Europe – “Southern neighbourhood”: data and reality, according to Eurostat

February 3, 2016
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Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published a statistical report on its website on 19 January (based on the year 2014), focusing on the relationship with Africa, including five countries which lie on the shores of the Mediterranean and are covered by the EU Neighbourhood Policy (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt).

When examined in detail, the data reveals a multifaceted perspective displaying a significant gap (in average terms) between Europe and Africa. However, it also points to relative closeness between North Africa and some European countries. There often seems to be little disparity in the numbers between one side of the Mediterranean and the other, with few obvious differences.  
One clear difference, however, lies in the demographics. Whereas Africa as a whole has a population of 1.1 billion and the EU 506.8 million, North Africa only has 174.746 million inhabitants despite its greater area (over 2.12 million square miles for the northern shore of the continent along the Mediterranean and the Saharan reaches, and 1.737 million square miles for the EU from the Mediterranean to the North Pole). In 2014, the population of Morocco was approximately 33.4 million, that of Algeria 39.3 million, that of Tunisia 11.12 million, that of Libya 6.2 million and that of Egypt 83.38 million. 
In those five countries, half the population is female, almost the same percentage as in Europe. Life expectancy barely exceeds 70 years, except in Tunisia where it is closer (76.1 years) to the European average (80.7 years).
The labour force represents about a third of the population, on average, whereas the European average is 47%. 
Beyond these basic sets of data, the document provides an accurate report of the data pertaining to health, education, national accounts, external trade, etc., presented in the form of reader-friendly tables. The report is available online by following this URL link.

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia