Link to the book.
It has been widely accepted that the popular uprising that have swept through North Africa in the course of 2011 have been triggered by a combination of political and socio-economic grievances. Indeed, it seems to have been largely out of economic despair that a fruit vendor in Tunisia’s Sidi Bouzid committed a desperate act, which ignited the fires of revolution across the region. While many of the preceding chapters have stressed the domestic socio-economic sources of the revolution, this chapter seeks to provide a more structured overview of the macroeconomic experiences of North African countries and their role in the global economy and how these experiences have contributed to the current situation. To do so, the chapter highlights the fragmented economic nature of the region and the impact that the last decade of structural reforms and integration with the global economy has had on the economies of the southern Mediterranean shores. Next to that, the chapter considers some of the economic challenges and potential rewards that lie ahead for North Africa as it faces an uncertain political transition.