• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Introduction History Geography People Culture Transport and Industry Demographics Politics and Government Economy Agriculture and Food Tourism Economic Challenges African Arts and Crafts Folklore and Traditional Religion Languages Cuisine Implication of Development and Globalisation Media The Media Environment in North Africa Internet and Media Regulations …01 …03 …06 …08 …09 …11 …12 …14 …25 …27 …30 …31 …33 …34 …35 …38 …39 …42 …44 …45
Northern Africa (UN sub-region)
geographic, including above
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes seven countries or territories; 1. Algeria 2. Egypt 3. 5. 6. Libya Sudan Tunisia 4. Morocco
7. Western Sahara
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Libya together are sometimes referred to as the Maghreb or Maghrib, while Egypt is a transcontinental country by virtue of the Sinai Peninsula, which is in Asia. Three small Spanish plazas de soberanía – tiny islets with military bases off the coast of Morocco with no civilian population – are in the area, and the Spanish Canary Islands and Portuguese Madeira Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African mainland, are sometimes included in considerations of the region. The distinction between Northern Africa and the rest of Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara. Throughout history this barrier has culturally separated the North from the rest of Africa and, as the seafaring civilizations of the Phoenecians, Greeks, Romans and others facilitated communication and migration across the Mediterranean, the cultures of North Africa became much more closely tied to Southwestern Asia and Europe than SubSaharan Africa. The Islamic influence in the area is significant, and North Africa, along with the Middle East, is a major part of the Arab World.
something previously contrary to Roman values to overcome the talented military leader Jugurtha. thus creating a historical enmity between Carthage and Rome. the Vandals. and the wealth required to create
. The Carthaginians were a commercial power and had a strong navy. all Carthaginian territory was eventually conquered by the Romans. and stretching the constitutional burden of the Roman republic. which produced many notable citizens such as Augustine of Hippo. North Africa remained a part of the Roman Empire. She was also rejected by the Trojan prince Aeneas according to Virgil. The loss of North Africa is considered a pinnacle point in the fall of the Western Roman Empire as Africa had previously been an important grain province that maintained Roman prosperity despite the barbarian incursions. whereupon they overcame the fickle Roman defense.History
Antiquity and Ancient Rome The most notable nations of antiquity in western North Africa are Carthage and Numidia. thus gaining a large territory. to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. but relied on mercenaries for land soldiers. as Aeneas would eventually lay the foundations for Rome. Mogador and Volubilis). The Numidian wars are notable for launching the careers of both Gaius Marius. She ingeniously devised a method to extend the cowhide to a high proportion. This led to tension and eventually conflict between Numidia and Rome. the latter being the cause of First Punic War with the Romans. Over a hundred years and more.C. The Carthaginians were of Phoenician origin. The Phoenicians colonized much of North Africa including Carthage and parts of present day Morocco (including Chellah. resulting in the Carthaginian North African territories becoming the Roman province of Africa in 146 B. until incompetent leadership from Roman commanders in the early fifth century allowed the Germanic barbarian tribe. as Marius required a professional army. a Phoenician princess was granted land by a local ruler based on how much land she could cover with a piece of cowhide. and Sulla. with the Roman myth of their origin being that Queen Dido. The Carthaginians developed an empire in the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily.
expanded south into Sub-Saharan Africa. This is placed as the point of no return for the western Roman empire in a historical sense and the last Roman Emperor was deposed in 475 by the Ostrogoth generalissimo Odoacer who saw no purpose in regaining North Africa. except Morocco. African pope Victor I served during the reign of Roman emperor Septimus Severus.new armies. Arab Conquest to modern times The Arab Islamic conquest reached North Africa in 640 AD. Ibn Khaldun noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert. The Byzantine reconquest of North Africa from the Vandals began in 533 AD. Spain and Italy left the entirety of the region under one form of European occupation. and some adhered to their traditional polytheist religion. the United Kingdom. the last attempt by the Romans made a serious attempt to invade North Africa but were repelled. and Sijilimasa.D. The issue of regaining North Africa became paramount to the Western Empire. the imperial and colonial presence of France. of Roman/Berber ancestry. Trade routes between Europe and North Africa remained intact until the coming of the Moslems. Morocco. most of North Africa had fallen to Muslim rule. After the Middle Ages the area was loosely under the control of the Ottoman Empire. The North Africa's populous and flourishing civilization collapsed after exhausting its resources in internal fighting and suffering devastation from the invasion of the Bedouin tribes of Banu Sulaym and Banu Hilal. In the eleventh century. By 670. as Justinian I sent his general Belisarius to reclaim the former Roman province of Africa. but was frustrated by Vandal victories and that the focus of Roman energy had to be on the emerging threat of the Huns. a reformist movement made up of members that called themselves Almoravids. In World War II from 1940 to 1943 the area was the setting for the North African Campaign. After the 19th century. During the 1950s and 1960s all of the North African states gained
. some were Jewish. Indigenous Berbers subsequently started to form their own polities in response in places such as Fez. Some Berbers were Christians (but evolved their own Donatist doctrine).. In 468 A.
.independence. There remains a dispute over Western Sahara between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.
$88. A wide variety of valuable crops including cereals.000
Egypt 1. The sediments of the Sahara overlie an ancient plateau of crystalline rock.216
billion (2009 est. some of which is more than four billion years old.3
$12. which extend across much of Morocco. are part of the fold mountain system which also runs through much of Southern Europe. Elsewhere.000 (2009 est. The Nile valley is particularly fertile. dates and citrus fruits also thrive in these areas. and the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of good farming land. They recede to the south and east.234 (2009)
Semipresidential republic Jamahiriya Arabic Arabic
Libya 1. rice and cotton. and most of Egypt's population lives close to the river.Geography
The Atlas Mountains.6
2.759.449 77. irrigation is essential to improve crop yields on the desert margins.540
6. becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert which covers more than 90% of the region.
Territories and regions Countries and territories Density Population (per km²) Capital
GDP (Total) $239.2
$7. figs.) $477.036. northern Algeria and Tunisia. are grown. and woods such as cedar and cork. Typical Mediterranean crops such as olives. Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains.498.381.300 Libyan
.740 33. the Nile valley and delta.333.
382. United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).550 33.757.617
1.610 10.71 Tunisia 163.175 70 Rabat billion (2008) $88. 15 July 2008.08 Sudan 2.358 14 Khartoum billion (2008) $81.3
Moroccan Moroccan dirham administration
The World Factbook.813 39.000 62 Tunis billion (2008) El Aaiún (Laâyoune) $900 million (2007)
$4.billion (2008) $136.505.379.6 Morocco 446.500 (2007)
Western Sahara Source:
Arabic Authoritarianism and English
Moroccan Constitutional dirham monarchy
All countries in Africa have at least one of these religions: Muslim. and Jewish. Ancient Egyptians record extensive contact in their Western desert with peoples that appear to have been Berber or proto-Berber. while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Most popular ethnic groups in North Africa are Arabs and Berbers. Northwest Africa on the whole is believed to have been inhabited by Berbers since before the beginning of recorded history.People
The inhabitants of North Africa are generally divided in a manner roughly corresponding to the principal geographic regions of North Africa: the Maghreb. Christian. and the Sahara. the Nile Valley. The official language or one of the official languages in all of the countries in North Africa is Arabic.found in World Studies book on Africa
The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related. Arabic-speaking Northwest Africans. often referred to as Berberists. The Nile Valley traces its origins to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Kush. where Arab and Berber identities are often integrated. and almost exclusively follow Islam. Berber peoples have been influenced by other cultures with which they became in contact: Greeks. Arab and elements from neighboring parts of Europe. The Sahara dialects are notably more conservative than those of coastal cities (see Tuareg languages). whether they are primarily Berber. Some Berber-speaking North Africans may identify as "Arab" depending on the social and political circumstances. Egyptians. may view all Northwest Africans as principally Berber. Arabs. This. may or may not exclude pride in and identification with Berber and/or other parts of their heritage. Phoenicians. Romans. The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara therefore combine indigenous Berber. while retaining a sense of national identity that has historically set them apart from other people in the region. regardless of ethnic background. although substantial numbers of Berbers (or Imazighen) have retained a distinct cultural identity which in the 20th century has been expressed as a clear ethnic identification with Berber history and language.or Arabicspeaking (see also Arabized Berber). both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Egyptians over the centuries have shifted their language from Egyptian to modern Egyptian Arabic (both Afro-Asiatic). Asia and Africa. the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouin and Tuareg is particularly marked. In the Sahara. Most Egyptians are Sunni
. The diverse peoples of the Sahara chi que en categorized along ethno-linguistic lines.Culture
The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic. Vandals. and lately Europeans. often identify with Arab history and culture and may share a common vision with other Arabs. Berber political and cultural activists for their part. however. In the Maghreb. Over the years. these lines can be blurred.
almost all in Morocco and Tunisia. (See Jewish exodus from Arab lands.Muslim and a significant minority adheres to Coptic Christianity which has strong historical ties to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church.000 Jews in North Africa.)
. North Africa formerly had a large Jewish population. A smaller number went to Canada. there were about 600. many of whom emigrated to France or Israel when the North African nations gained independence.000– 700. including both Sfardīm (refugees from France. Prior to the modern establishment of Israel. Spain and Portugal from the Renaissance era) as well as indigenous Mizrāḥîm. Today. less than fifteen thousand remain in the region.
.Transport and industry
The economies of Algeria and Libya were transformed by the discovery of oil and natural gas reserves in the deserts. Oil rigs are scattered throughout the deserts of Libya and Algeria. and maintaining the reputation of its high-quality cotton textiles. and as in Egypt and Tunisia. Libyan oil is especially prized because of its low sulphur content. which it means it produces much less pollution than other fuel oils. Egypt has the most varied industrial base. Morocco's major exports are phosphates and agricultural produce. the tourist industry is essential to the economy. importing technology to develop electronics and engineering industries.
the Arabs who arrived in the 7th century have basically assimilated the indigenous Berber people. and are found in parts of southern Cameroon and southern Somalia.Demographics
Africans may be conveniently grouped according to whether they live north or south of the Sahara Desert. known for their tall stature. Black Africans are predominant in Sub-Saharan Africa. Africans from the Northeast parts of the continent typically have a different appearance from those in other regions. Bantu-speaking Africans also predominate in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. "Pygmies" are the indigenous people of central Africa. There is a great diversity of physical types among Sub-Saharan African peoples -. these groups are called North Africans and Sub-Saharan
Africans. respectively. some Nilotic groups in Ethiopia.
Berber peoples remain a significant minority within Morocco and Algeria. and are also present in Tunisia and Libya. In the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa. but there are also several Nilotic groups in East Africa.ranging from the
Masai and Tutsi. Aside from the Nilotic groups of southern Sudan. and the European Greeks and Romans settled in North Africa as well. Speakers of Bantu languages are the majority in southern. and
Arabic speaking Arab-Berber peoples predominate in North Africa. central and east Africa proper. Black Nubians also developed civilizations in North Africa during ancient times. and a Bantu African minority in Somalia. closely related to. The Semitic
Phoenicians. to Pygmies who are among the world's
shortest adults. The Tuareg and other often nomadic peoples are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. the distinct people known as the
Bushmen (also "San". respectively. but distinct from "Hottentots") have long
been present. The San are physically distinct from other Africans and are the indigenous people of southern Africa. The peoples of North Africa are primarily Arab-Berber. and a few remaining indigenous Khoisan ('San' or 'Busmmen') and Pygmy peoples in southern and central Africa.
Eventually. Their descendants. Kenya. Large Indian communities are found in South Africa. a second phase of colonization brought a large number of French and British settlers to Africa. the Afrikaners. Some areas of East Africa.
. Smaller numbers of European soldiers. a large number of Dutch. and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). European colonization also brought sizeable groups of Asians. and are far off in appearance from Arabs in Iraq or Algeria). and in the highlands of what is now Kenya. The British settled in South Africa as well as the colony of Rhodesia. Europeans such as the Portuguese and Dutch began to establish trading posts and forts along the coasts of western and southern Africa. The French settled in large numbers in Algeria. particularly people from the Indian subcontinent. particularly the island of Zanzibar and the Kenyan island of Lamu. Sudan and Mauritania are divided between a mostly Arab north and a black African south (although many of the "Arabs" of Sudan clearly have African ancestry. and on a smaller scale in other areas of North and West Africa. received Arab and Asian Muslim settlers and merchants throughout the Middle Ages. businessmen. South Africa also has a community of mixed-race people (Coloured people). In the 19th century. However in South
Africa. to British colonies.Some Ethiopian and Eritrean groups (like the Amhara and Tigray. A fairly large Indian community in
Uganda was expelled by the dictator Idi Amin in 1972. and officials also established themselves in administrative centers such as Nairobi and Dakar. the white minority (10% of the population) has largely remained in the country
after the end of white rule in 1994. augmented by French Huguenots and
Germans settled in what is today South Africa. collectively known as "Habesha") have Semitic (Sabaean) ancestry. Beginning in the 16th century.
are the largest white group in South Africa today. and smaller ones are present in Kenya and Tanzania and some other southern and east African countries. Ethnic Somalis as a people originated in the Ethiopian highlands. though many have since
returned. Decolonization during the 1960s often resulted in the mass exodus of European-descended settlers out of Africa -especially in Algeria. but most Somali clans can trace Arab ancestry as well.
the societies of North Africa are culturally diverse and geographically dispersed. and in North Africa they were for the most part created by colonial rulers.
Map 7: Colonial Territories in 1914
Map 8: Colonial Territories in 1945
Maps 7 & 8 Key
. didn’t exist in world history until the 19th century. as new mobile groups overran established rulers. The rule of the region was often changing. Nation-states. and new movements of people destabilized older regimes of power. as we know them.Politics and Government
The People of North Africa.
the amount of political opposition they allowed. the throne moved around. When European powers divided the continent between them. etc.html
Colonial governments differed in the amount of autonomy they granted indigenous inhabitants. though Morocco has the longest existing monarchy in the world. Review the maps below. conquered or took over new areas.edu/africa/curriculum/lm10/actthree.msu. they tried a variety of governance systems. and notice how the colonial borders shifted and where the current political borders are.
Independence Dates of North African Countries As with the rest of Africa. For a review of the political impact of colonialism please refer to Module Ten: African Politics and Government. the actual borders of the country were never entirely set—they were in flux as groups of people loyal to. Activity Three—The Political Heritage of Colonialism. The colonists often capitalized on ethnic divisions in the region (especially between Arab and Berber peoples) to take over territories. etc. An excellent history of this is recounted by Gavin Maxwell in Lords of the Atlas (2000). the involvement of locals in the governance of their country. for the most part agreed upon today (we will see in our discussion of the Western Sahara situation how this colonial division has created problems for current states in the region). When the North African countries were granted independence (see map below). and these have adapted over time to their diverse populations and situations.matrix.
http://ex. For a review of politics and governance in the continent please link to
. there are different types of governance and political practice in North Africa. they created the borders which are. or allied against. the ability of elites to gain education in the ruling country.For instance.
political parties based on religion have been outlawed. and social displacement (urbanization and modernization) have created conditions that foster Islamic fundamentalism which is completely opposed to democratic principles of governance. the lack of economic opportunity.
The major types of governance in North Africa are:
Algeria. However. Both Algeria and Egypt have bicameral legislatures while Tunisia is unicameral. Activity Four: Politics and Government in
Post-Colonial Africa.Module Ten: African Politics and Government. there is a variety of individual freedoms in each country. meaning they are governed by elected legislative bodies. To be sure. and Tunisia are all republican democracies. The governments of these countries defend the restrictions on political rights arguing that political rights without restrictions would result in political chaos and violence. and Egypt requires all citizens 18 and above to vote. Freedom of the press is restricted to different degrees within each country. All three allow all citizens above the age of 18 (20 in Tunisia) to vote. On the substantive side—that is the quality of democratic practice—protection of political and human rights in these countries. In structure. They all support many political parties and representation is proportional (seats in the legislature are awarded not to which party wins a certain region of the country. Egypt. In Algeria and Egypt. In Tunisia. one fundamentalist Islamic party is outlawed as well. these governments modeled themselves after European parliamentary systems in which heads of state (head of the executive branch—the president) and heads of government (head of the legislative branch—the prime minister) are different. in structure and substance they are not necessarily like the United States. it is necessary to
. may challenge our understanding of democratic practice. but by percentages to each party based on what percentage of the vote they received). Though these countries are democracies. They point out that social and political instability caused by poverty. Consequently. Legislators and executive officers (presidents) serve terms of 5 to 6 years. these governments argue. each country has illegalized certain forms of political participation.
This concept arises out of the enlightenment and the civil wars in parts of Europe where various Christian factions battled for political power. the military dictator. the upper house is elected indirectly by local councils. The legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament. professional organizations. though it differs from Great Britain and other constitutional monarchies you may know. in reality the nation is governed by a military dictatorship which hasn’t changed since it took over in 1969 when cornel Muammar Quadhafi took power in a military coup.
Libya is a unique government in the region for two reasons.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. in theory. a completely different adoption of Islamic rule and application of the Sharia is found in Libya. First. yet and considers Libya to be a Socialist Islamic State! You may have been taught about the concept of the separation of church and state in your social studies or government classes. Islam. and labor syndicates for nine-year terms. while the lower house is elected by popular vote for five-year terms. even these nations (including the U. the complete law of the state. Hassan II died in 1999. Indeed.restrict some political and democratic rights in order to protect their countries from becoming much more un-democratic. In Morocco. as extracted directly from the Quran.) often maintain strong cultural ties to churches. Islamic law—Sharia lawis included to varying extent in the national laws of the country. Muammar Quadhafi. was developed as a state religion even at the
. who just took the throne when his father. unlike Christianity. only in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan under the Taliban regime was Sharia law. However.
The one factor all these countries have in common is the attempt to integrate some aspects of Islamic law into the judicial system of each country. Interestingly.S. runs the executive branch and appoints the prime minister and his cabinet. Second. bases laws on the codes of behavior outlined in the Quran. it is a socialist democracy in which people govern themselves through local political councils. King Mohammed VI. though these councils do exist and function.
a paper by Dr. drawn by colonialists.com/researches/contradictione. in the post-colonial era North Africa has experienced political conflicts. Algeria. North Africa is no exception. An excellent example of this is the disputed territory of the Western Sahara. and on the relations of Muslim citizens with each other (especially in civil laws). was colonized by the Spanish rather than the French who colonized Morocco (with the exception of two Spanish cities on the Mediterranean coast). The Quran (Koran) includes instructions on running governments. Crisis Over the Western Sahara
Because national borders and movements of people were fluid before colonialism. they
. Political Conflicts As in other regions of Africa. the arbitrary borders.htm.time of its birth. or start by reading The Contradiction Between the Islamic
State and the Religious State. Ahmed Subhy Mansour on the web at
http://ahmed. Many scholars address the issue of the Islamic state. between southern Morocco and Mauritania. on the rights of people. have been in dispute in many areas throughout post-colonial Africa. both within individual countries and between neighboring countries. As the people of the region (called Saharawis) became sedentary. We will briefly look at examples of each type of conflict. This area.g3z. ask your librarian. and Tunisia. If you are interested in more information.
the Polisario was formed to wage guerilla warfare against the Spanish colonists. claiming Western Sahara as a Moroccan province (the anniversary of the Green March remains a celebrated national holiday in Morocco). 300. however maintains her sovereignty over the entire territory. You may be wondering why all the fuss? There are both economic and social causes of this conflict.began to reject colonial leaders and demand their independence. with virtually no arable land. Because of Algeria’s support for the Polisario. has been repeatedly postponed. including the portion first ceded to Mauritania. Morocco. the Polisario demanded independence completely for the territory and Mauritania gave up her portion in a treaty signed with the group in 1979. A referendum on the future of the territory. it is rich in phosphate and in iron ore and supports rich fishing waters along its coast. In 1973. Western Sahara is a sparsely populated. relations between Algeria and Morocco were cut off at times and remain very tense. However. phosphate is a valuable
. very hostile desert. overseen by the UN. The Spanish gave up rights to the territory in 1976. Morocco and the Polisario waged war until a UN-brokered peace agreement in 1991. However. Before signing the treaty with Spain.
Moroccan Soldier Patrols the Sahara © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. granting the northern two-thirds to Morocco and the southern third to Mauritania.000 soldiers and citizens of Morocco participated in the “the Green March” and walked south across the border. As we will learn in Activity 4 that follows.
James Baker. and what the referendum should say. been within the cultural and governance sphere of the Islamic states which ruled the region since the eighth century CE and from which the Moroccan dynasty traces its origin. In addition to economic concerns.). Both organizations have unsuccessfully attempted to mediate between the Polisario and Morocco since the beginning of the dispute in 1976. Secretary of State in the first Bush administration. In effect. Crisis in Algeria
. Saharawi groups have. mediating team for the Western Sahara. The OAU gave up it attempt to mediate in the dispute in the 1980s when Morocco withdrew it membership from the OAU because its government felt that the OAU was biased in favor of the Shararwi. Currently. The situation remains complicated: a popular referendum to determine the future of the territory is constantly postponed as government and Polisario (along with United Nations negotiators) disagree on who should be allowed to vote (pre-Green March residents. The African Union (formally known as the Organization of African Unity/OAU) and the United Nations have been engaged the crisis in the Western Sahara since it began. Both sides consider the wealth of that resource worth the fight. at various historical times. Morocco is the only African nation to withdraw its membership from the OAU/AU. current residents. etc.N. how the elections should take place. is leading the U. Polisario argues that Saharawis are a separate nation from the Moroccans and that the Saharawi people should be independent of Moroccan rule. like other Berber and Arab ethnic groups. the identity of the Saharawi people is also contested.S.mineral and is a main export of Morocco. former U. only the UN is actively engaged in a mediation effort. Saharawis in Algerian refugee camps. Moroccans see Saharawis as another of the diverse peoples that make up the Moroccan Nation.
is very amenable to agricultural. What were the causes of this political violence? To answer this question we must go back in history.
. in the recent past Algeria has suffered more from internal conflict and violence than any other country in North Africa. geographical proximity to France and agricultural potential.Without a doubt. It is estimated that in the decade between 1992 and 2002 CE more than 100. just across the Mediterranean Sea to the south. though very narrow. Unlike France’s other African colonies which were thousands of miles from France. In the eighth century CE the indigenous Berber peoples were conquered by the rapidly expanding Arab Islamic forces from the east. particularly to the cultivation of fruits. Algeria has a long history of occupation by outside rulers.000 Algerians were killed as a result of politically motivated acts of violence. some missionaries. Moreover. These two factors. and a few business people. Algeria became the first of many French colonies in Africa. The coastal region of contemporary Algeria was an important part of the Roman Empire. finally in 1830 the Ottomans in Algeria (but not elsewhere) were defeated by the French who fully colonized Algeria in 1848. grains. and vegetables. Algeria was located less than 500 miles away. And. The history of French colonization in Algeria was unique—very different from the history of France’s other African colonies. made Algeria attractive immigrants from France. In the 16th century Algeria became part of the powerful Ottoman Empire. In addition. In France’s other African colonies the only French people to live there were officials of the colonial government. providing wheat and other agricultural products that helped feed Rome. the coastal region of Algeria.
These settlers took control of the best agricultural lands in the country and also soon dominated the economies of urban areas. social. the military regime
. The situation in Algeria was different. separated from the rest of France by just a couple hundred miles of the Mediterranean Sea. 1962 Algeria became independent with great optimism. In the 1950s and 1960s when France (and other European colonial powers) submitted to the demands for political freedom by the African populations in their other colonies. under the leadership of the National Liberation Front. as a settler dominated colony. shared similarities with South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) which were also settler dominated colonies within the British colonial system. leading to increasing dissatisfaction with the government. which governed Algeria from 1965. This struggle resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Algerians and Frenchmen/women. The French settlers came to view Algeria not so much as a French colony. many of the economic policies put in place during this time did not result in steady economic growth. Algeria.most of the French officials who lived in an African colony spent only part of their adult lives in that colony. The military regime. based on part on the growing revenues from her new petroleum industry. During the nearly 120 years of French colonial rule thousands of French people moved to Algeria and settled there. due to resistance from the settlers in Algeria. Convinced that the French government would continue to side with the interests of the French settlers in Algeria. Algerians undertook a war of liberation which lasted from 1954-1962. By the late 1980s many Algerians. Unfortunately. and political problems. At the same time. responded positively to new Islamic movements which claimed that a return to strict Islamic observance was the solution to Algeria’s economic. and inspired in part by the American revolution. France refused to grant independence to Algeria. some families for multiple generations. unhappy with continuing economic decline and their inability to express their political displeasure. You will more about these colonies in Module 20 Southern Africa. but as a province of France. During the next three decades (1962-1991) Algeria was governed by civilian and military governments which were secular and socialist in their orientation. On July 5. did not tolerate public dissent.
However. The elections were clearly and overwhelming won by the Islamic Salvation Front which advocated the establishment of an Islamic government in Algeria. the FSI agreed to disband. This clearly thwarted the will of the majority of the people who rallied around the Islamic Salvation Front (FSI) to resist continued rule by a military controlled regime. decided to ignore the results of the elections and installed a civilian government which excluded the Islamists. with the tacit support of Western governments.S. The Algerian army. Terrorism It would be inappropriate to ignore the issue of terrorism in this region. continuing at a much reduced level. agreed to return Algeria to civilian rule and in December. After elections in 1999. Political violence did not disappear in Algeria. Abdelaziz Boutefilka (who was first elected in 1999) won a hotly contested presidential election with 85% of the vote. 1991 held the first elections in nearly 30 years. Fortunately the Algerian story became somewhat more positive in the early 21st Century. it is also inappropriate to suggest or assume that North African (and other) Islamic governments support terrorism or violence. However.2000 CE when the FSI agreed to disband. with the tacit support of France and the U.. refuse to recognize the democratic choice of the Algerian people? These groups did not want to see the establishment of another Islamic Republic in region . Islamic parties continue to be banned from participating in Algerian elections. The people of North Africa have been familiar with terrorist acts perpetrated against their own governments (and against the people themselves) by a variety of terrorist groups.000 Algerians (almost all civilians) from 1992. Why did the military. The struggle for power between these two groups led to a civil conflict which resulted in the death of around 100. which banned Islamic parties. In April 2004. Some of these movements have been nationalist movements against governments or
.responding to domestic and international pressure. Many of these attacks have been by Islamic fundamentalists hoping to “purify” their society and the political system of secular influences and to create state systems based exclusively or primarily on the Quran (you will remember from Learning Activity 2: The People of North Africa that fundamentalist revolutions have been common in the region since the Arab invasion of the late 600s).
Libya under Muammar Quadhafi supported some of these groups.
. However. The other nations of North Africa long ago outlawed extremist and violent activities and have taken leading roles internationally in supporting peace initiatives throughout the region. the UN imposed sanctions against Libya for this reason from 1992-2002. Indeed. and the world. in 2004 Quadhafi publicly renounced the use of terrorism. and dramatically ended Libya’s nuclear weapons development program. the Middle East.ruling political parties (like the Polisario in Western Sahara) and still others have been in response to former colonial regimes (terrorist bombings in France in the mid-1990s). Scotland (paying millions of dollars of compensation to families of each of the victims of this tragedy). took responsibility for the bombing of the Pan American flight over Lockerbie.
etc. How much of a country’s economy is based on informal or formal economic activities varies by country. and people trade homemade crafts and surplus foodstuffs all without the regulation of the government. In the United States. like buying and selling goods. etc. the government doesn’t or can’t regulate the exchange so these are informal economic activities. These activities are called formal because they can be regulated: workers and customers have safety protections. when people barter.
. making products in factories. paying taxes. produce goods and are paid for our labor. we are really talking about two interrelated types of economic behavior: formal and informal. most of the economy is formal: we use money. etc. Informal economic activities are those that are not regulated. the informal economy is very important. the government can exact taxes. men negotiate whose animals will plow the fields. Women barter with each other over who will do which domestic chores. For instance. We do engage in informal economics all the time though—if you’ve ever offered to do your sibling’s chores this week so that she/he will do yours next week. you’ve bartered! In many part of Africa. Formal economic behavior is what you’ve probably studied in Social Studies.Economy
North Africa and other countries. are taxed.
Moroccan Women Work in a Sardine Cannery (Formal Economy) © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin.
.Egyptian Women Weave at Home to Trade for Goods (Informal Economy) © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin.
Egyptians also cultivate crops that need more water. The region depends on its fertile areas to grow crops. cotton and even rice. grains like barley. oats and even corn.Agriculture and Food
Agriculture is still one of the most important sectors of the economies of North Africa. grapes (for eating and to produce wine). including sugarcane.
Tunisian Olive Harvesting © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. wheat. The number of people employed in agriculture varies by country: about 50% in Morocco. and other Mediterranean and arid produce. dates and figs in abundance. including oranges and other citrus fruits. legumes like lentils and chickpeas. 25% in Algeria and probably even fewer in Libya which imports close to 75% of its food. peppers and eggplants. both for feeding the population and for export. onions. olives. vegetables.. 40% in Egypt. like nuts.S. In the Nile Valley.
