Tag Archives: Mediterranean

COP23 and climate change in the Mediterranean: Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE stand out as key academic actors

In the Mediterranean, the effects of climate change will always be felt more than elsewhere. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation needs of riparian countries are more than ever necessary.

Committed actors for the implementation of sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean area, Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE have been collaborating during the last two years with association ENERGIES 2050 on climate-related, environmental and energy issues. As part of their partnership, the three associations produce an annually-updated report on climate issues in the Mediterranean, putting into perspective the economic realities of countries of the South bank and suggesting courses of action and policy recommendations. The 2016 edition of the report, directed by ENERGIES2050, was presented at COP22 in Marrakech (available for download by clicking here). A preliminary draft of the forthcoming edition (2017/18), co-directed by the three partners, will be presented at a joint workshop during COP23 (Bonn, November 9th 2017) in order to integrate discussions with actors present during the COP23 summit. The entire ENERGIES 2050 program at COP23 in Bonn, including the joint workshop with Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE, is available by clicking here.

General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée and General Secretary of FEMISE, Dr. Constantin Tsakas offers some lines of thought for the future.

What will be the added value of the 2017 edition of the Climate report ?

This edition will further explore the progress made by Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) in addressing the threats of climate change. More specifically, this new report will position them vis-à-vis the Paris Agreement.

As you may know, the latter commits all signatories to contain global warming “well below 2 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels”, to achieve carbon neutrality, to cooperate in strengthening a “climate change education”. Its open and evolving nature reinforces commitments to mitigate the effects of climate change over time. The 2017 edition of the report will therefore make possible to better evaluate the coherence of MPC’s past and present mitigation and adaptation actions.

How are MPCs positioned internationally in terms of mitigation and adaptation efforts?

Dr. Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of IM and General Secretary of FEMISE

Countries like Morocco are clearly ahead in terms of policies and actions. Morocco was one of the first countries in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. But even before that date, the country had already put in place specific legislation on the protection and conservation of the environment, on the fight against air pollution and on environmental impact assessment. In addition, in 2008 the government implemented the “Green Plan for Morocco” which represented a long-term policy (2008-2020) that put emphasis on a more sustainable agricultural sector. Other countries, such as Tunisia, are lagging behind but seem to show some willingness in moving forward. Before ratifying the Paris Agreement (March 2017), the Tunisian government took initiatives to limit the effects of climate change at the national level. In terms of legislation, Tunisia was actually one of the few countries to recognize climate change in its Constitution.

That being said, many countries seem to be reforming mainly on paper or to be facing reluctance related to already established economic interests. The Paris Agreement and environmental protection laws are often perceived as barriers to economic activity and political regimes are reluctant to adopt pro-environmental reforms. In general, there is a clear difference between what has been agreed and the results obtained. There is also little cooperation between Mediterranean countries during major summits, which means that even if national initiatives might exist they are doomed to fail as they do not translate into significant regional response.

What is the answer to MPC’s lack of coordination on environmental policy?

Several programs and institutions operating in the Mediterranean already exist to assist MPCs in the process of implementing climate change mitigation and awareness policies. The Union for the Mediterranean offers a general vision for low carbon development. The United Nations Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Regions of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) provides a legal and institutional framework for concerted action among Mediterranean countries. Mediterranean networks of experts (FEMISE, MedECC, ANIMA, Plan Bleu) can also be mobilized and act as bridges between the scientific community and MPCs policy makers as they have considerable dissemination potential of politically relevant studies. Finally, there are Funds active in the region that can significantly support the implementation of climate-related projects.

What would you like to accomplish with the presence of Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE at COP23?

The presence of Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE at COP23, made possible thanks to our partnership with ENERGIES 2050, will allow us to interact with civil society actors, representatives of the public and private sectors and territorial experts present at the COP23 summit. These discussions between academics and operators of all kinds will provide feedback on the exceptional opportunities that the environment presents in terms of growth, investment, job creation and social cohesion. The debates will therefore enrich the report that we will co-publish with our partner ENERGIES 2050.

Following COP23, the 2017-2018 edition of the report “The Challenges of Climate Change in a Mediterranean in Transition – from the Paris Agreement to Implementation” will thus be finalized and presented during a launch event organized by Institut de la Méditerranée in partnership with ENERGIES 2050 and FEMISE (in Marseille, France, end of Q1 2018). Likewise, a discussion around the conclusions of the report with the territorial actors of Marseille will allow them to communicate on their environmental policies. Some of their recommendations could then be illustrated in the context of the 2019 edition in a process that remains evolving. The Marseille workshop will also illustrate the dynamics generated by our three associations and allow presenting the latest research produced from our respective networks on climate issues.

 

Interviewed by FEMISE Staff

 

Social Entrepreneurship as a means to support growth and employment in MED countries

An all-encompassing and sustainable growth model, that creates employment and favours social inclusion, is what South MED countries need. However, despite national efforts, unemployment and all types of inequalities remain high, urging for new approaches. In that respect, Social Entrepreneurship (SE)[1] can offer meaningful prospects and help tackle MED endemic issues since it: i. includes all groups and has great job creation potential, ii. is based on regional development, iii. addresses lack of diversification; iv. offers solidarity responses for all generations.

Aspiring to contribute in unlocking obstacles to development of social enterprises and in supporting social entrepreneurs, FEMISE has undertaken an ambitious effort in linking Social Entrepreneurship (SE) stakeholders in the Euro-Med. These efforts started while preparing its 2014 EIB financed report on Social Entrepreneurship in the Maghreb and continue with its 2018 report on Private Sector development (forthcoming). These efforts set the ground for an unprecedented multi-year strategy for the emergence of SE ecosystems that associates EU-MED cooperation communities along with key MED Social Impact and entrepreneurship support actors.

Ahead of the publication of its 2018 report, FEMISE interviewed some of its key partner actors to offer preliminary insights on what actions they see as priorities to facilitate cooperation between Social Entrepreneurship structures, on which international good practices could be transposable to the South-Med context and on the initiatives their respective structures operate to promote inclusiveness and social utility. Below are excerpts from three key EU-MED actors in the Social Entrepreneurship field.

Thomas Vailleux is a French social entrepreneur based between Paris, Lyon and Beirut, initiator and co-founder of Friends of the Middle East, a social enterprise for the understanding of the challenges of the populations of the Middle East. With a Lebanese team, he writes and co-produces « Changemakers in the Arab World », a documentary film about social entrepreneurs in the Maghreb and the Middle East. With MakeSense, he recently designed a three-week acceleration program dedicated to prototyping 10 solutions focused on Lebanese social entrepreneurs.

Thomas Vailleux: Not all South Mediterranean countries are equal in terms of political will for the development of social entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, I believe it is important to make sharing of best practices, feedbacks, networks and knowledge within the region a modus operandi. This collaborative operational methodology embodies the values ​​of Social Entrepreneurship. This would involve setting up a regional collaboration platform to foster exchange and strengthen cooperation between actors sharing common interests, in particular with a view to opening up to the regional market (through partnerships, exports, regional integration etc.). This platform can take the form of a web platform and a calendar of regional meetings targeting objectives already identified as key by actors such as the Lebanese think tank Beyond Reform & Development.

At the scale of support structures, innovative and effective methodologies have been invented or reinvented to equip social entrepreneurs and professionalize the specific and dual approach of a social entrepreneur (social vs. business). These methodologies are supported by high-growth support structures, cooperating with public and private domains, such as MakeSense international or Ticket for Change in France, whose founders have been awarded numerous times. Moreover, the introduction of legislative measures facilitating the creation of social enterprises and the introduction of tax-reductions for owners of SEs, such as in Italy and France, can be gamechangers. Finally, in « pioneer countries » of SE, telling the stories of solutions and project instigators can quickly become a means of federating communities of “changemakers”.

Friends of the Middle East is an association based in Paris and Beirut, one of whose objectives is to share another face of the region through the stories of the experiences of its citizens, including social entrepreneurs. Through our documentary film project « Changemakers in the Arab World », we seek to promote the inclusion of marginalized audiences by representing them in our film. Our partnerships with NGOs and local and regional foundations enable young people from marginalized areas to be sensitized with the aim of removing them from violence and extremism in order to bring them closer to the “faire-ensemble”. Our program of “projections-action!” in several countries is designed to involve the spectators at the end of the projection through workshops of problem-solving and connections with the actors of the ecosystem.

Shadi Atshan is a Palestinian entrepreneur and cofounder of Leaders Organization and FastForward Accelerator. Shadi led a group of talented professionals in establishing what has become Palestine’s largest entrepreneurship promotion organization (Leaders Organization or Qeiadat). He developed the organization’s portfolio of activities from zero to a portfolio of over $10 million USD in less than 8 years. Currently Leaders Organization is operating in Palestine, Jordan and Belgium. His work has contributed to the creation of over 45 technology startups. Today, Leaders Organization hosts Palestine’s only Technology Park “eZone”, Palestine’s first Startups Accelerator “FastForward”, Palestine’s first Social Enterprises Accelerator “SEA”, and the Palestinian House in Silicon Valley “PHSV” in San Francisco – USA.

Shadi Atshan : Enabling the facilitation for development of the social entrepreneurship structure in general, and in South Mediterranean countries specifically, should be prioritized on three main levels, starting from a broader sense and then narrowing in towards micro-level strategies. A broader strategy should be set to induce the idea of social responsibility, and creating benefits through profitable start-ups throughout the region. Once this strategy is incorporated, workshops and conferences should be introduced within the countries themselves, on how to create or target already existing social gaps within the economy, and create profitable solutions. Finally, the incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurial-related associations should incorporate tailor-made programs targeting social entrepreneurship programs particularly, and offering the needed training and mentorship to induce the creation of successful start-ups.

Two main international good practices that directly filter into social entrepreneurship initiatives, and lead to the creation of new businesses in the South Mediterranean region are recycling and the transition into solar energy practices. These good practices would guarantee higher efficiency, lower cost, and higher sustainability on the long term for the region as a whole. In addition to encouraging young entrepreneurs to create new start-ups centered around social advancement within their economy. In order to enable such an environment of sustainability and creative thought, certain programs and aspects need to be introduced. The first is research & development programs to encourage the entrepreneurs to create innovative ideas and new products. The second is an international expert network on the ground, to help the start-up receive the mentoring and advise they need, and move to the next level. Finally introduce an Angel network in the region to invest in the entrepreneurs, especially through social initiative start-ups to allow them to expand and create long term benefits.

Social inclusion and utility is one of Leader Organization’s main initiatives, and therefore, one of the programs it undertakes is the Social Enterprise Accelerator (SEA). The concept emerged out of the lack of support to the social enterprises, the accelerator is meant to find sustainable solutions for this issue. A particular emphasis through SEA was directed towards women and youth with the ambition and potential to build sustainable social enterprises that impact their communities will be beneficiaries of an innovative and extensive support program. This project goes even further in promoting engagement, where women and youth from marginalized communities with potential identity issues of concern and importance to them (in society, politics, economics and the environment) develop their own social enterprises, and receive support. The program has provided training for over 150 entrepreneurs age 22 to 30, and has hosted and supported 7 start-ups, with a women participation rate of 42%.

Patrizia Bussi coordinates the Brussels-based European Network of Social Integration Enterprise (ENSIE), representing social enterprises and especially more than 2500 work integration social enterprises across Europe (27 members in 19 EU Member States, Switzerland and Serbia). ENSIE aims to contribute to sustainable development through different actions such as creating links between the job market and the social integration of disadvantaged risk-groups by improving their employment opportunities and productivity. During her time in ENSIE, Patrizia has also worked for two Italian social economy enterprises: the Consorzio Sociale Abele Lavoro and the A-type social cooperative Stranaidea. She was a member of the consultative multi-stakeholder group on social business (GECES), member of the GECES’s Social Impact Measurement sub-group and member of the Italian GECES group, Gruppo Multilaterale sull’imprenditoria sociale. She is now participating in the GECES as observer. Since 2014 she represents ENSIE in the Structured Dialogue with European Structural and Investment Funds’ partners group of experts (ESIF SD).

Patrizia Bussi: I think it’s necessary in each South Mediterranean country to search for the structures of social entrepreneurship and social economy that already exist, helping them in working together so that they can be visible and recognized at national level and so that they can cooperate to unlocking untapped potentials of their territories. Following these important steps, progressive cooperation has to be built among the structures of the whole South Mediterranean.

Identifying international good practices that could be transposable is not an easy task. There are some that have already shown their success such as the Incorpora program in Morocco, or some activities with social impact in Tunisia, launched by the French SOS group. These experiences confirm the importance of taking into consideration the territorial realities (economic, social, historical, cultural) and to adapt international good practices to these realities.

ENSIE represents, supports and develops within Europe networks and federations of Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs): efficient tools for access to, social and professional reintegration into the labour market and social inclusion of vulnerable groups. The 2016 ‘Impact WISEs’ study examined 807 work integration social enterprises (WISEs), present in 9 countries of the European Union and including 12,954 disadvantaged workers. The study identified that 48,5% of disadvantaged workers found a job in the same WISE, in another WISE or in the classic labour market while 16,5% became self-entrepreneurs or found professional training.

 

The multiple interviews carried out by FEMISE showed the need to support the development of an enabling policy and regulatory environment for MED SE’s. They also highlighted how it is essential to raise awareness and capacity of ecosystem stakeholders to support the growth of SE’s that contribute to value creation and employment generation in MED countries. They also emphasised the importance of communication and sharing of best practices.

Based on these observations, FEMISE mobilized its scientific community for its 2018 report on Private sector development that will include a chapter on Social Entrepreneurship potential in the Med countries. The chapter will focus on the range of tools (notably financial) to support and develop SE in this region and present potential actions on the EU-MED level that could support and develop SE. The report is expected to be available in Q1 2018.

Article by Constantin Tsakas

[1] For a Social Entrepreneurship panorama in selected MED countries, read the FEMISE-EIB (2014) report « Économie Sociale et Solidaire: Vecteur d’inclusivité et de création d’emplois dans les pays partenaires méditerranéens? ». Executive Summary (in english) available here.

Full study (in french) available here. 

FEMISE is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Internal Competition !

We received nineteen (19) eligible proposals for this 2017 round under the General theme of

“The Role of the EU in facilitating the modernization, the transition and international openness of the Mediterranean countries”.

Following the evaluation undertaken by the Evaluation committee, the Selection committee selected nine (9) proposals for funding in the context of the FEMISE-European Commission contract on: “Support to economic research, studies and dialogue of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”.

The selected proposals have a real value added generating fresh knowledge, use rigorous and sound methodology, and have the potential of offering policy recommendations. Selected proposals include 21 different FEMISE Affiliates from 13 different EU-Med countries (5 from the north and 8 from the south) and with the participation of more than 40 researchers from the Mediterranean. Drafts of the research papers will be presented in the forthcoming FEMISE Annual Conference (early 2018).

The nine selected proposals address the following themes :

  • The refugees’ crisis (3)
  • Evaluation of the Association Agreements (2)
  • Innovation and technology transfer (1)
  • Renewable energies, sustainable development, climate change and problems of Water (1)
  • Social Policies and Labour markets (2)

We wish our researchers all the best in the efforts that they will undertake. We strongly encourage all of our affiliates to participate in the fourth round (late 2017) and we wish you every success with your research activities.

The winners are:

FEM43-03

Morocco and Tunisia in the European Global Value Chains: a special focus on business services as innovation drivers, University of Granada (Spain) and University Mohamed V (Morocco)

The main aim of this project is to evaluate the role played by European Global Value Chains, and more specifically by business services, in adding value added and fostering innovation in Morocco and Tunisia. More concretely, we are aimed at achieving three objectives: First, we examine the evolution of the business services content of gross imports, by importing industry and country of origin. This indicator presents the “real” value added that business services create and that it is imported directly (as direct imports of business services) but also indirectly as intermediate inputs into the production of goods and services. Second, we identify the source of foreign value added embodied in domestic final demand for business services by country of origin of the value added. Domestic final demand includes household consumption, government consumption and non-profit institutions serving households. Third, we estimate the product-embodied R&D diffused through imported business services that are used as intermediate inputs by country of origin. Intermediate inputs contain R&D created by other industries and in other countries. The use of intermediate inputs from high-innovative industries (as business services) can contribute to the development of innovations in user industries.

FEM43-04

Les stratégies de développement des énergies renouvelables dans la région MENA : Etude comparative et couloirs de développement.”, University of Toulon (France) and Université de Sousse (Tunisia)

Ce projet vise à analyser la dynamique des stratégies de développement des énergies renouvelables dans les pays MENA sur la période 1990-2014. Pour cela, nous proposons de définir deux indicateurs de production d’énergies renouvelables (global et par source) afin d’identifier le profil de chaque pays tout en portant une attention particulière aux énergies renouvelables issue de la technologie de l’hydraulique. Aussi, nous proposons d’étudier les conséquences sur le développement durable de ces pays au regard des sources des énergies renouvelables et à l’aide d’un modèle économétrique en panel dynamique. Ainsi, le projet se propose de produire des éléments de comparaison entre les pays MENA et d’étudier le lien, à court et à moyen terme, entre les sources d’énergies renouvelables et le développement. Ce projet permettra de mettre en lumière l’impulsion donné par le Plan Solaire Méditerranéen aux différentes stratégies des pays MENA et d’identifier la ou les stratégie (s) gagnante (s) en termes de point de croissance.

FEM43-05 The Long-Term Impact of Syrian Refugees on Turkish Economy: An Input-Output Simulation”, AGREEM – Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) and CREM (Turkey)

The main goal of the research proposal is to assess the medium / long – term aggregated economic impact of refugees on the economy of middle income-labour abundant hosting countries using Turkish economy as a case study. This project aims to be understood as a contribution to the evaluation of this long-term economic potential. Our objective is to widen the view about the impact of Syrian refugees in Turkish economy adding a long – term perspective to the partial evidences found in the short – term context.

FEM43-06Income Convergence and the Impact of the Euro-MED Trade and Financial Integration on Macroeconomic Volatility, Institute of Financial Economics AUB (Lebanon), KEDGE Business School (France)

The Mediterranean Partner economies are expected to further benefit from regional financial and trade integration with a proper allocation of savings, and a better ability to share financial risk by reducing consumption and income volatilities. However, the empirical evidence on the effects of trade and financial integration on macroeconomic volatility is still very limited. Therefore, this study will add to the limited existing literature on developing countries by studying, and perhaps for the first time, the relationship between trade and financial integration and macroeconomic volatility in the MED region. The objective of this study is to shed some light on this issue by studying the impact of enhanced regional trade and financial integration on macroeconomic volatility in the Euro-MED region. In this context, we will answer the following question: is there a link between the degree of regional trade and financial integration and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and consumption convergence and macroeconomic volatility in the MED region?

FEM43-07 The Effect of Syrian Refugees on the Labour Market of Host Countries, Macro Center for Political Economics (Israel), Centre Emile Bernheim, University of Brussels (Belgium)

The project aims to analyse how the influx of Syrian refugees influences the economic and social conditions of host countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. Although broad knowledge regarding the challenges of migrant workers has been gathered in the academic field, this is not the case regarding refugees. Despite the extensive discussion about the refugee crisis in Europe, the impact of the Syrian War and resulting instability in the entire region on neighbouring economies receiving refugees has not been sufficiently addressed. The research methodology is based on comparisons of labour markets before and after refugee entrance. This project aspires to improve the decision making process in integrating the refugees in host countries and stabilizing their economic and social status.

FEM43-08Feminization of occupations and its effect on gender wage gap in south Mediterranean Countries‘, October University for modern sciences and arts (Egypt), American University in Cairo (Egypt) and European Institute London School of Economics (UK)

The main aim of the project is dual. First, to analyze the effect of feminization of occupations on gender-occupational segregation in the Mediterranean countries Egypt and Jordan. Second, to identify the effect of feminization of occupations on the gender wage gap. In particular, the analysis will investigate the role of the feminization of occupations on boosting female labor force participation and on decreasing the gender wage gap and increasing the ‘labor market effectiveness and inclusiveness’. Ultimately, the goal is to increase labor markets’ efficiency that promotes living standards and thus manages migration to the EU countries.

FEM43-14

Refugees and hosting country economy: integration models and cooperation policy options, Cespi (Italy) and Royal Scientific Society (Jordan)

In this research we will address the hypothesis of refugees as a potential in Jordanian economy, when socially included, with a methodology that gives an original insight. We will compare the economic inclusion of migrants in an advanced OECD country on one hand, Italy, with the economic inclusion of refugees in Jordan now at hand. The aim of the comparison is to identify the determinants of economic inclusion in Italy in terms of opportunity structure on the territory and its institutions and policies (at local and national levels), and in terms of social capital and compare them with data and experience from Jordan. This will allow to design policy indications based on findings and best practices of economic integration and social inclusion of refugees in the hosting country.

FEM43-16 Analysing the impact of the EU-Tunisia DCFTA on Tunisian Trade and Production, University of Sussex (UK), Université de Tunis, ESSEC (Tunisia)

In contrast to the existing literature the aim of this project is use a disaggregated multi-market partial equilibrium (PE) model. This will provide a much more granular analysis of the possible impact on the trade and production of specific Tunisian industries. The model we propose will be a multi-market model, and built into it will be the possibility of running simulations under both perfect and imperfect competition, and thus to explore the sensitivity of the results to different forms of competitive interaction. The analysis of the EU-Tunisia DCFTA will also shed light both methodologically and empirically on the impact of further DCFTAs which are already under negotiation (eg. Morocco – though currently suspended), and those which have been suggested for the future (such as with Egypt or Jordan).

FEM43-18

Le développement de la petite enfance et l’inégalité des chances au Maghreb (Algérie, Maroc et Tunisie), INSEA (Morocco) ; along with CREAD (Algeria) and University of Toulon (France)

Ce travail permettrait de proposer des recommandations pour une meilleure orientation des politiques en matière de développement et d’amélioration des indices d’équité et d’égalité des chances dans les trois pays : Algérie, Maroc et Tunisie. Dans un premier temps, l’état du développement de la petite enfance (DPE) sera évalué à travers plusieurs indicateurs différents. En deuxième lieu, nous décrirons la relation entre ces indicateurs et un certain nombre de caractéristiques de données de base (dites circonstances) des enfants. Troisièmement, nous quantifierons les chances inégales auxquelles les enfants font face pour vivre leur situation dans chacun de ces indicateurs, à l’aide de l’indice de dissimilitude D-index.

 

CNR-ISSM Workshop: Inequalities in the Mediterranean

Inequalities in the Mediterranean

23rd of June, 2017
(9:30 am-4:30 pm)

National Research Council, Institute of Studies on Mediterranean Societies (CNR-ISSM), Via Guglielmo Sanfelice, 8,  I-80134 Naples

The CNR-ISSM workshop aim to stimulate the discussion on different aspects of inequalities among and within Mediterranean countries. The discussion is intended to throw light on how to promote greater economic and political integration of the Med region. The term “inequality” would include political as well as socio-economic inequalities.

The workshop intends to provide the grounds for developing new patterns of analysis and addressing policy guidelines which will be able to respond to the dramatic challenges in front of the Mediterranean regions. In a fragile and conflicting environment, in which economic and political variables are strictly interrelated and reinforce each other, a valuable and comprehensive research program requires a multidisciplinary approach that will be analysed by this workshop.

For more information, the agenda is available by clicking here.

THE NEXT SOCIETY : FEMISE participates in action plan to support innovation in the Mediterranean

A successful launch, in Greece, for THE NEXT SOCIETY, a movement gathering entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, public and private innovation stakeholders in Europe and the Mediterranean.

This community took the opportunity to unveil its action plan implemented over 4 years, with the support of the European Commission. Its activities aim to accompany change in the region by placing the private sector at the core of the dialogue as well as the innovation and competitiveness  measures. THE NEXT SOCIETY echoes an inclusive philosophy based on corporate social responsibility and supports the emergence of talents and new leaders by targeting start-ups, clusters and technology transfer offices.

On the occasion of the event, co-organised by ANIMA Investment Network and Enterprise Greece on May 16th in Athens, almost a hundred Euro-Mediterranean professionals and experts exchanged views on the activities implemented by the initiative, in the presence of Greek Ministers Mr. Dimitris Papadimitriou, Minister of Economy and Development and Mr. Costas Fotakis, Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation.

According to Candace Johnson, president of EBAN (The European Trade Association for Early Stage Investors) “… the entrepreneurs of Maghreb, Middle-East and Africa are the solutions to the world’s problem”. Vladimir Rojanski, from the DG NEAR at the European Commission, underlined the importance of job creation and the development of SMEs and start-ups, as well as the European Union’s strong desire to support innovation through new financing mechanisms in the region.

THE NEXT SOCIETY activates change at every level

On May 16th in Athens, THE NEXT SOCIETY presented a comprehensive action plan supported by the European Commission, which impacts several  levels of the innovation ecosystem:

  • Improve policy frameworks: THE NEXT SOCIETY establishes a public-private dialogue and benchmarks the performance of Mediterranean innovation ecosystems in order to define and implement country strategic roadmaps and improve innovation support strategies.
  • Foster start-up success: THE NEXT SOCIETY offers tailor-made support to Mediterranean start-ups to help them go international and raise funds thanks to workshops and training sessions, immersion into foreign markets and incubation in European innovation hubs, meetings with investors and long-term coaching by committed mentors.
  • Promote and internationalise clusters: THE NEXT SOCIETY develops peer-learning services for business and industrial clusters as well as foreign partnership and guide them towards a Cluster Excellence management approach.
  • Support technology transfer offices (TTO): THE NEXT SOCIETY trains TTO managers like entrepreneurs and help them improve their services, market their innovation portfolio  and meet potential clients.

FEMISE contributing to THE NEXT SOCIETY

As presented by Dr Maryse Louis (General Manager FEMISE, Programs Manager Economic Research Forum) during the launch event in Athens, FEMISE and its affiliates Institut de la Méditerranée and Economic Research Forum will essentially contribute in the two Activities described below.

Dr Maryse Louis (General Manager FEMISE, Programs Manager Economic Research Forum) and Dr Constantin Tsakas (General Secretary FEMISE, General Manager Institut de la Méditerranée)

National Innovation and Competitiveness Monitor (NICM) : Here  in-depth analysis and assessment of existing definitions, scoreboards, benchmarks and relevant studies will take place. This will allow defining new concepts, creating a south-Med scoreboard and a national scoreboard for each country as well as preparing country specific studies on innovation and drafting policy briefs. The way the outputs of this activity will be communicated is an essential part of its success. This will be made through meetings organised throughout the projects, several workshops and conferences and through the country studies and the policy Briefs that will be prepared for each country.

Value Chain Analysis : The objective here will be to encourage enterprises (national / international) to identify and use the technological / innovative capacities of the MED countries.A General overview of sectoral development will be provided to show how the level of high tech exports change dover time by sector in each of the 7 countries. Then, FEMISE will focus on looking which products have performed best in exports, raising the question of where the new comparative advantages for each of the seven countries lie. Lastly, analysing the conditions of success stories at the firm leve will shed light on how have firms succeeded in bringing these new comparative advantages to the fore.

JOIN OR FOLLOW THE NEXT SOCIETY

Mail : welcome@thenextsociety.co

Twitter @TheNext_Society

Facebook THE NEXT SOCIETY

www.thenextsociety.co (coming soon)

 

Migration and the refugees crisis: FEMISE experts discuss the dawn of a new era

Femise 2017 Annual Conference on “Migration and Refugees’ Crisis in the EU-Med: Dawn of an Era of Shared Responsibility?”

Reports of the Plenary Sessions

First Plenary: Impact of the Refugees’ Crisis on Neighbouring Southern countries

Several millions of Syrians have fled their country since 2011 and the beginning of the war. Neighboring riparian states are the destination for the vast majority of them, with Lebanon at the forefront. What will the economic impact of this Syrian diaspora be? And will the refugees return to their country once peace is restored? These are among the questions that have been put at the beginning of this first plenary session of the FEMISE annual Conference (Casablanca, 29-30 April, 2017)

Osama Kadi, FEMISE conference 2017

Devastated by the war that began in March 2011, Syria has lost more than half of its population in only six years. Out of the country’s 25 million inhabitants on the eve of the conflict, 15 million have left the country or have been killed, imprisoned or disabled. “Almost 20,000 engineers left in the first year of the war,” said Osama Kadi, president of the Syrian Economic Task Force (SETF) in his opening statement at the first plenary session. Syrians did not choose to leave their homeland. It was the war that forced them to seek refuge in neighboring countries and cross the Mediterranean risking their lives. As a result, 50 000 people have died drowning since 2011 in makeshift boats trying to escape (presentation available here).

The country is deeply fragmented and the economy lost its capital and human resources. Living conditions are devastating: more than 85% of the remaining population live under the poverty line, most children are out of schools, life expectancy has dropped dramatically to 56 years with no easy access to health care (ratio of doctors to persons is less than is 1:4000) and more than two million houses have been destroyed. Most energy resources have been either damaged or taken over by islamist groups.

FEMISE conference 2017, Casablanca

However, Mr. Kadi sends a message of hope about post-conflict reconstruction. He argues that security, justice and reconciliation, social and economic well-being and governance and participation. Amidst huge challenges, and depending on how the conflict will be resolved, he suggested four sectors that could achieve quick returns: energy sector, agriculture and labor intensive industries. He provided some of his insights about the short and long run reforms plans, inspired by the “Marshall Plan” which reconstructed western Europe after the WWII.

