Established in 1998, the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) aims to foster, produce and disseminate the highest quality of research on the Middle East, to maintain public discussion and to help shape the public discourse on issues related to the Middle East. Amec's research includes relations between Africa and the Middle East.
AMEC engages in funded research on the contemporary Middle East, and accepts research commissions from government, business, academia, non-governmental organisations, and community-based organisations.
AMEC has been based in Johannesburg, South Africa, since its establishment. The Centre's first Executive Director was Waddah Khanfar, who later went on to become the General Manager of the Al-Jazeera media network based in Doha, Qatar.
When it was founded, the Centre’s areas of activity included research, translation services, training programmes on Islam and the Middle East and fostering relationships between South African and Middle Eastern business. The Centre has, since, reoriented itself and now focuses exclusively on research, publications and the facilitation of public fora on the Middle East and Africa.
The Centre’s staff and research associates are sought after by the media to provide commentary and analysis on issues relating to the Middle East, the Islamic world and Africa. They have been interviewed by or have provided expert analysis to BBC, Al-Jazeera, the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s television and radio channels, SABC News International, Channel Africa, eTV and eTV News Channel, CNBC Africa, various other television and radio channels, and various print media.
AMEC has been established in South Africa as a non-profit organisation. Its funds are raised through grants and donations as well as through training and commissioned research that it conducts for the private and public sectors.
AMEC’s mission is to establish itself as the foremost institute and commentator in South Africa on Middle East issues and, thus, be regarded as a credible source of information and analysis that can influence public opinion and policy-making.
Objective One: to establish the Institute within South Africa and internationally as a credible and influential research institute, analyst and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs, and on relations between the Middle East and Africa.
Objective Two: to disseminate research on the Middle East within South Africa and beyond.
Objective Three: to establish and nurture collaborative relationships with institutes in the Middle East which have similar objectives as AMEC.