Tag Archives: Egypt

COVID-19 MED BRIEF no1 : Implications of the coronavirus crisis in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East

The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of all countries. In Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. Cooperation and EU-Med strategies in key sectors are needed. Therefore, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and FEMISE join forces and launch their joint series of Policy Briefs called “COVID-19 MED BRIEFS” to pave the way for thematic analyses and policy relevant recommendations.

The first COVID-19 MED BRIEF, entitled “Implications of the coronavirus crisis in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East”, by Constantin Tsakas (FEMISE, IM), is available by clicking here.

Summary : The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of any country, regardless of its level of development. In the countries of the Middle East and of the Southern Mediterranean the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. It must be done with limited healthcare and economic resources compared to other regions. In addition, it takes place in a social and geopolitical context which is unique in its divisions. This Brief suggests relaunching cooperation in the Mediterranean following the crisis and developing EU-Med strategies in key sectors. In this context, it provides reflections, on the short term and long term, to prevent a «pandemic of inequalities» in the region. It suggests opening-up access to healthcare for informal workers, investing in digital technology, rethinking production chains intelligently, supporting social entrepreneurship and reviewing the conditions for debt repayment for countries in the region. The purpose of this Brief is to pave the way for more thematic analyzes and prescriptions, which can be explored throughout this series produced jointly by the CMI and FEMISE.

This Policy Brief is produced as part of the series of Policy Briefs on « Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19 in the Mediterranean » that is undertaken in partnership between FEMISE and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI).

Presentation of the EuroMed Report on: “Repatriation of Refugees from Arab Conflicts” (Nov 21st, Cairo)

FEMISE and ERF have the pleasure to announce that the FEMISE-ERF report will be presented in a special session that will be organised by ERF during its 2-days workshop (20-21 November in Cairo, Egypt). The special session (on the 21 of November) will host authors of the report, allow them to present the main message of their chapters and open a debate with institutional representatives and policy stakeholders on tangible solutions.

 

Download the report here (EN, PDF, 4.6 MB).

 

Context:

The prospects for early re­patriation of refugees who have fled conflicts in Arab countries in recent years do not yet look promising. Nevertheless, not only have discussions about repatriation started at both national and in­ternational levels, but there is also a steady, though still limited, stream of refugees in neighbouring countries trickling back to their war-ravaged homes. With the doors of naturalization and resettlement all but closed and the socio-economic situation in host countries weakening, the refugees have found themselves caught in very difficult circum­stances.

While mass repatriation at this stage remains premature for all war-torn countries, the current situation dictates that we recognize and unpack the issue of repatriation in all its dimen­sions, so that if and when the time comes, informed actions can be taken. This would help to support the most positive outcomes – pri­marily for the refugees, but also for other stakeholders, such as host communities and those left behind in the conflict countries.

This is what this year’s FEMISE-ERF Euromed Report on « REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES FROM ARAB CONFLICTS: Conditions, Costs and Scenarios for Reconstruction”* is addressing in its four chapters. The authors look into the characteristics of the refugees and the conditions affecting their decisions to return. This overview is followed by an analysis of the possible political settlement scenarios and reconstructions’ potentials, with a focus on the possible role of the international community. The authors then analyse the economic costs of conflicts as well as post-conflict growth scenarios. The report concludes by highlighting the main findings and providing policy insights into how to address this issue to ensure a safe, sustainable and dignified return of refugees to their home countries.

Contributors to the report : Ibrahim Elbadawi, Belal Fallah, Jala Youssef, Maryse Louis, Roger Albinyana, Samir Makdisi, Semih Tumen 

* This report received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dia­logues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed in this report are the sole responsibility of the authors.

FEMISE MedBRIEF 21: “Catalyst for Empowering Women and Gender Equality : The case of Egypt”

Doaa Salman and Mohga Bassim

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region.

The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

 

 

 

The MED BRIEF “Catalyst for Empowering Women and Boosting Gender Equality in South Mediterranean Countries: The case of Egypt”, is available here.

It is also available in Arabic here.

