Reviving the Arab Maghreb Union is necessary to strengthen growth

Rabat, 5 December 2016 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa (Office for North Africa) and the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), held today in Rabat, Morocco the third meeting of the Sub Regional Coordination Mechanism (SRCM) for North Africa.

This event was held to set up a consultation framework for projects supporting efforts by UMA and its member States to build an integrated and inclusive economic and social space in the Maghreb region.

Stepping up economic integration and cooperation between UMA countries appears to be the only line of action for the Maghreb to take up the common challenges posed by the difficult, current economic and political context, said UMA Secretary General Taïeb Baccouche.

“As UMA Secretary General, I aim to revive the integration process and use all my powers to advance cooperation between Maghreb countries. International organisations and donors will play a key role in helping us achieve these objectives”, he said, stressing that UMA has cooperation programmes with various partners to deal with issues related to regional economic integration, energy, food security, environment, employment, and more specifically youth employment.

The Maghreb region has most of the key characteristics of dynamic markets, such as population, per capita income, geographic continuity, transport infrastructure, human resources, cultural and linguistic affinities. However, its free trade area is still at the planning stage and its market is among the least dynamic in Africa, with intra-regional trade accounting for about 4% of trade volume in member countries, according to Omar Abdourahman, Acting Director of the ECA office in North Africa.

Reiterating ECA’s support to UMA through its Office for North Africa, Mr. Abdourahman said, “Reviving the UMA integration process is now a key condition for growth to become more sustained, for countries to become more resilient to external shocks, and for North Africa to be able to take its rightful place as negotiations are well underway for the set up of the Continental Free Trade Area”,

During this meeting, organisation representatives shared their thoughts on the new UMA orientations, identified key areas of cooperation for the 2017-2018 period and opportunities to step up coordination and synergies in partners’ activities at the sub-regional level.

Several UN agencies and partners, including FAO, HCR, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, AIDMO, ICDT, IDB and ISESCO were in attendance.

Note to the Editors

SRCM-North Africa is a branch of the Regional Coordination Mechanism-Africa, an instrument set up to coordinate support by the United Nation system across the continent. The Economic Commission for Africa is responsible for the RCM-Africa secretariat.

In North Africa, the SRCM aims to facilitate consultations and collaboration between United Nations agencies and partner institutions on the one hand, and the Arab Maghreb Union and its member countries on the other hand, to facilitate the implementation of policies aiming to promote development in the sub-region and implement African and global development objectives.

This SRCM meeting has taken place in a context characterised by the adoption of Agenda 2063 for the development of Africa at the continental level and the Sustainable Development Objectives at the global level. The SRCM platform is an adequate platform for the mobilisation and coordination of actions carried out by the United Nations System and other partners to implement both development agendas.

For more information about this event, please visit the following websites: Economic Commission for Africa (, Arab Maghreb Union (

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826