Mr. Alexei P Kireyev, Mr. Boaz Nandwa, Ms. Lorraine Ocampos, Mr. Babacar Sarr, Mr. Ramzy Al Amine, Mr. Allan G Auclair, Mr. Yufei Cai, and Mr. Jean-Francois Dauphin
Individual countries of the Maghreb have achieved substantial progress on trade, but, as a region they remain the least integrated in the world. The share of intraregional trade is less than 5 percent of their total trade, substantially lower than in all other regional trading blocs around the world. Geopolitical considerations and restrictive economic policies have stifled regional integration. Economic policies have been guided by country-level considerations, with little attention to the region, and are not coordinated. Restrictions on trade and capital flows remain substantial and constrain regional integration for the private sector.
The Founding Treaty of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), signed in February 1989, calls for a strengthening of all ties among its member states (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia), including a gradual move toward free circulation of goods, services, and factors of production among them. The paper provides an overview of the economic conditions in the AMU member countries, describes the institutional arrangements under the AMU, and assesses the progress made in attaining the economic objectives of the Treaty. In so doing, the paper identifies the main obstacles encountered in making progress toward the objectives of the Treaty and reviews actions that need to be taken to make further progress in the coming years. In that context, the paper also examines the relationship of the AMU countries with the European Union (EU).