantly illustrated by the Indian economist Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Kumar SEN will eventually achieve the symbiosis of Citizens / States in the context of a more participative and humanised society.  Often called “good governance and the rule of law”, without credible morals and institutions, which must take cultural morphology and history specific to each company, posing necessarily the issue of the independence of justice, of the anti-corruption struggle, there can be no development and it is a universal law that applies to all countries.

In summary, for Algeria, institutional and micro-economic reforms must be part of the framework of a clearly defined strategy considering the transformation of the world, that can only come from the interior brought by new reformist social forces that will remove some power segments from where those strong resistance pockets of the rentier’s and their supporters.  The Forum Mediterranean of the Institutes of Economics (FEMISE), published it and to a few years a report of a hot news in this month of October 2018 citing Algeria: “Despite the optimism of the public authorities fuelled by the euphoria of oil prices, Algeria has yet to find a model of growth that can reduce inequalities, unemployment and poverty.”  As well Algeria has two choices: to make efforts to reform its institutions and the economy towards more democracy and transparency or to regress to a protectionist attitude. So, there it always comes down to morality, (the virtue of labor closely linked to the rule of law and the democratisation of society, especially those responsible for giving an example if they want to mobilize their population and overcome the current entropy and enable the country to develop depending on its potential, and these are enormous.

Paris on October 26, 2018

Dr Abdulrahmane Mebtoul,


  1. Ibn Khaldoun, (May 27, 1332 – March 17, 1446) as better known than his full name Abu Zaid Abdul-Rahman Ibn Mohamed Ibn Khaldun el-Hadrami, is a historian, philosopher, diplomat and politician. He was one of the first theorists in the history of civilisations per the analysis of the social and political changes he observed in the Maghreb and Spain of his time being at the forefront of sociology and one of the founders of political sociology.
  2. Adam Smith (June 5, 1723 – July 17, 1790), is a philosopher and the father of modern economic science. He had in 1759, published a Theory of Moral Sentiments, where we find this idea that every man, under the principle of “sympathy”, aspires to the greatest possible happiness of the greatest number of men possible. His main work, however, published in 1776, was on “The Wealth of Nations” and this is one of the founding texts of modern economics.
  3. Institutionalism is an economics thinking trend that emerged in the US at the beginning of the 21st century, under the impetus of mainly the writings of Thorstein Veblen, John Rogers Commons and Wesley Clair Mitchell, focusing understanding of the role of institutions in shaping economic behaviour, integrating the work of the substantivism developed by Karl Polanyi.