North Africa was once on the geopolitical periphery of Middle East dynamics, but it has increasingly come to shape regional trends. In addition to internal political and economic transformations that were accelerated by the protests of 2011 and that have upended or reshaped the lives of millions of the region’s inhabitants, the region is also contending with a range of external challenges. These include the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic transformation, changing market dynamics including energy markets, the growing presence of new regional actors like Russia and China, and the changing role of traditional allies such as the European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and the United States. These dynamics are compounded by other natural and man-made climate changes and demographic changes that worsen them.

This volume shows why North Africa, sometimes considered a backwater within a broader Middle East context, actually is the leading edge of change for the region and deserving of far more attention from the international community. North African countries are facing a dizzying array of challenges related to domestic and global trends—political transformation either recent or underway, economic stagnation now worsened by the pandemic, social challenges associated with a frustrated young population—are giving the region more geopolitical relevance with implications for the broader Middle East, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chaper 1: From the Shores of Tripoli: The Global Implications of Libya’s Post-2011 Governance Travails
    Frederic Wehrey and Jacqueline Stomski
  • Chapter 2: Egypt’s Waxing Challenges and Waning Power
    Michele Dunne
  • Chapter 3: Moroccan Politics: Defensive at Home, Assertive Abroad
    Mohamed Daadaoui
  • Chapter 4: Tunisia’s Unfinished Revolution: Addressing Regional Inequality
    Sarah E. Yerkes
  • Chapter 5: Mauritania: The Multi-dimensionality of its Enduring Challenges
    Fatima Hadji
  • Chapter 6: Plus ça Change, plus c’est la Même Chose: The Herculean Task of Civilianizing the Algeria State
    Anouar Boukhars
  • Chapter 7: Gender Imbalances across North Africa
    Sarah E. Yerkes
  • Chapter 8: North Africa in the World
    Sarah E. Yerkes and Maha Sohail AlHomoud

Praise for this publication

“Yerkes and her contributors present a sobering assessment of the challenges confronting governments and societies in an understudied but vital region. Through sharp, insightful country studies, the authors highlight troubling economic, social and climate conditions that governments have shown little capacity to manage, even while persistent geopolitical fissures strain weak institutions. This book makes a compelling case for greater engagement with North Africa and underscores the risks of further neglect.”
—Steven Heydemann, Smith College