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MENA is an English-language acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa region. The term covers an extensive region, extending from Morocco to Iran, including all Mashriq and Maghreb countries. This toponym is roughly synonymous with the term the Greater Middle East.

The population of the MENA region at its least extent is estimated to be around 381 million people, this constitutes about 6% of the total world population. The MENA acronym is often used in academia, military planning, disaster relief, media planning as a broadcast region, and business writing.[1][2]


Due to the geographic ambiguity and Eurocentric nature of the term "Middle East", some people prefer use of the terms Arab World, WANA (West Asia and North Africa)[3] or the less common NAWA (North Africa-West Asia).[4] Both the Arab World[5] and MENA region remain the most common terms and are used by most organizations, academia, and political entities flexibly, including those in the region itself, the World Bank,[6] UNDP[7] and even the UNSC[8] all use both terms.

List of countries[edit]

MENA has no standardized definition; different organizations define the region as consisting of different territories. The following is a list of commonly included countries and territories.[1][9][10]

*Non-sovereign territories.

Other countries sometimes counted as part of MENA:


The MENA region has vast reserves of petroleum and natural gas that make it a vital source of global economic stability. According to the Oil and Gas Journal (January 1, 2009), the MENA region has 60% of the world's oil reserves (810.98 billion barrels (128.936 km3)) and 45% of the world's natural gas reserves ( 2,868,886 billion cubic feet (81,237.8 km3) ).[11]

As of 2011, 8 of the 12 OPEC nations are within the MENA region.


Islam is by far the dominant religion in nearly all of the MENA territories; 91.2% of the population is Muslim. The Middle East-North Africa region comprises 20 countries and territories with an estimated Muslim population of 315 million or about 23% of the world’s Muslim population,[12] the term "MENA" is often defined in part in relation to majority Muslim countries that based on the countries located in the region, although several nations in the region are not majority Muslim-dominated.[13]

Other terms[edit]


From April 2013, the International Monetary Fund started using a new analytical region called MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), which adds Afghanistan and Pakistan to MENA countries.[14] Now MENAP is prominent economic grouping in IMF reports.[15][16]


The term MENAT has been used to include Turkey in the list of MENA countries.[17][18]

Instability in the region[edit]

Due to rich resources, mainly oil and gas, combined with its location between three continents, (Asia, Africa and Europe), the MENA region has been in conflict since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire; notably due to the creation of Israel, a Jewish state among Arab and Muslim countries; Israeli–Palestinian conflict; the Iran–Iraq War; Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict; and the rise of terrorism. Conflict in the region had come to its highest peak so far in the 21st century, with incidents such as the U.S. intervention of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent Iraq War and the rise of ISIS; the Arab Spring, which spread war to throughout the region such as the Syrian Civil War, Libyan Civil War and Yemeni Civil War.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "World Bank Definition: MENA". Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, Marrakech, Morocco, 26-28 October 2010". World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa 2010 - World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "West Asia and North Africa: A Regional Vision". Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Welcome". Archived from the original on 30 April 2005. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Malone, David (25 October 2003). "Arab World Data". World Bank. Washington D.C. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Financial education in the Arab World: Strategies, Implementation and Impact". World Bank. Archived from the original on 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  7. ^ "United Nations Development Programme in the Arab States". UNDP. Archived from the original on 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2016-11-3.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ Malone, David (25 October 2003). "Reforming the Security Council: Where Are the Arabs?". The Daily Star. Beirut. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Dumper, Michael, and Stanley, Bruce E., Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopaedia, 2007
  10. ^ George T. Abed, Hamid Reza Davoodi (2003). Challenges of Growth and Globalization in the Middle East and North Africa. International Monetary Fund. p. 2. Retrieved 10 February 2018. 
  11. ^ "International Reserves". United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  12. ^ "Middle East-North Africa Overview". Pew Forum. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Politics and Islam in Central Asia and MENA". 24 April 2012. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "World Economic Outlook Database". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "World Economic Outlook Database" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-04-23. 
  16. ^ "MENAP" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 
  17. ^ "MENAT Regional Council". Syracuse University Dubai. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  18. ^ "About GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT)". General Electric. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.