 

Summary

This policy brief proposes and recommends further policies to urgently, strengthen the current quest for empowering women and for reducing inequality in the Mediterranean countries and specifically in Egypt. It seeks to provide a policy-mix for additional policies that also contribute in achieving sustainable development.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union

Med Change Makers e08 : Vera DANILINA, Green Public Procurement Vs. Environmental taxation: potential for EuroMed environmental cooperation

 

FEMISE launched in 2018 its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

Green Public Procurement Vs. Environmental taxation: potential for euro-mediterranean environmental cooperation

Interview with Vera Danilina, Aix-Marseille Université and FEMISE

Environmental issues are among the priorities of FEMISE research / action. In the Mediterranean, the consequences of climate change will always be stronger than elsewhere. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation needs of bordering countries are more than ever necessary.

Author of a FEMISE MED BRIEF, Vera Danilina focuses on environmental taxation and green public procurement (GPP). She provides a comparative analysis of their effectiveness and reveals the opportunities for harmonized environmental policy between countries. Her results suggest specific implications for environmental collaboration between EU countries and those of the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Interview :

1. Your recent FEMISE Brief is focused on the comparison between GPP and environmental taxation. What are these two policy instruments and why do you focus on them ?

The first instrument is Green Public Procurement and is related to the process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods and services with reduced environmental impact. Accordingly, it corresponds to their initiative to consume eco-friendly products. This policy instrument is relatively new: within the EU the importance of GPP was stressed in 2003 when the member states were urged to adopt national plans for greening the public purchasing policy. Despite the relatively slow development of GPP, 55% of the contracts signed by European public authorities in 2009/10 included at least one EU core GPP criterion.

The second instrument, which is the environmental tax, targets directly the negative impact of production. Nowadays, in the EU-28 such taxes account from 30-50% (UK, Belgium, Italy, Denmark) to 60-80% (Germany, France, Norway) and even to 80-100% (Spain, Liechtenstein) of all key environmental policy instruments in use. Environmental taxation accounts for 2.4% of the EU-28’s GDP varying from 0.77% in Liechtenstein to 4.14% in Denmark.

Why focus on these two policy instruments? First of all, because they belong to alternative approaches to regulation that feature mandatory vs. voluntary participation and direct vs. indirect influence. The second reason is that while environmental tax can be considered as one of the most or even the most widely used policy instruments, the expansion of GPP is much more modest. But at the same time, GPP has been constantly high on the policy agenda of different countries since 1970s that shows its expected potential in the environmental policy development. Thus, the main reason to choose taxes and GPP for our analysis is to investigate the pros and cons of a traditional and a relatively innovative policy instrument exploring their possible complementarity or/and substitutability.

2. Are economic instruments for environmental policies widespread in Mediterranean countries of the South shore and why (not) ? Are there South-Med success-stories ?

The South-Med countries are mostly focused on the environmental taxation as the more transparent and straightforward instrument: it represents from 64% (Israel) to 100% (Egypt, Tunisia) of key environmental policy instruments toolkits. Meanwhile, in the majority of countries they represent a relatively modest share of GDP. At the same time in Israel green taxes account for 3% of GDP and 2% – in Morocco which is in line with European practices.

Public purchasing accounts for around 18% of GDP within the MENA region indicating a significant potential to influence markets and industries. Green procurement is not widely developed though. However, we would mention such countries as Israel, Egypt, Morocco and United Arab Emirates as leaders in GPP movement. According to the Ecolabel Index, there are up to 20 eco-labels in each of these countries including such nationally developed green standards as “Green Star” label for the responsible tourism in Egypt or a multi-industrial Israeli Green Label. These countries have also launched a range of governmental programmes supporting eco-innovations.

In general, environmental regulation is not well-developed in the South-Med countries. Among the reasons we would mention a wide range of social and economic problems that seem to be more urgent. At the same time we observe the development of environmental policies that indicates the growing understanding of their importance.

3. How can environmental policies and instruments in the South Med co-exist with the social and economic difficulties these countries are facing ?

It is well-known that the South Med region experiences a wide range of social and economic difficulties that might seem to be much more important than ecological threats. At the same time, the costs of environmental degradation for this region ranges from 2-3 % of GDP in Tunisia, Jordan, and Syria, to 5-7 % of GDP in Egypt and Iran. These figures are impressive. They assure that without developing green policy, the South Med countries risk to deepen not only the ecological problems but also the social and economic difficulties.

Moreover, focusing on economic development without corresponding environmental restrictions could potentially aggravate environmental degradation worsening the quality of life of the population. As an example, we would particularly stress health problem that can drastically reduce GDP. The link between environment, health, and GDP is potentially strong in the absence of environmental regulation and in the presence of “basic” threats such as car emissions, for example, that most directly affect the population.

4. How important is the coordination of environmental policies across South Mediterranean countries and why ? What direct and indirect benefits ?

Our research urges for the policy harmonisation across trading countries. We see this strategy as a first-best or a “win-win” option that allows the actors to coordinate their environmental efforts without implicating any disproportional burden to any of them.

Otherwise, the countries who focus more on the environmental regulation could be demotivated by the return effect of international trade. Thus, the country who opts for more severe environmental taxation wins from trade integration with the country who introduces GPP or lower taxation. In the literature this phenomena corresponds to a “pollution haven effect” by which trade integration makes polluting industries move from countries with more severe to countries with less severe environmental regulation, while not necessarily leading to the reduction of global environmental degradation. If all countries opt for the GPP policy, the more environmentally virtuous country whose government spends more on green goods faces purchasing power decline while the less environmentally virtuous country whose government is less generous in environmental spendings gains. In our research we call this result a “paradox of virtue”.

Last but not the least is the argument of trade and environment complementarity. When environmental policies are identical both in their type and stringency, trade integration leaves the environmental degradation level unchanged but incurs an increase in purchasing power across trading countries.

Consequently, on the side of direct benefits of policy harmonisation we would mention environmental degradation decline and the equality of the policy burden. Talking about the indirect effect, we definitely stress the positive effects of the regulation to the business traditions as well as consumer preferences. Even more, harmonised policy implies the harmonisation of eco-standards across countries that simplifies the cross-country cooperation, joint ventures development, and public control.

5. How can collaborating with the EU, within the framework of EuroMed cooperation, provide answers to environmental concerns ?

The EU is known for its well-developed system of environmental regulation that can be seen as one of the examples to spread to the South-Med countries. Both the public and the private institutions of the EU contribute to the system of eco-labelling and eco-certification, influencing the choice made by consumers and enterprises. Thus, Germany and Austria are the pioneers of GPP programmes. Since 2008 the European Commission has developed more than 20 common GPP criteria covering a wide range of sectors.

The EU has also proposed criteria of two different types, core and comprehensive. Core criteria address the key ecological impacts and are easy to get verified while comprehensive criteria are stricter and more complex requiring additional verification efforts. The variety of criteria guarantees the flexibility of the GPP strategy that can be tailored to the needs of a particular industry and country.

6. Are there other frameworks of cooperation (regional, bilateral) that can benefit the South ?

We particularly stress coordinated GPP as a form of cross-country environmental support. Our research shows that GPP can be related to the environmental support across countries when one can be a donor, and another one – a recipient. A country that has higher financial and institutional capacity to develop GPP can increase its green public spending allowing a country that has lower financial and institutional capacity to develop GPP to benefit from the green demand of the partner country. Donors are in the position to set the standards and quality control that allows to diminish or even avoid greenwashing and, at the same time, propagate the corresponding ecological standards to the recipient. By getting accepted, the environmental criteria system could uniform the rules for companies in all participating countries facilitating their access to the markets and diminish the environmental degradation. This approach could be considered for the collaboration of EU and MENA countries in order to strengthen the environmental policies in the latter and establish a first step towards the harmonisation of green policy approaches.

7. What is your top-recommendation for South Med officials ?

First of all, we recommend the wide implementation of GPP as an efficient approach to environmental policy design. Despite being a voluntary tool, it can motivate firms to opt for green technologies even when the only incentive is originated from the government. The effect can be amplified by taking into account the consumers eco-biased demand that, in its turn, can be boosted by the corresponding public policy. At the same time, GPP is not risk-free: the absence of public monitoring can diminish the positive effect of the policy approach allowing firms to greenwash, or cheat on the environmental quality of their products. Accordingly, a corresponding monitoring policy is required.

Second main recommendation is to opt for the long-term environmental policy harmonisation even across countries with different level of economic and institutional capacity to introduce symmetric policy instruments.

The coordination of environmental policies is of particular importance for the South Mediterranean countries in view of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (the UN, 2015), as well as for two following reasons. First, a relatively low share of intra-regional trade with the EU which is expected to increase due to the current policy agenda of the Euro-Mediterranean trade partnership. Thus, further trade liberalisation will increase the opportunities for cross-region cooperation and an environmental policies harmonisation could be key to avoid the above mentioned “pollution haven effect”. Second, the decline in economic growth in the MENA region that could potentially be partially restored with the contribution of a deeper trade integration. At the same time the environmental degradation increase that might correspond to economic growth can be mitigated by the environmental policies coordination.

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

Feminization of occupations and its effect on gender wage gap in South Mediterranean Countries

The issue of gender equality in the labour market is an important one. For the MENA region, however, the issue is additionally important due to the traditional role that women play in the economy and the cultural (including religious) beliefs that drive gender relations in these countries.
Focusing on Egypt and Jordan, the study produces policy recommendations in two directions:
On the one hand, addressing the cultural and wider societal barriers to female employment which may be giving unequal access to jobs (both in occupational and in remuneration terms). On the other hand, developing enabling policies for increased female labour force participation, such as extension of childcare provision and especially maternity leave and pay.

Abla Abdel Latif, Executive Director and Director of Research of The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES), member of FEMISE Advisory Board

Dr. Abla Abdel Latif is currently the Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development; and the Executive Director and Director of Research of The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES).

She is also a Member of the Central Bank of Egypt’s Coordinating Council, and has been a Board Member of the National Bank of Egypt – the first female in this position, for over six years. In 2013, she was member of the Committee of Fifty, drafting Egypt’s Constitution following June 30, 2013, representing the Egyptian Federation of Industries, and one of only five women in the Committee.

She is also a cofounder and Board Member of BASEERA (the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research), and “El Nidaa” Foundation for job creation for women and youth.

In addition to her teaching career as Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo (AUC) for over twenty years, she has been selected to be a Life Time Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and has authored a large number of publications in class A internationally refereed Journals. She has also been a senior international expert in several UNIDO projects and other international organizations.

Her professional experience is also extensive, starting from being the Policy Unit Manager in the Industrial Modernisation Centre (IMC) to being the Minister of Industry’s Advisor shortly after the 25th of January Revolution and since 2015, she became the main economic advisor to the President of the Republic.

Dr. Abla received a special award for outstanding achievement and excellence in research from Sussex University in the UK and another faculty excellence teaching award from the American University in Cairo. She was also invited by the Singapore Government to participate in the 10th Leaders in Governance

Programme in 2017. She is an Egyptian national with a B.A. in economics from the American University in Cairo (AUC) (with highest honors) and an M.A. and

Ph.D. in economics from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles

FEMISE MED BRIEF no16 : « Green Public Procurement v.s. Environmental Taxation: implications for EU-MENA environmental policy”

Vera Danilina and Federico Trionfetti

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

The latest FEMISE MED Brief, co-edited with Plan Bleu, is on ” Green Public Procurement v.s. Environmental Taxation: implications for the EU-MENA environmental policy ” and is available for download by clicking here.

 

Summary: Environmental policies are among the priorities of the UN agenda and figure highly in national and international policy agendas. This brief focuses on environmental taxes and green public procurement (GPP). These two environmental policy instruments differ in political viability and in the impact they have on consumers and producers. The brief provides a comparative analysis of their efficiency in closed and open economy and reveals the opportunities and threats of (un)harmonised environmental policy across countries. The results allow to consider particular implications for the collaboration of EU-MENA countries.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Med Change Makers e05 : Katarzyna SIDLO, Women Empowerment and Collaborative Economy

 

FEMISE recently launched its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

Boosting female labour market participation rates in the MENA region : Can collaborative economy be of help? ”

Interview with Katarzyna Sidlo, Political Analyst at CASE, researcher at FEMISE

FEMISE recently published its Policy Brief “Boosting female labour market participation rates in the MENA region : Can collaborative economy be of help?”.

Autthor of the MED BRIEF, Dr. Katarzyna Sidlo is a FEMISE researcher who actively participates in the activities of the network. Her work assesses the potential of the collaborative economy to increase women’s labor force participation in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). More specifically, it examines ways in which the collaborative economy can enable women who are interested to join the labor market.

  1. How do you define collaborative economy? Can you give us examples from different sectors of such initiatives?

The collaborative (or sharing) economy refers to business models that create an open marketplace for access to goods and services thanks to the use of modern technology. It covers a variety of sectors, is rapidly emerging throughout the world and provides new opportunities for citizens who are able to get what they need from each other instead of going to large organizations (at least that is the theory). Some of the best-known examples of collaborative economy businesses are car-hailing applications such as Uber or Careem, peer-to-peer accommodation website Airbnb, crowdsourcing platforms Kickstarter or Indiegogo, or online marketplace Etsy. Many of them are already household names.

  1. Do you think that collaborative economy is a feasible solution in MENA countries given internet access obstacles and public perceptions?

Well, firstly according to the World Bank, 59% of individuals in the MENA region are internet users. Access to internet as such is therefore not a problem everywhere in the region, although of course in many places broadband is expensive, slow and generally unreliable and in many other, especially urban areas, simply not yet readily available. More importantly, however, I would look at the problem stated in the question in a different way: the potential to make use of what collaborative economy has to offer can be one more argument in favour of extending efforts to provide access to internet to as many people as possible. If internet is not available in a village in the south of Egypt, chances are that neither are many job offers. By providing inhabitants of such a village with access to internet, you give them an opportunity to enter the labour market as well. For instance, they could study for free on one of the many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms available – increasingly also in Arabic – and gain skills that will allow them to find employment. Or they could give Arabic classes online (one platform, NaTakallam, offers such classes taught by refugees). All without having to emigrate and leave their villages or, indeed, houses.

I strongly believe that even if just a small percentage of people in a given society use this chance, it will be worth it. So while the sharing economy will by no means solve all or even most of the problems related to the low female (and male) labour force participation – it would not even if virtually every single person in the region had access to a fast, affordable, and reliable internet – it has a huge potential to contribute to the alleviation of this problem.

  1. What are the main obstacles for female labour force participation in the MENA region and how does collaborative economy bring innovative solutions to each?

Women in the MENA region wishing to join the labour market face numerous obstacles, from practical ones (lack of jobs, difficult commutes) to those of socio-cultural nature (restrictions on outside-of-the-house activities, caring responsibilities) nature. Sharing economy can help to overcome a number of those. Most importantly, it allows women to perform work – and indeed create their own businesses – from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to this even those women, who due to various family- or culture-related reasons would not undertake paid work outside of the house, can earn their own income (and economic empowerment is a great step towards social and political empowerment). Another good example are ride-hailing services, providing a safer, more reliable and cheaper (compared to traditional taxis) alternative to faulty or point-blank non-existent public transport, oftentimes believed to be not appropriate for use by non-accompanied women. An extreme case in point was Saudi Arabia, where prior to lifting the ban on women driving 80% of Uber’s and 70% of Careem’s clients were female.

  1. One of the article’s recommendations was to improve the legal frameworks in each MENA country to enable the optimal functioning of sharing-economy businesses. What concrete measures can be successfully implemented in the region as a whole and in case-specific contexts?

One of the main advantages of the sharing economy is its flexibility. However, this flexibility can also oftentimes mean lack of clarity for instance in terms of liability, taxation, consumer protection, licensing or insurance. Think about ride hailing services such as Uber, Careem or Lyft: in case of an accident, whose insurance should cover the damages? As drivers are using their private vehicles they may not possess commercial, but rather personal insurance, which can lead to insurers denying the claim. Should the company owning the platform through which drivers are matched with clients be liable at all? Are the drivers even their employees or clients making use of the platforms features? The answer to that question determines answers to many subsequent ones related to social protection (maternity leaves, pensions, health insurance etc.) of the collaborative service providers. Another issue is of course taxation.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. The European Union is for instance pondering issuing EU level guidelines but currently whether and to what extent the sharing economy should be regulated is still a matter of a lively debate. The big question is of course how to regulate so that you don’t overregulate and therefore kill the flexibility that makes participating in sharing economy so convenient.

In the MENA region, countries should think about solutions that work best under their specific circumstances. For instance, a voluntary health insurance scheme could be introduced to help those earning their income within the sharing economy to gain social protection (an interesting study on this topic for Tunisia by Khaled Makhloufi, Mohammad Abu-Zaineh, and Bruno Ventelou has been published recently by FEMISE). In Jordan, where the government is working on a tax reform, the question of imposing corporate law tax on collaborative platforms could be investigated.

  1. What is the role you see for the civil society and NGOs in the proliferation of collaborative economy? Would cooperation and synergies between different actors/ stakeholders possible in your opinion?

Collaborative economy has it for-profit and non-profit dimension. Speaking of increasing female labour market participation in the MENA region and the role of CSOs and NGOs, we should probably focus on the latter. The spectrum of possibilities is really broad. Both types of organizations could for instance facilitate women organizing their own car pooling schemes, helping each other to safely and conveniently get to and from work on daily basis. They could set up collaborative working spaces, where female entrepreneurs could set up and run their businesses in a friendly, safe and inspiring environment. They could create online courses in local dialects of Arabic, providing free training to women thinking about starting their own business or work on translations into Arabic of courses which are already available on various MOOC platforms and which provide knowledge and skills that make finding a job easier. All that – and much more – can of course be done in collaboration between different stakeholders. After all that is what collaborative economy is all about.

The MED BRIEF is available for download by clicking here.

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

The private sector, its role as an engine of growth and job creation, at the heart of FEMISE research

FEMISE Brochure

Mediterranean countries suffer from a lack of dynamism of their private sector, which is not sufficiently competitive nor job-creating.

Therefore, FEMISE has placed the theme of the private sector, and in particular its role as an engine of growth, job creation and inclusivity, at the center of its research activities. A special attention is paid to the causes that prevent the sector from reaching its potential, in particular the constraints faced by firms in the Southern Mediterranean Region, and to the importance of innovation in the development of the Mediterranean private sector.

One of the specificities of the FEMISE network, coordinated by the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and Institut de la Méditerranée (IM), is to always strive to integrate the points of view of politicians, of private operators and, more broadly, of all local actors, in the discussions carried out under this theme. This approach provides better feedback on the research, and ensures its policy relevance.

The private sector at the center of the FEMISE academic research

Patricia AUGIER (Scientific Pres. of Institut de la Méditerranée, Coordinator and Scientific Pres. of FEMISE), coordinates the 2018 EuroMed report

Firstly, the 2018 FEMISE EuroMed report, the flagship publication of the network, will focus on the private sector in the Mediterranean countries. The objective of the report will be to take stock of the economic dynamics of the Mediterranean countries over the last 20 years (ie since the Barcelona Process), and to understand the blocking points. The general idea is that growth in Mediterranean countries must accelerate to absorb a growing number of incoming individuals in the labor market, and that this growth must be based on productivity gains rather than on factors accumulation : the development of the private sector is therefore at the heart of the definition of a new development model. One of the chapters will focus more specifically on the role of central banks in private sector development. Finally, the major concern of a more inclusive growth will lead us to consider social entrepreneurship as a potential opportunity for the Mediterranean countries.

A “Science for Business” partnership dynamic with technical and operational support actors

Secondly, FEMISE participates, in partnership with ANIMA, in THE NEXT SOCIETY project, which brings together public and private actors from 7 Mediterranean countries with the aim of supporting innovation ecosystems. This collaboration gives the opportunity to FEMISE and ANIMA to pool their complementary skills, which are analysis and production of academic knowledge on the one hand, and technical and operational support on the other hand.

FEMISE’s contribution is firstly to draw-up a scoreboard and analyze the position of each country in terms of innovation and competitiveness indicators, such as the Global Innovation Index, at different stages of innovation (inputs, process and outputs). FEMISE also carries out an analysis of the national innovation strategies and of the ecosystem of involved actors (government, associations, private operators…).

Next, FEMISE identifies high-performing sectors and products to highlight new national comparative advantages and investment opportunities.

Dr. Maryse LOUIS (General Manager FEMISE, Programs Manager ERF) and Dr. Constantin TSAKAS (General Manager Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary FEMISE) presenting FEMISE research at THE NEXT SOCIETY panels in Tunisia and Jordan.

FEMISE presents its findings on the occasion of advocacy panels bringing together academics, entrepreneurs, investors, managers of incubators and innovation structures and public actors. This allows to benefit from their feedback and, above all, from their point of view regarding the factors that led to the emergence of these new comparative advantages. This approach ensures that the findings and recommendations from FEMISE work can contribute to elaborate public policies. The challenge of these panels is to establish, for each country, a roadmap for innovation, from implementation to evaluation, with the objectives of strengthening national innovation systems, fostering coordination between stakeholders, and improving the instruments of innovation policies and strategies.

An opening towards South-Mediterranean institutions in a “Science for Policy” approach

Les jeunes chercheurs du FEMISE participent activement aux recherches, Karine MOUKADDEM et Jocelyn VENTURA (Institut de la Méditerranée, FEMISE) et Dalia RAFIK (ERF, FEMISE)

Thirdly, FEMISE is opening-up by cooperating with South Mediterranean actors and institutions directly concerned by these issues. Therefore, FEMISE co-authored and will publish in 2019 the2019 EuroMed report which will identify the constraints to growth and integration in the global value chains of Moroccan SMEs. This document results from the cooperation of the network with the African Development Bank, a main regional funder for development aid, and with the Institut supérieur de commerce et de gestion d’administration des entreprises (ISCAE) established in Morocco.

It is essential for the Mediterranean countries to better integrate SMEs into the global value chains in which most international trade takes place. In this report, we have chosen to focus on the case of Moroccan firms. It will be based on surveys and field interviews of SME managers and representatives of professional associations as well as on the Enterprise Surveys and Doing Business indicators of the World Bank. It is in this approach of discussions between researchers and public and private operators that the preliminary results of the report were presented before publication, in order to gather comments, suggestions and recommendations to enrich the research.

A triple anchoring to obtain research that is relevant from a political and operational dimension

To conclude, in addition to the ongoing academic research conducted by network members and supported financially by FEMISE funds (research available on the website), 3 other types of work devoted to the private sector are currently mobilizing the FEMISE team: (1) an analysis of the situation and a general discussion covering the entire region (EuroMed2018 Report), (2) a targeted and co-authored thematic analysis with a national focus (EuroMed2019 Report) and (3) a project on innovation in partnership with ANIMA.

Our analysis feeds on both (i) the knowledge and contributions of academic research, (ii) the consideration of concrete situations within the countries, as well as (iii) the points of view and insights from politicians and business actors. This triple anchoring allows us to develop products that are relevant from a political and operational dimension.

To get the FEMISE Brochure, with a presentation of the activities of the network and its new thematic approaches please click here.

To find out more about the preliminary findings of the report co-led with the AfDB, some answers are available in the interview below:

Article written by Jocelyn Ventura (Economist Institut de la Méditerranée)

Report “The Challenges of Climate Change in the Mediterranean” (2018)

FEMISE is pleased to announce the publication of the final version of the 2018 edition of the report on “The challenges of climate change in the Mediterranean: the Mediterranean in the new International Climate Agenda”, in the “Guides for Action” series. The report is a ENERGIES2050 – Institut de la Méditerranée – FEMISE coproduction.

 

The report (in french)  is available for download by clicking here

 

This report, coordinated by Stéphane Pouffary (ENERGIES 2050), Guillaume de Laboulaye (ENERGIES 2050) and Constantin Tsakas (Institut de la Méditerranée, FEMISE), presents in an updated way the realities of climate change in the countries around the Mediterranean basin and the actions implemented by stakeholders to respond to the challenges of the fight against climate change. The Mediterranean is one of our planets’ “hotspots” and the impacts of climate change are very pronounced and particularly visible on countries of the South and East shores. International mobilization on the climate issue shows there is a real awareness whether for the signatory States of the UNFCCC or for the non-state actors and subnational governments that are strongly mobilized.

However, the ambition of collective and individual commitments is unanimously recognized as very insufficient in view of the realities and challenges to which all  countries and territories concerned are and will be confronted. Moreover, beyond commitments, implementation and action remain insufficient, sporadic and fragmented. The Mediterranean is no exception and more than ever there is a need for setting up a common agenda for action as the pace of international negotiations is not the same as the speed with which changes and alterations take place.