Middle East North Africa

The Optics of Women in the Workforce (Loujain Alhathloul, Arab Gulf State Institute in Washington)

There is a recent culture of promoting women’s workforce participation in the Middle East and North Africa, but looking solely at the data misses some of the broader discussion on women’s empowerment.

AGSIW | The Optics of Women in the Workforce

North Africa

Green Hydrogen: The new scramble for North Africa (Hamza Hamouchene, Al Jazeera)

The potential of the Sahara desert in North Africa to generate large amounts of renewable energy thanks to its dry climate and vast expanses of land has long been touted. For years, the Europeans, in particular, have considered it a potential source of solar energy that could satisfy a sizable chunk of European energy demands.

Green Hydrogen: The new scramble for North Africa | Climate Crisis | Al Jazeera

Importing energy from North Africa is part of the European Union’s green transition plans [File: Maxar Technologies/AFP]

North Africa

North Africa 2030: What the future holds for the region (Frederick Kempe, Giampiero Massolo, Yahia Zoubir, Abdelkader Abderrahmane, Pietro Gagliardi, Guillaume Biganzoli, Aldo Liga, Nader Kabbani, Nejla Ben Mimoune, Hannah Abdullah, Karim Elgendy, Shlomo Roiter Jesner, Jay Mens, Armando Sanguini, Karim Mezran, and Alissa Pavia, Atlantic Council)

In the last decade, several events redefined North Africa’s heterogeneous character and identity. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Arab spring, but most of the root causes fueling the unrest remain unaddressed. The region is undergoing a delicate phase in its political, social, and economic life, and the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact have further exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, triggering frustration and distrust among North African citizens towards institutions, ruling elites and political parties.

In partnership with the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center is pleased to present its latest report, “North Africa 2030: What the Future Holds for the Region,” edited by Karim Mezran and Armando Sanguini. The edited volume with contributions from regional experts including Yahia Zoubir, Abdelkader Abderrahmane, Pietro Gagliardi, Aldo Liga, Hannah Abdullah, Nader Kabbani, Shlomo Roiter Jesner, and Alissa Pavia reveals that North Africa still faces an array of challenges –  transnational terrorism, illegal migrant smuggling, poor local governance, and lack of basic infrastructure – that pose severe threats to North Africa’s economic, social, and political development. The report also notes that greater political stability, good governance, renewable energies, sustainable urbanization and greater employment opportunities for the youth are vital for creating prosperity in North Africa. The report also includes analysis on socio-economic and political trends in Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

North Africa 2030: What the future holds for the region – Atlantic Council

Climate Change North Africa Violent Extremism

Climate Change and Violent Extremism in North Africa (Moussa Bourekba, CIDOB)

As climate change intensifies in many parts of the world, more and more policymakers are concerned with its effects on human security and violence. From Lake Chad to the Philippines, including Afghanistan and Syria, some violent extremist (VE) groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State exploit crises and conflicts resulting from environmental stress to recruit more followers, expand their influence and even gain territorial control. In such cases, climate change may be described as a “risk multiplier” that exacerbates a number of conflict drivers.

Against this backdrop, this case study looks at the relationship between climate change and violent extremism in North Africa, and more specifically the Maghreb countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, which are all affected by climate change and violent extremism. There are three justifications for this thematic and geographical focus. Firstly, these countries are affected by climate change in multiple ways: water scarcity, temperature variations and desertification are only a few examples of the numerous cross border impacts of climate change in this region. Secondly, these three countries have been and remain affected by the activity of violent extremist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Islamic State organisation (IS) and their respective affiliated groups. Algeria endured a civil war from 1991 to 2002 in which Islamist groups opposed the government, while Morocco and Tunisia have been the targets of multiple terrorist attacks by jihadist individuals and organisations. Thirdly, the connection between climate change and violent extremism has received much less attention in the literature than other climate-related security risks.

CIDOB – Climate Change and Violent Extremism in North Africa

Middle East North Africa

Democratizing commerce (Amjad Ahmad, Atlantic Council)

In Season 2, Episode 2 of empowerME Conversations podcast, host and Atlantic Council empowerME Director Amjad Ahmad speaks with Facebook Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ramez Shehadi on digitization, the future of e-commerce, supporting SMEs, and changes needed to improve the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Democratizing commerce – Atlantic Council

North Africa Pandemic

North Africa COVID cases plummeting after summer spike (Al Jazeera)

Weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelmed intensive care units across North Africa with severe oxygen shortages sparking public anger, case numbers are sharply declining.

Here is a look at the situation in the four countries of the Maghreb – Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya – based on official figures collected by the AFP news agency.

North Africa COVID cases plummeting after summer spike | Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera