ICDED1: Tourism and economic integration in Africa.

The 1st International Congress on Desert Economy:

< Tourism and economic integration in Africa. >

 February 15th and 16th, 2018, in Dakhla - Morocco.


The International Congress on Desert (Arid lands and Sahara)  Economy - Dakhla (ICDED), is annually co-organized by the National School of Business and Management (ENCG) of Dakhla - Morocco  and the Regional Council of Dakhla Oued Eddahab.

The ultimate purpose of The International Congress on Desert Economy, is to be an interdisciplinary scientific research platform on the desert and the Sahara (arid lands, hot drylands, semi-arid regions, oasis and rural remote areas)  economy, management and development, in order to contribute effectively to the good governance and in the sustainable development of arid lands and zones, by stimulating meetings between all stakeholders on a global scale: Academics, Professionals, Policy-Makers, Civil society and NGOs..., with a view to fostering cooperation and partnership, among desert countries (Africa, the Gulf States, the United States of America, China, Australia...), with the aim of valuing and promoting the desert knowledge and its related studies' and conferences' findings and recommendations, and creating a conducive environment to the exchange of experiences, expertise, and innovation, around themes related to the desert economy and to the arid lands management, such as Tourism and travel industry, Agriculture and aquaculture, Renewable energy and energy management, Mining and Natural Resources Management, Transportation and logistics, Fisheries, sea and ocean economy, Technology and innovation, Water sports and entertainment, sports economy and sports management, Cultural, tangible and intangible heritage, Nature, environment and biodiversity conservation...Thus each year, an edition will be organized. This edition, co-organized in partnership with the Institute of African Studies (IEA)-Rabat,  will be held on February 15th and 16th, 2018, in Dakhla - Morocco.
Besides the main theme of this first edition entitled “ Tourism and economic integration in Africa,”  it will also be devoted to addressing general issues on the desert (Sahara) economy management and its sustainable development.

Dr. Elouali AAILAL: President and Coordinator of the International Congress on Desert Economy -  Dakhla.

Regional Council DAKHLA  ENCG ICDED Sahara Morocco desert economy

Dakhla ENCG International Congress on Desert Economy 2018 


Call for Papers.

Call for Papers.

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to submit an abstract  (click here to submit) for presentations, either, as an oral communication, poster or invited talk,  within the framework of one of the " themes" of the congress, before December 25, 2017. Proposals must meet the scientific standards required in the "author guidelines " section.

The participation in the Congress is free of charge. However, for a better organization, preliminary online registration is mandatory before January 24, 2018 (click here for registration). For PhD students, please bring your student ID card or your registration certificate...For more information, please contact: Tel: 00212618086893 or E-mail:   icded2018@gmail.com

After evaluation by the Scientific Committee of the abstracts of communication projects,  authors will be informed of the results starting December 31, 2017.

Full versions of the research papers must reach the Scientific Committee before the  January 24, 2018, and the deadline for the final confirmation by the organizing committee is the  January 28, 2018. The Congress will be held in Dakhla (southern Morocco) on February 15-16,  2018. It is planned to publish the best papers presented in a specialized journal and / or in a collective work. The languages of the Congress are: French, Arabic and English.

Both, the two collective lunches and the collective dinner, as well as coffee breaks, during the days of the Congress, are offered in honor of the participants. Supplies and documentation such as satchels, notepads, pens, CDs and more, are also available. The airport shuttle will be provided by the ENCG, for participants coming from Abroad.

Further information about the Congress, including information on Dakhla city, about cheaper hotels and other events that we will organize, for the benefit of the participants, will be communicated later with the final program.


Argument *.

In general, the importance of regional economic cooperation and integration for accelerating and consolidating economic and social development has long been recognized by African decision-makers. Unity, cooperation and integration of Africa were long-standing aspirations of many African leaders and nationalists. Therefore, the ambition for integration is well-rooted in African history, although, as in other regions, the initial goal was more to gain greater political influence and voice in the international scene.

As the challenges of globalization and interdependence made their impact felt on the countries of the African region, including the possible marginalization of the African continent, the imperative of integration took centre stage once again. The Organization for African Unity (OAU) was founded in 1963 or the African Union (AU) created in 2002 to integrate African economies, solve conflicts within and among African countries, bring development, and improve the standard of living of Africans. Several African subregional groupings were subsequently formed.  In 1967, the East African Community (EAC) was established, which subsequently collapsed in 1977 before it was revived in 2000. In 1975, the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS) was created. In 1980, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was set up. In 1989, the five Maghreb countries formed their Union (UMA), which never saw the light of day. In June 1991, the Abuja Treaty was signed, which provided for the creation of the continent-wide African Economic Community (AEC) by 2027.

Regionalism in Africa had been pursued for two reasons. The first was to enhance political unity at the pan-African level. The second was to foster economic growth and development. Regionalism, especially regional market integration, had been a way to help solve the structural problems that the African economies were confronted with.

The first edition of the International Congress on Desert Economy, intends to show that the promotion of tourism in Africa could play a considerable role in the regional integration of the continent, and will argue that strengthened intra-African integration is essential for development. Previous regional initiatives in Africa, which mainly focused on political issues, were largely seen as not having delivered much to uplift the economic conditions of its members nor ensured sustained growth.

This edition, dedicated to the role of tourism in the integration of the African continent, is current for three reasons.  First, at a time when Africa is experiencing changes in international cooperation, through its involvement in a large number of external partnerships (multilateral, regional and bilateral), based on a win-win approach, and must take advantage of the continental tourism opportunities. These partnerships needs to exploit opportunities within the continent, and could help it achieve higher economic growth rates and development objectives. Second, with the current financial and economic crisis affecting African economies through decreases in official development assistance (ODA), imports and investments, the intensification of intra-African trade offers one development strategy for trade diversification. Third, regional integration could lead to, inter alia, pooling resources and enlarging local markets for stimulating production, trade and investment. Currently, the potential of intra-African tourism and investment has not been fully exploited, as seen in the low proportion of intra-African trade to total exports.

Much has been written about regional cooperation and integration in Africa. Some strands of current literature on intra-African integration deal with institutional aspects of integration. The African Union (which replaced the Organization of African Unity) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa have published successively three reports on Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA I, ARIA II, and ARIA III). These reports provide in-depth analyses of progress towards fulfilling the objectives of Africa’s regional integration in broad and thematic areas. The African Development Bank has produced a number of reports which revisit the issues of regional integration and cooperation in Africa, including the African Development Report 2000: Regional Integration in Africa. The African Development Bank report discusses the major potential benefits underpinning the rationale for regional integration in Africa, which reflects the desire to deal, in one way or another, with the perceived growth-retarding constraints inherent in small markets. Several recent scholarly studies, including by African scholars, have assessed the record of regional integration in Africa. The African Economic Research Consortium in the late 1990s sponsored a comprehensive study on “Regional integration and trade liberalization in sub-Saharan Africa”.

This study provided an evaluation of regional integration in sub-Saharan Africa. It concentrated on economic and trade aspects as the principal field of integration. Most of these studies have focused on trade gains in the area of goods. Intra-African tourism, investments as well as trade in services and migration, which are gaining importance, have not been explored in such detail.


* Adapted from the Economic Development in Africa Report 2009 - Strengthening regional economic integration for Africa's development.


Dakhla Oued Eddahab Region

Dakhla Oued Eddahab Region

Désert et Mer

Désert et Mer

Mohammed V University of Rabat

Mohammed V University of Rabat



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