Modernization in North Africa

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-4-78-86

M. Volodina (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation


The article analyzes dynamics of basic factors of a modernization process in North Africa. The main driving forces transforming the region’s economic and political systems are identified. The complex interaction of socio-economic, ethno-linguistic, confessional and tribal-origin factors in transformation processes of North African societies is examined. The influence of a terrorist threat and separatist sentiments on socio-political development of the region is evaluated. The reasons impeding/slowing down modernization processes in North Africa are highlighted. These are: 1) bureaucratic barriers to reform (especially in Algeria); 2) growth of the instability zone in the region (primarily Libya); 3) weak development of legislation to stimulate foreign investment; 4) inter-country contradictions on key political issues (in particular, on the settlement of the Western Sahara problem, the conflict between Algeria and Morocco caused by the status of border areas). Among factors that stimulate modernization processes in North Africa are: 1) gradual integration into the global economy; 2) activity of young people more susceptible to modernization policy; 3) internal political consensus on the need for modernization; 4) involvement of ethnic and tribal groups in the social life of the countries of the region. The political evolution in North Africa is influenced by some issues – the differences in economic and sociocultural development, migration flows, the impact of the European Union states. EU leaders are beginning to realize the need to curb refugee flows from the Southern Mediterranean and, therefore, the importance of political stabilization in this region. Modernization processes in North Africa region have their own characteristics (and, accordingly, difficulties) associated, inter alia, with ethno-confessional problems. A positive solution to these problems depends not only on North African authorities and societies themselves, but also on some European countries, the former metropolitan states (primarily France), which still retain some influence in the region. In addition, successful modernization is important not solely for North African countries. Being a kind of bridge between Africa and Europe, they have a strategic impact on solving problems of the entire African continent, not merely economic, but also such as growth of the terrorist threat belt, uncontrolled arms trafficking, the movement of illegal migration flows to Europe, drug trafficking, etc.


North Africa, modernization, development, Arab countries, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Maghreb, social development, education system, resource potential


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For citation:
Volodina M. Modernization in North Africa. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2019, vol. 63, No 4, pp. 78-86.

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