…Says MENA categorization makes it difficult to see Africa as one continent
A peacebuilding think tank in Nigeria on the aegis of ‘Foundation for Peace Professionals’ also known as PeacePro has urged global bodies, academic institutions and research groups to stop categorizing North African countries with the Middle East under the acronym of MENA Middle East and North Africa).
PeacePro noted that such conflicting categorization by global bodies such as the World Bank, World Health Organization and others was creating none existing barrier between North African countries and the rest of Africa, thereby making it difficult to see Africa as one and to create social, economic and psychological integration in the continent.
Executive Director of PeacePro, Mr Abdulrazaq Hamzat, who stated these while engaging Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), the producer of global peace index on popular social media platform Twitter, questioned the rationale for using such categorization in the global peace index report.
Hamzat said; “Why is Africa usually divided into 2 on the global peace index report? This division has consistently raised questions in our sessions at Foundation for Peace Professionals (PeacePro)”.
The IEP ambassador also said that his organization is currently working on an African based enlightenment report, which is an extract from the global peace index, to create further awareness on GPI report and the extraction of North Africa to Middle East in the Global Peace Index report has been a major point of contention, making it difficult to visualize Africa as one continent, with its data scattered across different regions.
Responding to Hamzat’s inquiry on Twitter, IEP Global Peace Index noted that, for regional analysis, IEP splits Africa into sub-Saharan Africa and MENA, adding that it was consistent with the World Bank grouping.
However, Hamzat stressed that even though, it was consistent with other categorization including that of the World Bank, Peacepro was yet to understand the rationale for such categorization thus, open for enlightenment on the subject.
Hamzat further said that it was important to note that, in politics and academia, North African countries are commonly grouped with the Middle East under the umbrella of MENA, a development which has been questioned by many people, including in North Africa.
As a regional identifier, MENA is often used in academia, military planning, disaster relief, media planning (as a broadcast region) and business writing.
However, Hamzat noted that there was no MENA region amongst the United Nations Regional Groups, nor in the United Nations geoscheme used by the UNSD.