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Governance and Economics in the Maghreb
Economic and governance challenges in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya and opportunities for positive change.
Governments across the Maghreb are struggling to address a wide range of socioeconomic and political grievances that sparked popular uprisings throughout 2011. The problems are rooted in political systems that have been marred by corruption, exclusion, and marginalization of large swaths of the population, including young people. Despite significant change, the region is still at the beginning of a long phase of transformation.
In the Middle East, conflicts that many thought were coming to an end will continue, as will the dynamism and innovation that have emerged among radical and opposition groups.
Defining religious identity in the Maghreb has become an urgent challenge for governments fighting violent extremism. Nowhere is the battle as intense as in Tunisia, which is struggling to reshape its religious identity after more than a half century of state-imposed secularism.
The Arab revolts and revolutions of 2011 provided public space for violent extremist ideology to spread and reignited a debate over how to fight it. Among regional allies, the U.S. preference for democracy seems to be on the retreat while the impulse to regulate religion appears to be on the upswing.
Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly vital to Morocco’s future economic growth and security. Morocco has pursued a soft power strategy in Africa for over a decade, but regional and global dynamics create a new urgency for Morocco to diversify its economic ties, boost multilateral security cooperation, and play a more active diplomatic role.
Popular uprisings across North Africa have unleashed a new wave of jihadi-salafism that is increasingly mainstream and appeals to a younger generation of activists. This popular jihadi-salafism is less dramatic than al Qaeda’s version, but it will have a far greater impact on the region’s future.
Arab Gulf leaders are making clear the strategic importance they attach to North Africa through offers of aid and investment. But while Gulf leaders want to shape developments in the Maghreb, it is unclear what real political impact their actions have beyond affecting public perceptions.
The Maghreb is in motion. Political changes underway across North Africa have created opportunities for more representative and transparent governance. Debates over the nature of authority and the role of the state that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago now shape political discourse. And yet, doubts remain.
Governments across the Maghreb are struggling to address a wide range of socioeconomic and political grievances that sparked popular uprisings throughout 2011.
The heightened importance Western powers ascribe to Middle Eastern reform and Morocco's prominence as both an example and test case of that reform raise a host of issues for Americans, Europeans, and Moroccans.
John P. Entelis and Robert P. Parks shared their different but complementary analyses of Algerian society and politics following the re-election of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Driss El Yazami, president of Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH), argued that Morocco is trying to build democracy step-by-step, though it faces many challenges ahead.
Tunisian Prime Minister H.E. Mehdi Jomaa spoke about his government’s emphasis on ensuring a smooth path to new parliamentary and presidential elections while strengthening Tunisia’s future economic growth and stability at a CSIS Statesmen's Forum on April 2, 2014.
Declining production, rising domestic consumption, and insecurity are huge challenges for energy producers in North Africa, according to Leonardo Bellodi and Arezki Daoud.
Governments in the Middle East and North Africa must help foster an authentic, moderate religious discourse that will offer a viable and appealing alternative to extremist ideas, according to Dr. Ahmed Abaddi.
The Maghreb in Transition with Secretary of State Clinton
In October 2012, CSIS convened a full-day conference to examine the political, economic, and security dimensions of transition in the Maghreb. Read the full conference report.
Watch or listen to the full conference and keep up with our work on the region through the Maghreb in Transition course on iTunes U.
Building Stability through Economic Growth in the Maghreb
CSIS convened a half-day conference in June 2012 to better understand opportunities for spurring economic growth in the Maghreb. Read the full conference report.
Learn more about governance, economics, and development in the Middle East.
- AudioApr 2, 2014
- VideoApr 2, 2014