Flags of the Maghreb countries

Problems reign between the countries of North Africa, known as the “Maghreb”, especially between Morocco and Algeria, both of which are in a diplomatic standoff. As a result of these problems, more than half a percentage point of economic growth is lost annually, and at least 100,000 jobs are lost every year.

In general, regional blocs between countries help to contribute to increased trade and investment, because regional blocs provide a large market. The European Union is the model par excellence in this regard. The EU as an integrating instrument has a positive impact on member countries, because by removing customs formalities, adopting the single currency, which is the euro, it helped greatly in the flow of trade and regional investment.

The five North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia established the “Arab Maghreb Union” in 1989, agreeing to develop political, economic and social relations. After more than three decades, the union failed due to political conflicts, especially between Morocco and Algeria, the two largest countries in the region. The land borders have even been closed between them since 1994, and since the summer of 2021 there has been no air traffic between the two countries.

The nations in the area are in a perfect position to build a sizable commercial market with a complementary and interconnected economy. While Morocco and Tunisia have agriculture, tourism, some businesses like the textile and food industries, and most importantly, a skilled labour force, Algeria and Libya have oil and gas. Mauritania has maritime waters that are rich in marine resources.

All these conditions would create an economic market similar to the European Union, helping to raise economic growth by half a point to one point per year. At the same time, economic integration would generate a total of 150,000 additional jobs per year in the region, meaning 1.5 million jobs within ten years. In general, increasing exports, receiving more tourists, directly means more jobs.And if the ‘Arab Maghreb Union’ is revitalised, it will make these countries approach Europe as a unified bloc in several sectors, especially in the financial and trade sector. It will also allow them to create a large trading space with the EU.

This region is in great need of jobs, especially since a large percentage of young people are unemployed, many are forced to migrate illegally by sea to Europe via Spain and Italy. Unfortunately, some of them drown at sea.

Many regions of the world are moving towards integration  and the question remains, when will the integration train arrive in the Arab Maghreb Union region?

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