General Issues and Regional Groups
Edited by Miroslav N. Jovanović
Chapter 21: Globalisation Challenges and New Arab Regionalism: Towards a New Deal of South–South Integration
Mohieddine Hadhri A INTRODUCTION The Arab world is known for its protracted debates on pan-Arab political and economic unity. However, until the 1990s none of the integration projects showed any sustainable success. Instead, the region belonged to those parts of the world where regionalisation lagged and remained at a very low level. Nevertheless, in the context of globalisation and regionalism, the view that regional integration will be pivotal to the prosperity of the area remains relevant for most policy makers in the Arab world. Indeed, regional integration constitutes the best way forward for these countries to increase the availability of resources for production, through increased productivity and an enhanced resource base. The creation of an Arab market would therefore have a multiplier effect on the separate policies pursued by each country individually. Consequently, the region’s attractiveness should be that much greater. In short, the question of the re-establishment of a collective platform for the Arab countries to give a coherent and credible voice to their interests in the international system is recognised as central. In this spirit, the Arab Economic Summit held in Kuwait during 18–19 January 2008 has confirmed the need to accelerate the economic integration of Arab states, including the launch of an Arab Customs Union in 2010 and an Arab Common Market in 2020. In order to ensure a better understanding of the new regionalism, this chapter concentrates on the emergence and development of new regional structures in and around the Middle East and North Africa...
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