Egyptian Woman Prepares Bread To Sell © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. including tomatoes that are shipped to the U.
Moroccan Herders Graze Sheep © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. salt. The seas provide fish both for consumption and for export. zinc. horses. especially for sheep but also for cows. and coal (in Morocco). The region also has deposits of other minerals including iron ore. poultry. Petroleum and natural
. gypsum. As you remember from Learning Activity Three [link to this page] the Western Sahara is a major phosphate producer. and mules. lead. silver. goats. camels. manganese.Moroccan Wheat Harvest in Atlas Mountains © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. barytine. limestone.
Minerals and other Natural Resources Much of North Africa is mineral rich.
Egyptian Boy Guides Water Buffalo © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. Marginal lands in North Africa provide scrub for a large livestock livelihood. and. gold. of course.
Morocco produces leather goods from its livestock resources. Algeria refines and bottles its olive oil. raising livestock. For example. construction materials fabrication. and extracting oil and gas).
. and Libya refines its oil and natural gas resources.gas exports provide most of Libya’s revenues. but the rest of the region also contains sizeable deposits of these resources.
Tunisian Olive Oil Refinery © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. their manufacturing and production capacities tend to start with their major resources exports and branch out into other industries. food and beverage (especially wine) processing. especially Algeria and Egypt. North Africa also produces forest products. chemical and fertilizer producing. metallurgy including iron and steel making as well as jewelry crafting. Lastly. including furniture and cabinet wood. commerce and production bases As the countries of North Africa industrialize. and is a leading producer of cork. Tunisia manufactures wood products. and even paper milling—are providing increasing employment for urban workers (as well as rural workers in areas like mining minerals. Egypt has grown a flourishing textile industry from its cotton resources.
Industry. Across the region these and other industries—including textile and leather goods manufacturing.
American. but many agencies.Tourism
Like in East Africa. When North Africans emigrate to Europe (particularly to France. Hence Morocco. but not all tourists necessarily want to “rough it” in that manner. in that they continually add income to the region’s people. and Egypt are popular destinations while the recent instability of Algeria and Libya make these less appealing to European. Stability and safety are absolutely necessary in attracting tourism so governments that can contain popular unrest and stability can actively seek tourism as an alternative economic industry. Germany. This has important implication for the political structure of these nations as well as for the people who live in these countries. and Asian travelers. and Spain) or other regions of the world to find employment. Tunisia.
. You already learned about Tuaregs in the Sahara inviting tourists to learn about and experience their traditional lifestyles in Learning Activity 2. Along the coasts and the interior of the region are a variety of luxury resorts and hotels. mid-priced business convention centers. they often send a portion of their earnings back to their families at home. Tourism also increases both formal and informal economic opportunities as North Africans find formal employment with hotels and touring companies and offer their informal assistance as guides or open their homes to travelers. this is informal economic activity and cannot be regulated until inhabitants spend the money on their foodstuffs and other necessities. tourism is of increasing importance in North Africa—Morocco and Tunisia are high tourism earners. However. It is almost impossible to accurately measure remittances. Italy. note that remittances are vital to North African economies. Remittances North African economies also depend on the remittances of emigrated workers. and budget accommodations for backpackers and “adventure” tourists. These remittances are vital to the economies of North Africa. including the United Nations and regional governments.
See the African Cultural Center’s webpage on wealth to see how the nations of Africa compare to each other. Libya often has the highest GDP per capita of the continent since it produces large amounts of petroleum. This disparity of wealth and significant poverty. are some of the factors that have lead to increasing anti-government movements. Morocco © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. due both to its proximity to European markets and its natural resources.Economic challenges
Disparity of wealth/resources
North Africa is one of the wealthiest regions of Africa.
Urban Market in Fez. both in urban slums and in rural areas. though the region’s nations (with the exception of Libya. which is slightly higher due to oil revenues) all have GDP per capita of $1000-$2000.
. there is great diversity of wealth within North African countries. including fundamentalism. As you learned in Learning Activity Two.
.Libyan Rural Market © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin.
African arts and crafts find expression in a variety of woodcarvings. A stranger may be from some other tribe or someone from a different country. Many pieces of such jewellery are made of cowry shells and similar materials. brass and leather art works. community founder. masks are made with elaborate designs and are important part of African culture. African arts and crafts also include sculpture. Masks are used in various ceremonies depicting ancestors and spirits. The couple theme rarely exhibit intimacy of men and women. pottery. married couple or twins. certain themes significant to African culture recur. The theme is also representative of mother mars and the people as her children. including a couple. The man with the weapon or animal theme symbolizes honor and power. The mother with the child or children reveals intense desire of the African women to have children. paintings. a male with a weapon or animal.African Art and Crafts
Africa has a rich tradition of arts and crafts.
. and an outsider or a stranger. In most of traditional art and craft of Africa. mythological characters and deities. and more distorted portrayal of the stranger indicates proportionately greater gap from the stranger. African culture has always placed emphasis on personal appearance and jewelry has remained an important personal accessory. Similarly. a woman with a child. ceremonial and religious headgear and dress. Couples may represent ancestors.
Chameleon hearing a strange noise in a tree cut open its trunk and water came out in a great flood that spread all over the land. according to a Pygmy myth. a mythological story from Côte d'Ivoire states that a charitable man gave away everything he had. advised him to leave the area. flood myths have been circulating in different parts of Africa. African folklore and folktales represent a variety of social facets of African culture. Like almost all civilizations and cultures. The God Ouende rewarded him with riches.Folklore and traditional religion
Like all human cultures. and sent six months of rains to destroy his selfish neighbors. Similarly. The first human couple emerged with the water. For example.
Swahili and Hausa. the number is much higher. Bambara. others are spoken by millions. and many more. All these languages and dialects do not have same importance: some are spoken by only few hundred persons.Languages
The continent of Africa speaks hundreds of languages. and if dialects spoken by various ethnic groups are also included. Some Africans may also speak different languages such as Malagasy. Spanish.
. English. The language of Africa presents a unity of character as well as diversity. as is manifest in all the dimensions of Africa. Very few countries of Africa use any single language and for this reason several official languages coexist. Among the most prominent languages spoken are Arabic. French. African and European. Four prominent language families of Africa are:
• • • •
Afro-Asiatic Nilo-Saharan Niger-Kordofanian Khoisan
An early center of literature was the "African Ink Road". Sotho.
The Niger-Congo language family covers much of Sub-Saharan Africa and is probably the largest language family in the world in terms of different languages. There are four major language families native to Africa. Kenya. Afro-Asiatic extends from the North Africa through the Horn of Africa to Southwest Asia. Nilo-Saharan languages are mainly spoken in Chad. Sudan.Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. Many of the Khoisan languages are endangered. and northern Tanzania. A substantial number of them are the Bantu languages spoken in much of subSaharan Africa. Southwest Asia. Niger-Congo is divided to show the size of the Bantu sub-family.
. and parts of the Sahel. By most estimates.
The Nilo-Saharan language family consists of more than a hundred languages spoken by 30 million people.
The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout the Horn of Africa. Uganda. Ethiopia.
The Khoisan languages number about 50 and are spoken in Southern Africa by approximately 120 000 people. Africa contains well over a thousand languages.
nearly all African countries have adopted official languages that originated outside the continent and spread through colonialism or human migration. education and the media. With a few notable exceptions in East Africa.
. Arabic. Afrikaans and Malagasy are other examples of originally non-African languages that are used by millions of Africans today. in numerous countries English and French are used for communication in the public sphere such as government. For example. Portuguese.The Khoi and San peoples are considered the original inhabitants of this part of Africa. both in the public and private spheres. commerce.
The African village diet is often milk. banana and plantain are some of the more familiar fruits. there are numerous wild fruits and vegetables which are used as food. accompanied by stew containing meat or vegetables. beans and cereals. Watermelon. Arabic influences are also reflected in East African cuisine – rice cooked with spices in style. curds and whey. and juice. including use of food products like peppers.
. starchy cassava. Exotic game and fish are gathered from Africa's vast area. The cuisine of South Africa and neighboring countries have largely become polyglot cuisines. cinnamons. North Africa. which goes well with most African cuisine. several other spices. and are not generally consumed as food. Thus. Differences are also noticeable in eating and drinking habits across the continent of Africa. yams and sweet potatoes are widely consumed. In each African locality. sheep and goats were regarded as a form of currency. Africans also use steamed greens with hot spices. Cooking techniques of West Africa often combine fish and meat. or both. and Europeans with "mixed grills" that now include African game meats. Nigeria and coastal parts of West Africa love chilies in food. peas. Dishes of steamed or boiled green vegetables. Cattle. Traditional African cuisine is characterized by use of starch as a focus. along the Mediterranean from Morocco to Egypt has different food habits than Saharan Africans who consume subsistence diet. Cassava and yams are the main root vegetables.Cuisine
Africa is a huge continent and the food and drink of Africa reflect local influences. having influences of several immigrants which include Indians who brought lentil soups (dals) and curries. peanuts and maize introduced by the colonizers. including dried fish. The most familiar alcoholic drink in the interior Africa is the Ethiopian honey wine called Tej. milk and meat products. Non-Muslim population of Africa also uses alcoholic beverages. Traditionally. as also glimpses of colonial food traditions. The African cuisine is a combination of traditional fruits and vegetables. use of cloves. Malays who came with their curries with spices. East African cuisine is distinctive in the sense that meat products are generally absent.
North America. labor and other resources that African countries (and the rest of the developing nations) provide. Throughout the course of this movement. As globalization increases. economic problems in one region (at that time East Asia) can reverberate around the world. Development is more relevant to our lives than you may think. instigating economic recession in a variety of places. One of the tenets of development today is that all people have the right to self-determination. we need the raw materials. the economic wellbeing of foreign nations becomes more and more important to our livlihoods. and Asia. there has been a movement to “develop” the rest of the world in line with the industrial development of Western Europe and the United States and Canada.
Egyptian Caretakers of Cairo Apartment Building © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. Not only do we need markets to sell our goods. This is not just true of our economic lives—as we can see in Afghanistan and Iraq. from economic modernization to provision of social services to the poor to redesign of economic systems to political and social empowerment of populations.
. not only conflict but also peace. that no nation should be forced to follow a prescribed path to their future. how we interact with other governments and people can produce not only terrorists but also allies.Implications of development and globalization
Like the rest of Africa. As you may remember from the late 1990s. the goals of this development have changed. Since shortly after World War Two. North African countries are called developing nations because they have a significantly lower GDP than the industrialized nations of Europe.
Horn of Africa). The main ethno-linguistic divisions are Afro-Asiatic (North Africa.
. and Khoisan (indigenous minorities of Southern Africa). The wide distribution of Bantu peoples across Sub-Saharan Africa.Development is also expanding beyond purely economic concerns. and to survive. and Sub-Saharan Africa. which is in turn divided into a great number of ethnic and tribal cultures. These messages highlight how people in the developed world. Development also relates to social-cultural change as well as environmental concerns. use far more resources than other people and that to be good neighbors. Sustainable
development is based on a concept that no one should take more from the environment
than it can sustain. Chad. especially the United States. Also including parts of Oceania. Nilo-Saharan in parts of the Sahara and the Sahel and parts of Eastern Africa. but has fallen out of fashion in African studies. The notion of a "Pan-African" culture was discussed in seriousness in the 1960s and 1970s in the context of the Négritude movement. and to develop new and better ways of conserving the world’s natural assets.
The main split is between North Africa.
