Scholars examine Afro-Arab relations
By Hassan Isilow
African scholars are trying to bridge the current gap between North-Africa which is predominately Arab and the rest of the continent, through research aimed at regional integration.
This was revealed during the launch of a book entitled Regional Integration in Africa: Bridging the North – Sub-Saharan Divide. Published by the Africa Institute of South Africa, which is in the forefront of this campaign.
“This book came as a result of a research project conducted by the Africa Institute of South Africa. It examines the North African countries strategies of involvement with the rest of the continent and their integration initiatives,” said Dr .Matlotleng Matlou, Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Institute of South Africa.
Speaking at the launch of the book held at the Department of Science and Technology head offices in Pretoria, editor of the book, Dr Hamdy A Hassan, Professor of Political Science at Zayed University in Dubai, explained that the book tried to examine why there was a gap between the predominantly Arab North Africa and the rest of the continent.
Hassan believes the book will help many policy makers and academics on the continent to understand causes for the divide and address them appropriately. According to Hassan, the book looked at major issues involving Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. “These countries, in most cases, have been treated as separate from sub-Saharan Africa. However, the historical interests indicate that the North African countries have been and still are closely connected with the rest of the African continent,” he said.
Representatives from the embassies of Brazil, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Germany, Kenya, Mauritania, Romania, Sudan, Senegal, Swaziland, Saharawi and Venezuela participated in an open discussion debating the contents of the book and its relevance to the current political climate in North Africa and the rest of the continent.
The book consists of two parts with the first five chapters written in English, while the last six chapters are written in Arabic.