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HomeGeopolitical CompassNile Valley & N.AfricaA Return to Africa: Why North African States are looking South

A Return to Africa: Why North African States are looking South

Author(s): Anthony Dworkin

Affiliation: Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR

Organization/Publisher: European Council on Foreign Relations

Date/Place: July 3, 2020/ Berlin, Germany

Type of Literature: Analysis

Number of Pages: 21


Key Words: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, EU



This policy brief is commissioned to offer political recommendations to EU about North African countries whose policies and strategies are turning to Sub-Saharan Africa. North African countries, each for its own reasons, are increasingly showing attention towards Africa. Morocco is pursuing a strategy to gain support with regard to its claim over Western Sahara and to strengthen its existence economically and diplomatically. Despite showing more attention towards Africa, Algerian policies show more flexibility in its response to security issues to its borders in the south. Tunisia’s attention towards Africa is economic. Egypt is more concerned with geostrategic issues, particularly over the issue of Libya and waters of the Nile. In addition to these issues that North African countries are focusing on the south, illegal migration flows mark one of the most important North African countries’ concerns as migrants seek work in or pass through the northern countries en route to Europe. In this respect the EU should take the opportunity to cooperate with North African countries in areas like security. The EU should likewise strengthen its relationships with North African countries by coordinating in areas like economy. The EU could play a more neutral role as mediator than the US (which is close to Egypt) and work on resolving disputes like the Nile dam project if talks between Egypt and Ethiopia falter. However, despite opportunities that many North African countries offer to Europeans, the EU should be cautious about distinctive agendas of these countries in some areas of sub-Saharan African.


By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate



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