Egyptian Shopkeeper Takes a Smoke Break © Africa Focus: University of Wisconsin. we also need to change our behavior. and India. and that we should leave enough for future generations. Niger-Congo (mostly Bantu) in most of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Eastern Africa. The wide use of Swahili as a lingua franca further establishes the Bantu peoples as a nearly "PanAfrican" cultural influence. Central Africa as well as Southern Africa is a result of the Bantu expansions of the 1st millennium AD.encompassing parts of Western Africa.
Morocco. In this regard. especially with the introduction of technologies that overcome poor ICT infrastructure that hinders Internet access in the region. Bahrain. and commercial 3G mobile services have been launched in Egypt. WiMAX. Microsoft is working on translation technology that would make the Arabic language more accessible to Internet users as part of Qatar’s Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology’s initiative to develop more Web sites with Arabic content. and Thomson Foundation are among the partners of the zone.4 Additionally.5
. some countries have initiated efforts to develop Arabic Web content. which will give sales and income tax breaks to the software companies and business development firms based in the zone. Thomson Reuters Foundation. was commercially available by end of March 2009 in Algeria. Morocco and Tunisia. BBC.3 The number of Internet users is likely to continue to rise. the Financial Times. the United Arab Emirates launched a new content creation zone to support media content creators in the Middle East and North Africa. broadband markets are growing fast in Algeria. Egypt. Sudan. broadcast. while operators in other parts of the region have started testing the service. Jordan. Libya. Kuwait.1 In addition to existing regional hubs Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. digital and publishing.Media
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to invest in IT infrastructure and media projects as part of their strategies to develop the local economies and create employment. for example.2 billion in 2009 to $3 billion by end of 2011. Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. Syria. The zone is part of a strategy designed to increase the number of Internet users from 26 percent to 50 percent. and Tunisia. CNN. Among the major examples are Jordan’s plans to establish a free IT zone in Amman. It aims to increase employment in the sector and to boost the sector’s revenues from $2. The new Abu Dhabi-based zone aims to employ Arab media professionals in film.2 At the same time.
Jordan. while in the rest of the countries the under-25.7 However. Oman. Saudi Arabia.Demographic factors are also expected to contribute to the growth of Internet population. technologically accomplished demographic group—its youth—who are comfortable with it and will customize it to their own requirements. Most incumbent telecom companies in North Africa are already in private hands. Morocco and Egypt are estimated to be currently less than 25 years old. experts say telecom liberalization in the Middle East and North Africa still lags behind the rest of the world in terms cost and efficiency. “over 50% of the population in Yemen.”6 Liberalization of telecommunications markets has already taken place in several Arab countries.” The report also revealed that. with exception of Algerie Telecom.8
. ‘net generation’ makes up around 35% to 47% of total population. “Digital media will thrive in the Arab market because the market has a large. the privatization of which has been postponed due to the global economic crisis. The Arab Media Outlook 2008–2012 says that. a matter which does not encourage direct foreign investment.
and Saudi Arabia) were from the region. In a list created by the Committee to Protect Journalists of the ten worst countries to be a blogger. four such countries (Egypt.10
.9 This media environment created by authorities has been hostile to bloggers and online activism. and over the past few years. Syria.The Media Environment in North Africa
The North Africa is one of the most heavily censored regions in the world. resulting in a number of arrests across the region. Human rights watchdogs and free speech advocacy groups continue to criticize the media restrictions and repressive legal regimes. a great number of bloggers and cyber-dissidents have been jailed. Such laws have often been used to suppress reporting of corruption or scrutiny of government actions. stating that the laws in most of the region’s countries still permit the jailing of journalists for undermining the reputation of the state. Tunisia. The International Federation of Journalists called for a radical overhaul of media laws . the monarch or the religion. the president. In April 2009.
Rifts between the censors and local and regional advocates of freedom of speech have intensified. particularly among users of Web forums. Interestingly. other online campaigns which call for and support social censorship . The head of the center was later criticized by Qatar officials as well as some journalists and was accused of endorsing pornography. Also.Internet and Media Regulations
The last few years have witnessed an increase in the debate over media and Internet censorship in the region. While it is common for Internet groups and online activists in the region to organize online campaigns to condemn online censorship and arrests of bloggers and online writers.11 Another example of such a rift is from the Gulf countries. which limit freedom of speech online.mostly online pornography . some Internet users in North African countries where there is no social filtering have organized online campaigns to demand filtering of sexually explicit content.12 which is a sensitive topic in many North African societies.have emerged in the past few years. while advocates in the region criticize the regimes for the repressive regulations. some governments claim they arrest bloggers and online activists because they abuse what the regimes call “media freedom.13
. For instance. and more voices continue to express concern about media regulations in the region." The Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information deplored the charges and described them as a black comedy.” In Egypt for example. the authorities arrested a blogger in May 2009 under the accusation of "Exploitation of the democratic climate prevailing in the country to overthrow the regime. where the head of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom criticized Dubai Police for allegedly asking Google to censor YouTube. The site offers to facilitate blocking of Web sites by sending user-submitted URLs of questionable content to the censors in some of the region’s countries. an Arabic Web site called Ehjeb (Arabic for the verb "to block") is becoming increasingly popular.
. These examples and cases illustrate how the fight over access control is taking different shapes and forms. a Cairo court ruled in favor of an Egyptian lawyer and ordered the Egyptian government to ban access to pornographic Web sites because they are deemed offensive to the values of religion and society. For example. In Tunisia however. The court dismissed the case in November 2008 without providing any explanation.Pro-censorship advocates and anti-censorship activists have also used the court system in their attempts to implement or remove censorship. and also indicate that different players will continue the debate and challenge each other. a judge in Egypt filed a lawsuit requesting the banning of 51 Web sites considered offensive. The court rejected the lawsuit in December 2007 and emphasized support for freedom of expression as long as the Web sites do not harm local beliefs or public order. a blogger challenged the Web filtering regime in the country by filing a legal suit against the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) for censoring the social networking site Facebook after it was briefly blocked in August 2008. In May 2009 however.