EMEA is a shorthand designation meaning Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The acronym is used by institutions and governments, as well as in marketing and business when referring to this region: it is a shorthand way of referencing the two continents (Africa and Europe) and the Middle Eastern sub-continent all at once. It is particularly common among North American companies, and it is mostly used when dividing a company’s operations by geography.

As the name suggests, the region includes all of the countries found on the continents of Africa and Europe, as well as the countries that make up the Middle East. The region is generally accepted to include all European nations and all African nations, and extends east to Iran, including Russia. It may also include Kazakhstan, but typically the acronym does not include independent overseas territories of mainland countries in the region, such as French Guiana. However, the term is not completely clear, and while it usually refers to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, it is not uncommon for business and other institutions to slightly tweak the countries they include under this umbrella term.

One of the reasons why the term is vastly used is because it is useful for business purposes, as most of the region falls within four time zones, which facilitates communication and travel.[1]

The related term “EMEAA” refers to “Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia”.[2]


History of the EU[edit]

Following the Second World War, the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) was enacted.[3] This treaty established the European Union (EU) that superseded the European Economic Community (EEC).[4] The treaty aimed to combine all community treaties and policies since 1957 and create shared policy between the EU and member states (MS).[3] One purpose of the organisation is to reconcile the warring nations to achieve peace.[4] This is supported by social policies including Clause Art. 9 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) that govern employment opportunities, education and human health.[3] The ultimate powers over education and health policy remain in the control of the MS and national governments.[4]  The EU’s power to supplement the actions of the MS in areas of education, youth, public health are established in Art. 6 of The Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).[4]


Migration History[edit]

The South-east Bantu Migration occurred approximately 2000 years ago and spanned over a 1,500-year period.[5] It involved predominantly Kongo-Niger language speakers.[5] It is debated why the Bantu people migrated from the Niger Delta Basin in West Africa to settle to savannas of the south eastern and southwestern areas of the continent.[6] Bantu migrants facilitated technological advancements in the regions they interacted within the capacities of farming and industry.[5]

Contemporary African Culture[edit]

African culture comprises of various indigenous clans and hundreds of native languages.[7] The MaasaiTuareg, and Bambuti groups combine tradition with contemporary societal practices.[5] The Massai people are nomadic pastoralists who traditionally settled in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania.[5] Their diet consists of the meat, blood and milk of cattle.[5] North and West Africa are inhabited by the Tuareg group.[8] Their traditional attire (cheche, bubus) serve customary and environmental purposes.[9] The Sua, Aka, Efe and Mbuti are native to Central Africa and classified as the Bambuti.[8] They reside in the Ituri Forest and Congo Basin.[8]


Christianity, Islam and Traditional African religions are common across Africa.[10] Islam gradually emerged in West Africa in the 9th century.[9] It entered to the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea by Egyptian Muslim converts in the ninth century.[9] By 2010, 29% of African citizens were Muslim.[11] Christianity emerged after this, following the Berlin Conference that occurred in the 1884-5. [10] During this time, individual Western Missionaries established public utilities including universities, schools and hospitals that increased the prevalence of Christianity within Africa.[8] in 2010, the number of African Christians increased from approximately 8.7 million in 1900 to 517 million; accounting for 57% of Africa’s population.[10]

The Middle East[edit]


Over 8000 years ago, the Middle East developed agricultural methods that reduced civilisation’s reliance on gathering and hunting.[12] Many other societal advancements emerged from these empires, including the development of writing systems, science, mathematics, astronomy, mechanical systems such as the wheel and law.[12]

Prior to the emergence of Christianity, many empires were established and defeated in the Middle East.[13]Some of these include the Egyptian, Hittites, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian empires.[13] There were many take overs. [13] Of this, the Ottoman Empire which was established by the Seljuk Turk, European crusaders and Mongol conquerors.[14] The Ottoman Empire led by the Ottoman Turks, peaked in the 1500s as a result of conquering all of the Middle East with the exception of Persia.[14] Since then, Ottoman power gradually declined and ceased in the early 1900s.[14] The end of the Ottoman Empire came about after World War I (1914-1918).[15] France and Britain defeated the Turks who allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary.[15] The end of the Ottoman Empire reduced Turkey’s physical boundary.[15] The British and French forces established the forerunner of the United Nations; The League of Nations. From this, they gained power over a majority of the Middle Eastern Region.[16]

Conflict in the Middle East is common.[17] The conflict between Israel and other Arab countries has resulted in five wars since 1949. In 1979, Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt and in 1994 it also signed one with Jordan.[17] This has not ended Israel’s war with other nations.[17] Other countries in the Middle East including Lebanon experienced civil war that occurred from mid 1970 until 1990.[17]


Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the three common monotheistic religions in the Middle East.[18] All three religions emerged from the Middle East and share the same biblical origin of one God and parentage emerging from Adam and Eve.[11] Islam has the highest number of followers in the Middle East.[11] The only country with a high number of non-Muslim population is Lebanon.[11] It has an approximate population of 30% Christian adherents.[18]  The remainder of the Middle East has few Christians.[18] The birth country of Christianity, Israel, has a Christian population of 3% and Egypt has 5%-9% Christian adherents.[18]

European Influence on the Middle East[edit]

The establishment of the Suez Canal in 1869 impacted international commerce.[12] It directly linked Europe to the Indian ocean and East Asian trade routes.[12] The canal’s creation of the direct channel between Britain and India which enabled Britain to gradually gain authority over Egypt.[19] The British policy enacted over Egypt was influenced by the development and maintenance of the Pax Britannica which gave it naval power and control over world’s maritime trade routes during the late nineteenth century period of peace.[12]

Migration between EMEA[edit]

Migration from MENA[edit]

Europe has a shortfall of unskilled and skilled labour.[20] The EU had a population of approximately 500.4 million in 2010.[21]  The EU’s population increased by 30% between 1950-2010. Since 2010, it has declined and is characterised as having low fertility, infant mortality and high demographic ageing.[21] In the same year, MENA had a population of 454.5 million and higher birth rates than the EU, with double the number of children per family on average.[22] MENA’s population increased 4.4 fold between 1950-2010 and the infant mortality and fertility rates have receded since 2010.[22] The EU’s infant mortality rate reduced at a faster pace in the 1950s than the MENA region.[22] This contributes to MENA’s large supply of young workers and is a factor that has increased migration to the EU for employment opportunities.[21] Of the 18 million MENA persons who live abroad, 7.4 million reside in the EU.[21] Of the 11.4 million EU emigrants, 2 million are situated in the MENA region.[21]

Refugee Displacement[edit]

Warfare in the MENA region increased refugee displacement and migration of residents to the EU.[22] Approximately 4.5 million MENA residents were refugees or experienced similar situations; over a million of which in 2015 entered the EU.[23] This number reduced in 2016 to approximately 160,000 after the Dublin Regulation was enacted which regulated the asylum applications in the EU.[23] Poverty, food scarcity and political instability due to jihadist groups such as the operation of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), facilitated an increase in migration from African countries to the EU.[21]

Related regions[edit]

  • Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA). Some companies separate their Eastern European business from the rest of Europe, and refer to the EEMEA region separately from the Western/Central European (EU/EFTA) region
  • Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa (SEMEA)
  • Southeastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (SEEMEA)
  • Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)
  • Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA)[24]
  • The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
  • The Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP)
  • Europe and the Middle East (EME)
  • Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EUMENA or EMENA)
  • Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA or EMIA)
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR)
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Commonwealth of Independent States (EMEACIS)
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Caribbean (EMEAC)
  • The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea
  • North Atlantic and Central Europe (NACE)
  • Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMA)[25]
  • Europe, Arab World, Africa and Latin America

| News |
About The Author