Friday, September 16, 2011

Thanks to its Youth Citizens, Arab Maghreb Union--an AU-REC--Might be Saved!

In 2009, the Arab Maghreb Union turned 20 years. And Critiquing Regionalism blog was there to castigate it (!

That's quite a long time fore any regional integration initiative to reflect on where it's going and to whom it must account. Before the so-called Arab Spring, there must have been many outside the Arab Maghreb Union region thinking that the AMU bears little relevance to the citizens and that it's time for it to go. I was certainly one of them. When I was interviewed by the BBC in March this year on a "Africa Have Your Say" programme on the role of regional economic communities in Africa, I stated clearly that "the biggest elephant in  the room" on Libya was not the African Union, but the Arab Maghreb Union. This was because there has been a paucity of analysis in the news about what that 5-member grouping was doing on Libya. Instead, the Arab League had effectively stolen its thunder and was carrying the can on what to do in Libya.

I still wonder how things could have been different had the AU-REC [African Union-recognised REC] AMU -- instead of the Arab League -- started issuing resolutions over Libya. Historians might speculate that this is one of the reasons why it's good to be a member of only one REC, if even and only to save oneself from prosecution! Had Libya not been a member of the Arab League, where would the no-fly zone had come from?

But back to the present: the news that the Arab Maghreb youth are taking charge of things is encouraging, because it seems that increasingly the youth are realising the future is in their hands.

To read that:

"The Arab Maghreb Union is obsolete and moribund," El Ouafoudi [group's Moroccan rep] said in explaining why the youth movement was founded. He said civil society took the initiative to push for a Maghreb Union after "official failure" serves as a reminder that the youth are one of the likely constituencies to kick-start any regional integration push, if ever it was needed.

The group could not have said it better when they said:

""Economic integration can only be achieved with the desire of the rulers, as well as open borders and abolition of the visa," Vall added. "There thus must be pressure on governments to respond to such demands."

Read the full article here:


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