By Moses Marz
In 1968, Béchir Ben Yahmed launched his first attempt at establishing an anglophone version of Jeune Afrique by producing annual “Reference Volumes on the African Continent”. The books are up to 450 pages thick and are presented as essential business guides produced by an “impartial team of journalists”. In 1972, Ben Yahmed opened an office in London and published three reference volumes under the name Africa Magazine. Because of a lack of financial support, the publication was discontinued in 1975.
Surviving a sudden drop from 150,000 to 40,000 copies sold a week following the devaluation of the FCFA in 1994, Ben Yahmed announced that Jeune Afrique would split into Arabic, francophone, anglophone and international editions. The Arabic translation, Bil Arabiya, appeared twice in 2004. The English version, The Africa Report, edited by Patrick Smith and based in Paris, has been more successful since its launch in 2006, selling up to a self-proclaimed 400,000 copies each month.
This article features in a special, Arabic-only edition of the Chronic, published in June 2015 as “Muzmin”. The issue, which examines the division of “North” and “sub-Saharan” Africa and Ali Mazrui’s concept of “Afrabia”, was designed in collaboration with Studio Safar (Beirut) and presented at the 12th edition of Sharjah Biennial.
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