Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) / Union du Maghreb Arabe (UMA)

ADDRESS

26-27 Rue Ogba, Agdal, Rabat, Morocco
Tel +212-7-77 2668
Fax: +212-7-77 2693

HISTORY AND PRESENT STATUS

The idea of a unified northern Africa was first voiced by Arab nationalists in the 1920s and subsequently received widespread support throughout the turbulence of World War II and the independence movements of the 1950s and 1960s. The first Conference of Maghreb Economic Ministers, which took place in Tunis in 1964, established the Conseil Permanent Consultativ du Maghreb (CPCM) between Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, to co-ordinate and harmonise the development plans of the four countries as well as interregional trade and relations with the European Union. However, for a number of reasons (including territorial disputes, political rivalries and ideological differences), the plans never came to fruition.

The Maghrebi movement regained momentum following the 1987 rapprochement between Algeria and Morocco. Meeting together for the first time in June 1988 at Zeralda, Algeria, the leaders of the five Maghrebi countries appointed a commission and five sub-committees to draft a treaty that would encompass the "Greater Arab Maghreb". After intensive negotiations, the treaty was signed on 17 February 1989, following a two-day summit at Marrakech, Morocco, with formal ratification following shortly thereafter. The treaty provides for membership by other African and Arab countries.

The AMU aims to safeguard the region’s economic interests, foster and promote economic and cultural co-operation, and intensify mutual commercial exchanges as a precursor for integration and the creation of a North African Common Market (also referred to as Maghreb Economic Space). Common defence and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the partners are also key aspects of the AMU Treaty.

The AMU is currently dormant, but attempts are under way to revive it. The Community of Sahel-Saharan States (COMESSA), or Cen Sad, as it is also known, has now also become a role player in the North African Region.

The AMU has no relations with the African Economic Community (AEC) and has not yet signed the Protocol on Relations with the AEC. It has, however, been designated a pillar of the AEC. The other pillars are the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) , Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) , Southern African Development Community (SADC) , and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC)

RELEVANT TREATIES/PROTOCOLS ETC

AMU Treaty
Treaty establishing African Economic Community
Protocol on Relations between the African Economic Community and Regional Economic Communities

GENERAL COMMENTS

No contact with South Africa.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa