Tag Archives: Marseille

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, FEMISE and IM conclude a partnership for the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network (MYCN), FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée conclude a strategic partnership in favour of the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

Press release – March 22 2019

Mediterranean Youth Climate Network (MYCN), FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée conclude a strategic partnership in favour of the Environment and Youth in the Mediterranean

MYCN, Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE announce their collaboration in the framework of a strategic partnership. The three institutions are committed actors in their efforts to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development models, to promote environmental and youth-inclusion values at the Mediterranean and international levels. They are aware of the need to pool means in order to act for strengthening the impact and outreach of messages, as well as to enrich knowledge.

The works of the FEMISE think-tank and of Institut de la Méditerranée show that new models are needed in the Mediterranean to bring about economic, social and environmental change and to show the whole society the potential of young Mediterranean people as solution-makers. For its part, MYCN is a Mediterranean Youth Network for Climate, a place conceived for the sharing of ideas and the implementation of concrete actions. It is also a place for the capitalization of the know-how of young people around the Mediterranean, placing them at the forefront of climate action, which is a major priority for the region.

Therefore, this partnership aims to create a multidisciplinary and dynamic virtuous circle in the Mediterranean, allowing for impactful proposals and actions to emerge. It will focus on themes ranging from the fight against Climate Change, Water-related issues and the promotion of Sustainable Development, to Responsible Entrepreneurship dynamics carried by the youth and the role of young people in Research and Innovation. Amongst other things, the partners will deploy their cooperation efforts to:

  • elaborate and develop cooperation projects for young people in the euro-mediterranean region,
  • create, animate and promote a set-up to allow for a Mediterranean ecosystem of young people with environmental impact to emerge,
  • organize joint events and publications and carry out awareness-raising in the countries around the Mediterranean.

For MYCN, FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée, it’s not just about talking regarding the youth, but about working with them and including them for inclusive and sustainable solutions in the Mediterranean!

For more information, please contact :

MYCN : Hajar Khamlichi, President, Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, hajarkhamlichi32@gmail.com www.facebook.com/MYCNetwork/      

IM / FEMISE :
Dr. Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE c.tsakas@femise.org ++ 33 (0)4 91 31 51 95
www.femise.org

Beyond Reform and Development & FEMISE conclude a strategic partnership for Inclusive Development in the Mediterranean

Natalia Menhall, Beyond Reform and Development & Constantin Tsakas, FEMISE

Press release – March 18, 2019

Beyond Reform and Development and FEMISE conclude a strategic partnership for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in the Mediterranean

Beyond Reform and Development and FEMISE announce their collaboration in the framework of a strategic partnership. Both institutions are committed actors that provide policy research, capacity development and advocate reform for inclusive and sustainable development models in the Mediterranean.

The works of the FEMISE think-tank show that new models are needed in the Mediterranean to bring about sustainable development, innovation, social change and inclusive societies. Meanwhile, Beyond Reform and Development aspires to attain participatory governance systems, innovative policies and inclusive civil society across the Middle East and North Africa through creating learning opportunities for people, institutions, and communities. Both actors are renowned for their ability to bridge global knowledge with the Mediterranean and Arab context.

Grounded in decades of experience, this partnership aims to create a multidisciplinary and dynamic virtuous circle in the Mediterranean that is displaying an innovative and distinctive stance, allowing for impactful proposals to emerge.It will focus on themes ranging from sustainable finance and social entrepreneurship to private sector development and innovation.

Amongst other things, the two partners will deploy their cooperation efforts in the euro-mediterranean region to :

  1. Develop actions and projects for Social Impact at the research, policy, dialogue, and capacity building levels.
  2. Foster and advance the development of Social Entrepreneurship frameworks and ecosystems in the region.
  3. organize joint events and publications and carry out awareness-raising campaigns for Social Impact.

For Beyond Reform and Development and FEMISE, great ideas have meaning only when they are matched with great execution!

Stay tuned for our forthcoming actions for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in the Mediterranean!

 

For more information, please contact :

Beyond Reform and Development : Ms Natalia Menhall, Chairwoman, nmenhall@beyondrd.com, www.beyondrd.com

FEMISE :
Dr. Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE c.tsakas@femise.org ++ 33 (0)4 91 31 51 95 
www.femise.org

FEMISE MED BRIEF no17 : “Closing the gender gap: policy-making that promotes inclusive Mediterranean societies”

Karine Moukaddem

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 is on ” Closing the gender gap: policy-making that promotes inclusive Mediterranean societies” and is available for download here.

 

Summary : This MED Brief presents some preliminary findings of a recently launched assessment of existing policy measures regarding women empowerment issues in the South Mediterranean region. In order to explain the persistence of numerous gender gaps, I examine the reasons behind the inefficiency of national policies regarding gender equality, by comparing the wanted effects of implemented legal measures with the latest state of play in terms of gender issues in the different countries of the region.
Combatting unconscious biases and policy inefficiency goes through increasing the outreach of female success stories, mentoring, promoting collaboration between stakeholders and embedding women empowerment in public-private partnerships.

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 e07 : Karine MOUKADDEM, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the MENA region

 

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.

 

Going towards Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the South-Med and MENA region

Interview with Karine Moukaddem, SciencesPo, Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE

FEMISE places the issue of Inclusiveness at the heart of its research strategy. The issue of women empowerment in the Mediterranean, and more generally in MENA, is of paramount importance to move towards a model of sustainable and inclusive development.

Author of a forthcoming FEMISE MED BRIEF, Karine Moukaddem provides an assessment of existing policy measures on women empowerment in the southern shore of the Mediterranean. She argues that behind the existence of a “Mediterranean paradox” are structural obstacles that are crucial to overcome. Interview :

1. You talk about the “Mediterranean Paradox” while describing the situation of women in the South-Med. What does it imply and what are its root causes?

The Mediterranean Paradox is easy to explain: On the one hand, educational attainments of women improved drastically in the region and female enrolment in schools and universities increased considerably. But on the other hand, women seem to still be struggling to find a place in the labour market. Female labour force participation rates in the region remain lower than in other developing countries and stagnant. In other words, it seems like women participation to the labour market in the South Med is constrained by other factors than access to education.

Regarding the root causes of the paradox, several obstacles are identified as impeding on women’s economic inclusion.

First, the analysis of the labour market structure in the region shows that while in the public sector employment opportunities contract, opportunities in the formal private sector do not rise. Therefore, the increase in the number of educated women translates in an increased female unemployment or a lower female participation in the formal sectors. Second, women’s overall labour participation levels seem to be affected by economic development and improvements in gender equality legislation (or lack of) as well as by the private foreign ownership of the firm and its exporting activities. Other impediments such as the lack of safe, efficient and cheap public transports hamper commuting to work for women.

However, such economic and practical explanations do not explain the whole Paradox; some key factors are cultural. This argument states that women from conservative societies would tend to participate less in the labour market given the large impact of social norms on their trade-off between working outside and being housewives. The considerable negative effect of traditional social norms would be materialised in several conscious and unconscious biases that dissuade women from choosing a professional carrier.

To understand the full situation of women today, all of these arguments matter. The situation is a complex mix between explicit concrete and implicit psychological obstacles that interact both at the macro and micro levels. Women in the South-Med today face structural multi-layered self-reinforcing inequalities deeply rooted in the system.

2. a) Has the situation of women in the South-Med region been improving in terms of concrete economic empowerment?

Yes, it has been improving in the region through some advancement in education mostly and enhanced legislations. Yet, inequalities are still prevalent in the region and concrete economic empowerment seems to be far from reached. The South-Med region seems to be behind in gender equality matters compared to other regions and the situation is actually improving slower than in other developing regions such as East Asia and Pacific or Latin America and the Caribbean. ILO estimates suggest that female labour force participation reached 59% in East Asia and Pacific in 2017, while in Latin America this rate reached 51.5%. As for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, the female labour force participation is less than half and close to only 20.6% in 2017. The region also lays behind when it comes to a other indicators of women economic and political participation.

b) You argue that the situation is not improving at the correct pace despite the measures adopted, why?

The answer is simple, when it comes to policy making regarding gender equality issues, two aspects are key to understand the inefficiency of the available measures adopted: On the one hand, there are obstacles that impede on the full implementation of measures. On the other hand, these measures are not comprehensive of the situation of women in the region.

First, measures are often hindered by the lack of social will to change. Due to the unconscious biases and other implicit and explicit channels, top-down initiatives are often misunderstood by locals, not accepted by the whole society and seen as inadequate. Mentalities and social norms remain not open to structural change, therefore despite national and international efforts, locals will find a way to deviate or pretend to change the situation without real consequences on empowerment.

Moreover, the measures adopted are often punctual uncoordinated projects and legal adjustments that do not into account the whole picture. The symptoms of the inequality problem are tackled but not the roots. Measures often lack consistency, sustainability/durability and are not part of a holistic approach to the matter. For instance, it is not enough to implement quotas, the system itself needs to work on reforming the role given to women and deconstructing the stereotypes and structural norms. In addition, there is no one South-Med woman but different profiles with different needs and that face different degrees of discrimination. For example, rural women accumulate inequalities and the answers to empower them are not the same as for women living in the capital.

3. How can the state create the conditions for women to fulfil their untapped potential?

To reach a structural empowerment the state needs to implement comprehensive laws and women empowerment needs to be a priority in National agendas, not only an aspiration. There is a need for national strategies creating the conditions allowing women to fulfil their potentials in all sectors of the economy, society and national politics. Creating a flexible national framework that understands women’s needs in each sector of activity and each context, would allow to institutionalize women empowerment. These principles would lead to a better framework for legislative reforms especially in issues such as family law and a modification of educational curricula to support social change.

However, to ensure a real empowerment of women, the state needs to coordinate its action with the other stakeholders. With a focus on children’s education, coordinated action could help change the perceived role of women in the society especially that biases start to develop at a really young age (around 3-5 years old). To make the message more relatable and legitimate, the State needs to work with local leaders such as religious leaders and other influencers that would help mimic good practices and expand the influence of adopted measures. However, working with the whole ecosystem does not mean working on improving the picture of women at the expense of men. It means to include men in the debate and to make them aware of the benefits of gender equality to the whole society.

4. In which ways can the private sector provide solutions to improve the way we invest in women?

Beyond understanding the positive economic externalities of gender equalities, the private sector could help improve policy making by building public-private partnerships in several fields relevant to women empowerment such as the digital sector by training women in coding, investing in vocational training, data gathering and rural areas.

Moreover, to ensure women’s economic empowerment enterprises could offer alternative and flexible working environments that take into account modern perceptions of responsibility sharing in a household. This could mean offering the possibility of work-from home for men and women for 1 day a week or a payed paternity leave on top of the maternity leave or a possibility of bringing children to the office 2 days a week… In addition to these internal policies, enterprises could also install principles of gender equality in their internal functioning by setting a quota in their management boards.

Additionally, enterprises can have an impact on stereotypes and social norms through marketing strategies and Ads. If the message of ads becomes more reliant on gender equality principles, stigmas could decrease.

5. You talk about role modeling and mentoring. How can it contribute to women empowerment?

This is a truly important point. Role modeling and mentoring are essential in order to instigate social change not only by empowering young women and raising their self-esteem and confidence but also by showing men the potential of women and allowing young men to grow accustomed to equality of chances.

On the smaller scale, mentoring can take the figure of small local initiatives working with women on increasing their self-esteem or exploring all the potential professional options available to them. This is the case of portraitists and mentors intend to help women grow more independent and strong.

On the bigger scale, initiatives such as establishing a TV channel featuring women from the region or the launch of a regional comity for gender equality regrouping influential women from different backgrounds could help increase the visibility of success stories. This would allow young women to identify with successful women and thrive to achieve their untapped potential. This is due to a crucial aspect of role modeling, it helps women not only explore their options in terms of goals but also in terms of ways and paths to achieve them.

Social norms can be changed and creating a virtuous circle for women empowerment from within the ecosystem and based on role-modeling, solidarity and mentoring can be a valuable step to achieve this.

 

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.

Morocco and Tunisia in Global Value Chains: focus on business services as innovation drivers

In this report we will argue that for a better understanding of how business services can contribute to competitiveness and growth in Morocco and Tunisia decomposing trade flows in terms of value added can be a useful first step. We start from the OECD-WTO Trade in Value Added database (OECD, 2016) to decompose exports in value added in business services from Morocco and Tunisia to the EU28 and to the rest of the world. This decomposition is used to compute several indicators of participation in the GVCs. Two business services industries are examined: computer and related activities and R&D and other business activities.

Combining an adequate trade liberalisation and investment policy reforms and the promotion of business linkages between foreign and domestic firms could help local companies move up to GVCs thanks of the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.

Call for interns FEMISE : Deadline for submission: 24 February 2019

As part of its activities, the FEMISE Network is launching a Call for Applications for two internship positions.

Deadline for submission: 24/02/2019

Position 1. Policy / Sustainable Development Analyst

We are looking for an intern whose mission will be mainly to perform the following tasks:

 

  • Preparing summary notes on topics related to the EU-MED region and contributing to EU-MED reports and Sector / National Policy Briefs, notably on issues related to Sustainable Development, Inclusiveness and Women and Youth integration in the Mediterranean countries (Maghreb and Mashreq),
  • Data collection (national and regional), synthesis and creation of indicators.
  • Communication activities and animating the FEMISE social networking platforms, contribution to FEMISE branding strategy.

For more information, please consult the internship sheet available here (FR)

Position 2. Trade / Innovation Analyst

We are looking for an intern whose mission will be mainly to perform the following tasks:

  • Preparing summary notes and contributing to EU-MED reports and Sector / National Policy Briefs, particularly on issues related to Trade Integration and Innovation,
  • Analysis of the economic, social and environmental impact of the Association Agreements signed between the Mediterranean countries and the European Union, in the framework of a work in collaboration with the EU (DG Trade),
  • Collection of data (national and regional), synthesis and creation of indicators on Trade and Innovation.

For more information, please consult the internship sheet available here (FR)

“Discovering Social Change Makers” : Social entrepreneurship as a key issue in the Mediterranean and Africa (November 20th, Marseille)

At the invitation of Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE, a dozen “Social Change Makers” involved in the Mediterranean region and Africa attended a workshop (Marseille, November 20th) during the Emerging Valley 2-day event. Their various experiences show the contribution of social entrepreneurship as a vector of socio-economic development accelerator but also its difficulties in imposing itself.

Les entreprises à impact social comme vecteur d'accélération de développement socio-économique (photo : F.Dubessy)

Entreprises with social impact as a vector for accelerating socio-economic development (photo : F.Dubessy)

MEDITERRANEAN / AFRICA. “Necessity is the mother of invention, so you have to try to change things with creativity.” Founder and CEO of Yomken.com Tamer Taha immediately set, during the workshop “Discovering Social Change Makers in the Mediterranean and Africa”, the problem of a “Mena region lagging behind in terms of innovation compared to other countries at the same level of development. “

Set-up by Institut de la Méditerranée, Femise and IRD (Research Institute for Development) on the occasion of Emerging Valley (Marseille, November 20, 2018) this meeting aimed to highlight the existing social entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa and in the South Mediterranean countries. As Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée and General Secretary of Femise, says, “in the face of youth unemployment, the informal economy, inequalities and lack of economic diversification, social impact enterprises have the potential, that is poorly exploited, to be an accelerator of socio-economic development by taking advantage of innovative approaches. “

For Egyptian entrepreneur Tamer Taha, “innovators need more than just money and the market needs more than new ideas, and if we do not innovate, we risk going out of the international market.” With Yomken.com, an open innovation platform for industrial, environmental and social challenges, Tamer Taha connects large companies and SEs-SMEs in five countries to answer problems through calls for solutions. Since 2012, these synergies have resulted in sixty-eight challenges. One of them being the case of a German vegetable cutting machine from a Cairo company that could not process a local vegetable called okra. For $ 5,000, two young engineers managed to solve the impasse.

Strengthen African start-ups

Hatoumata Magassa met en réseau quatre incubateurs africains (photo : F.Dubessy)

Hatoumata Magassa networks four African incubators (photo: F.Dubessy)

Shadi Atshan co-founded in 2017 an accelerator for social enterprises (SEA) in Palestine. It hosts about forty start-ups and two incubators. In 2018, he went international with four projects in Jordan. “As the market is limited, these start-ups are of little interest to investors, so we help them to raise funds,” says Shadi Atshan. Hatoumata Magassa intervenes to “contribute to sustainable, inclusive and digital economic development in Morocco, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana.” Coordinator of AFIDBA (AFD for Inclusive and Digital Business in Africa) – Bond’Innov (Bondy in France), she takes care of this project financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) for 2 M € to support sixty start-ups with a strong social impact and a funding scheme allocated of € 500,000.

We are structuring and strengthening a network of incubators in our four intervention countries to strengthen African start-ups” said Hatoumata Magassa.

Natalia Resimont coordinates the “Women of the World” project of the French NGO “Quartiers du monde”, a network of solidarity entrepreneurs present in Burkina-Fasso, Madagascar, Morocco, Mali and Senegal. “We create pedagogical tools to integrate the gender perspective, without which the social and solidarity economy does not deconstruct gender inequalities and ignores a series of models and structures that maintain, update and replicate the patriarchal system : the sexual division of labor governance, violence against women, hegemonic masculinities … “, she says. The NGO has published a guide in Spanish and French (and soon in Arabic and English), the result of five years of work on the issue.

Create collaborative civil societies

” To lead real economic initiatives, these women must first rebuild. We are integrating this into our support “ says Natalia Resimont, for example,” Women of the World “created an incubator in a small town in Mali rather than in a big city to address the issue of women’s mobility.

In Lebanon, Natalia Menhall of Beyond RD, a group of activists for the development of social entrepreneurship, advocates for “building inclusive governance systems and inspiring innovative policy solutions.” With the objective of “building collaborative civil societies and human-centered partnerships in line with priorities, by providing learning opportunities for individuals, institutions and communities.”

According to her, “even if the concept is new, the phenomenon is already present in the MENA region thanks to an existing culture of solidarity and social consciousness.”

A factory of initiatives

Sihle Tshabalala et Natalia Menhall s'investissent, chacun à leur façon, dans l'élimination des obstacles au développement social (photo : F.Dubessy)

Sihle Tshabalala and Natalia Menhall are involved, each in their own way, in removing obstacles to social development (photo: F.Dubessy)

“Instead of waiting for the changes to come to us, we decided to have an active role,” insists Natalia Menhall. “Social entrepreneurship is a tool that comes to the citizen to propose solutions that can be generalized,” she said, noting that after a study in seven countries in the MENA region, “the obstacles to the development of Entrepreneurship remain very close, either the tools do not exist, or they are not adapted or concentrated in urban areas. “ Beyond is developing a Master’s program in Social Entrepreneurship. “In some countries, bankers have to go from purely economic profit to social profit,” she says.

Sihle Tshabalala is interested in disadvantaged youth born in the townships of South Africa. He knows her well to come from there. During a stay in prison, he got interested in computer coding and then put in place a learning method for academics to teach this illiterate population and train coders.

Director of Inter-Made, a social incubator based in Marseille and dedicated, since 2001, to projects with social and environmental impact, Cédric Hamon offers skills, training and networking to start-ups. “We also have a factory of initiatives because all social needs do not always find a start-up to solve them,” he says while he sets foot on the other side of the Mediterranean in Tunisia. Cédric Hamon even markets a training offer on the resolution of societal needs through entrepreneurship. “The obstacle is that you sell solutions to people who did not understand that there was a problem … So you create another problem at home,” he admits while stating, “We do not run out of funds, we do not miss projects, we lack funded projects. ” What remains, as Constantin Tsakas indicates, is that “a social project remains difficult to market.”

The Instagram of Waste

Constantin Tsakas, organisateur et animateur de cet atelier, a conscience de la difficulté à vendre l'entreprenariat social (photo : F.Dubessy)

Constantin Tsakas, organizer and moderator of this workshop, is aware of the difficulty of selling social entrepreneurship (photo: F.Dubessy)

Another angle was also given by Mouhsin Bour Qaiba. Everything starts from a statement of the co-founder of Clean City: In Casablanca, each resident generates one ton of non-recycled waste per year. This Moroccan creates what he calls “the Instagram of waste” to put pressure on the authorities and launches an application for sorting at the source with possibility of ordering bags of different colors to ease the process of recycling.

Since then, Clean City has conquered other countries. His CEO is now thinking of giving Token (cryptocurrency) to citizens who report problems posted on his site instead of points allowing discounts on purchases as currently. “We now have 20,000 active users worldwide and 14,000 claims generated, and our goal is to reach 2 million active users,” said Mouhsin Bour Qaiba.

We wanted to show faces, men and women and insist on the ordinary aspect of their lives.” Roman-Oliver Foy, president of Friends of the Middle East (France, Lebanon), has been presenting initiatives of social entrepreneurs in the Arab world for two years through conferences and debates.

In the near future, he will be launching ten-minute videos on these experiences with the goal of inspiring potential entrepreneurs in the South and North and raising awareness among policy makers while promoting the diffusion of innovations. “Policy makers need to see what a social and supportive entrepreneur is,” he insists.

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Also check the article and video coverage by ECOMNEWSMED on the workshop : 

Workshop: Discovering Social Change Makers in the Mediterranean and Africa, November 20th, Marseille

Official registration for Emerging Valley 2018 which will take place on November 20th and 21st in Marseille (Palais du Pharo and Thecamp) are now open ! 

IM-FEMISE Workshop: Discovering Social Change Makers in the Mediterranean and Africa

FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée (IM) are delighted to join this great event and organize the workshop “Discovering the “Social Change Makers” in the Mediterranean and Africa” (20 November 2018 at 15:00). Social entrepreneurship refers to the practice that combines innovation, dynamism and the ability to address important social and environmental challenges. The support of states and multinationals around the world has been very encouraging for this model of innovative social activity. A real potential, still weakly exploited,also exists in the framework of the cooperation between the EU and Africa and in particular with the Mediterranean countries of the South Shore.

The social entrepreneurs mobilized by FEMISE and IM will present innovative initiatives, capable of meeting important social and environmental challenges in Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, South Africa, Lebanon, the MENA region and France. The Concept Note of the Workshop is available by clicking here (in french).

Register !

Discover some of our Panelists at the IM-FEMISE Workshop by clicking on their card

Emerging Valley 2018

Placed under the High Patronage of President Emmanuel MACRON and first event receiving the Digital Africa label, EMERGING Valley gathers this year

· More than 100 Startups, incubators and investors from 20+ African countries that will meet in the second city of France to connect African and European innovation: Senegal, Benin, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco , Egypt,

· The venue of country delegations (Brazil, Tunisia) to find partners, clients, support structures to create value around Africa in Marseille

· Dozens of keynotes, plenary sessions, workshops to discover and do business with the champions of African innovation in two exceptional places: Le Palais du Pharo and thecamp

· Business and networking with investors, VCs and Angels from Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean

· A simultaneous acceleration program during the summit with AFD’s Social and Inclusive Business Camp on social impact and financing

· The exclusive launch of the Digital Africa platform on November 21st at thecamp, a support system for African start-ups launched by President Emmanuel MACRON to support the entrepreneurial dynamic on the African continent through the digital economy.

Come to meet them by registering on this link

The financial contribution of FEMISE towards the event is made in the context of the FEMISE –EU project on Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership » . Any Views expressed in this event are the sole responsability of the speakers.

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.

FEMISE MED BRIEF no13 : “The success pillars of a national innovation system in Maghreb”

Sonia BEN SLIMANE (ESCP Europe) & Maarouf RAMADAN (KEDGE, FEMISE))

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 MED BRIEF on “The success pillars of a national innovation system in Maghreb” is available here.

 

AbstractThe perspective of economic growth supported by innovation activity has now proved ineffective for Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia). Our analysis under the angle of the national innovation system emphasizes the main causes such as structural weaknesses and lack of time-consuming coordination among the actors of innovation. Our recommendations are based on proposing an appropriate systemic model of innovation that takes into account the specificities of these three countries. The pillars of success of this model are first “Structural”: Setting up an effective “support structures” for innovation and entrepreneurship, offering appropriate tools and complementary services; Second, “Coordination”: Coordinated coherent interactions between public and private actors of innovation in the development of new production methods and the dissemination of knowledge; And third, “Governance”: The rehabilitation of the role of the Government in education, in ensuring and overall coherence of the actor’s actions (regulation protecting innovation, financing of innovation, supporting scientific research activities and an education system favoring the development of a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs).

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.