A new chance to revive the UMA?

From right to left: Muammar Gaddafi, Muawiya Ould Sid Ahmed Tayaa, Chadli Benjdid, Hassan II, Zine Elabidine Benali

Elkhabar reported today that Algeria made a new proposal to revive the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA). The Algerian idea aims at changing the structures and internal rules of the union so that the political aspect doesn’t hinder the other activities.

The only concrete souvenir I have of the UMA is this picture which many Algerians saw on their national TV or in their school books. It reminds us that 21 years have passed without making any significant advance on the union construction.
We remember Gaddafi’s famous phrase ‘we should put the union in the freezer’, but the most important setback to the UMA construction was definitely the 1994 problems between Algeria and Morocco and the closing of the land borders. This event almost paralysed the union.

Now Morocco says there will be no progress before the borders are opened again, and Algeria says they won’t open them before dealing with many aspects such as security, smuggling, drug traffic, etc. Not to forget the Western Sahara question. And I don’t think these issues will be solved any soon.

And anyway, despite some collaborations at the union level or bilaterally between the union members, the UMA has never been efficient as witnessed  for e.g. by the member states negotiating individually with the European Union.

That’s what apparently pushed Algeria to make its pragmatic suggestion, and try to revive an economic union since a political one is not possible today.Elkhabar said that Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania welcomed the Algerian proposal while Morocco reminded of its conditions for “normalisation”.
A meeting is scheduled in Algiers next June and we will see what will happen. Until then, the UMA’s realised objectives list will remain as empty as its missions’ web page.

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5 thoughts on “A new chance to revive the UMA?

  1. Maybe it is why they are considering using the UMA as an economic entity, and forget about politics and ruling the people.
    Ironically, two days after this post, Libya decided to request a visa from Algerian visitors (without even informing the Algerian authorities) before cancelling it 2 days later and replacing it by 1000 USD.

  2. As far as I know the EU took even half a century or so to see the light. Even they were in a better position to realize their union than the North African countries; who been totally colonized that days.
    Everybody knows the ‘western Sahara’ is the key obstacle to the UMA; and what the Drugs deals through Moroccan borders represent, no more than a revenging tool and not the main issue.
    For the UMA to see the light it must be a strong leader who can drive this perspective, Algeria has loads of talents to do so, but not enough yet. Indeed economy, art and science collaboration can achieve a lot what politics couldn’t.
    Everything has a price though, and ‘Time ‘ is surely part of the solution. IF, we know how to invest it efficiently.

    • Mohammed I didn’t even remember I wrote that. Obviously there was no chance nor sidi zekri.
      I don’t think the EU were in a better position: they were enemies who had just waged a world war against each other before they started the process! What’s blocking the UMA today has little to do with time…

  3. @MnarviDZ;

    Remember the right success is when opportunity (Chance) and preparation meet together, this is the right time of success. and UMA just hasn’t yet met its right time.
    Naturally, if the EU countries didn’t fight each other in the old days, their unification wouldn’t probably see the light…, every thing has a price though.

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