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The North Africa Initiative


The Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies’ Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) is launching the North Africa Initiative (NAI), a new program dedicated to enhancing scholarship on the political economies, and internal dynamics of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania.


NAI will be dedicated to the study of North Africa, a greater understanding of the region, its shortcomings and potential. NAI, will focus on this important region, draw more attention towards its vast potential and give these countries and cross regional issues the attention they deserve on the global agendas.

Subscribed to the North Africa Initiative Newsletter

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North Africa holds great strategic and political importance for the United States and Europe as the region faces many challenges but also has enormous potential. With a combined coastline of 5,800 km (3600 miles), the region encompasses more than 200 million inhabitants with an estimated cumulative GDP of nearly $600 billion. The region is historically, culturally and politically set apart from the rest of Africa and is closely associated with the Middle East and Southern Europe. Its population belonging to the Arab and Amazigh ethno-linguistic groups and is mainly of the Sunni Muslim faith with historically significant Jewish communities throughout the region. North Africa holds many natural resources and is especially rich in oil, natural gas, and phosphates. The beautiful landscape and rich history attract many tourists and the increasingly qualified young population keeps the countries dynamic and bears great economic potential.


Until now, the region remains largely marginal in Washington. Beyond military and security concerns, political and economic interests are also of importance for the United States and Europe. The increasingly Russian and Chinese involved in the region has also increased the importance of the North African region to Western capitals.


Program Outputs


NAI will outline policymakers and key experts’ voices on all aspects of the region. NAI's work is presented in a range of programs including:


  • Maghreb Weekly Digest: A weekly review of the Maghreb's most topical issues, with a focus on developments that impact the region's dynamics and likely U.S. and European response. Maghreb Weekly includes an overview of the latest published research, studies and reports from think tanks and policy centers, covering long-term perspectives and analyses of the region's challenges and opportunities. To subscribe for the weekly newsletter please contact NAI at


  • Events: The North Africa Initiative intends to hold dialogues on topical issues facing the sub-region. These roundtables discussions will bring together experts, academics and other stakeholders with the desire to analyze, and inform policy on this strategically critical region. Information regarding NAI’s upcoming events is available HERE.

For further information on the North Africa Initiative (NAI), please contact:


Hafed Al Ghwell 

Executive Director, North Africa Initiative (NAI)

Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS 


Lana Bleik

Senior Research Program Coordinator, North Africa Initiative (NAI)

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