Refugee status to join the formal sector

Mohamed Ali Marouani, FEMISE conference 2017

Complementing the picture, Mohamed Ali Marouani, Professor of Economics at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne highlights: “We are too focused on the humanitarian aspects and not enough on the economic stakes. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees live in poor areas characterized by high rates of unemployment. How can we improve their quality of life? If refugees fail to be part of the economy, they will remain in the informal sector and will not be able to generate trade, “analyzes Mohamed Ali Marouani, who advocated for their integration into the formal labor market during his speech about the economic impact of the Syrian crisis on the neighbouring country: Lebanon (presentation available here).

Lebanon is on the front line. Syrian refugees now represent about 30% of the Lebanese population. This is the highest rate of Syrian refugees in the world. By way of comparison, they represent only 3% of the Turkish population. The massive influx of 1.2 million Syrians considerably weighs on the Lebanese economy. The country has to face a 20% drop in its exports and an important rise in the unemployment rate. His analysis focuses on four possible impacts : first the impact of sharing border with Syria as a country in conflict (which will have huge impact on its trade and economy), second the impact of huge influx of refugees that entered Lebanon with particular need to access the labour markets, third the impact of an extreme case scenario of aid stopping and hence causing complete reliance on income generated from labour and fourth, the positive impact of increasing investment through foreign aid. His analysis showed that costs of lower trade (and tourism) in Lebanon are high given the importance of these sectors for the Lebanese economy. The flows of refugees have a negative impact on unemployment (particularly for the lowest segments of the Lebanese workforce). Global growth is higher, but if we take into account the refugees, growth per capital is lower. This is mainly due to the negative impact of the shocks on investments.

Ibrahim Ahmed ElBadawi, FEMISE conference 2017

While Turkey refuses to give Syrians refugee status, depriving them of Turkish citizenship, Egypt and Sudan have shown an exemplary attitude. “Syrians can have a job in Egypt. Their integration is a model to be studied, “suggests Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi, president of Femise and Managic Director of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo. “Syrians feel safe in Egypt and develop trade relations. It remains to be seen whether at the end of the war, they can return to Syria, “stresses Osama Kadi. “The heritage they enjoy in the host countries will determine their final choice. They lost everything in Syria.

Raed Safadi, FEMISE conference 2017

How can we help them regain the motivation to rebuild their country in ruins, states Raed Safadi during his presentation entitled ” Impact of the refugees on Neighbors: the Good, the Not so Good .. and the Bad “. He advocates the fact that the combined population of Jordan ,Turkey and Lebanon (neighbouring countries) is 94 mn with a GDP of $900; while the population in the EU is 500 mn with a GDP of $18.4 trillion and the population is the USA is 319 mn with a GDP of $17.4 trillion. He explains that the impact of the refugees could be a boon if they fill demographic gaps, integrate in the labour market and become productive and bring bilateral trade and investment; and they could be a burden if they strain on public and private services, cause overcrowding and increase societal strife. The impact of the Syrian conflict has caused greater macroeconomic challenges in the neighbouring countries than the influx of Syrian refugees, such as blocked export channels and destinations, tourism, regional insecurity. However, there are some on-going positive impacts of those refugees, in Turkey 26% of newly established business are Syrians. Dr. Safadi stressed the need to consider both humanitarian and development assistance (presentation available here).

Second Session: Unifying the Mediterranean vision of migration to the benefit of migration and refugees

While the first plenary session highlighted a rather disparate management of the refugee influx by host countries, the second plenary session of the Femise conference (29th of April 2017 in Casablanca) focused on finding concrete solutions to bring a Common vision. Too many divergences exist between the perception and actual management of refugees in the north and south of the Mediterranean, hindering the establishment of a solidarity chain. The phenomenon being perceived as a threat for some and an opportunity for others …

Hugo de Seabra, FEMISE conference 2017

Economic immigrants, political refugees and free movement of individuals … about 6,000 immigrants struck daily at the gates of Europe in 2015, during the crisis peak. Given the magnitude of the phenomenon, EU states were improvising by bringing an empirical response. “The welfare state has exacerbated divisions in Europe. We must build a common ground and develop an inclusive approach, “argues Hugo de Seabra of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal, at the initiative of the November 2016 Lisbon Summit on” Improving responses in Europe to the refugee crisis “.He adds that unifying a vision for Europe will require some strategic directions to: create the political will to develop a forward-looking EU Strategy towards migration; develop a coherent and fair mechanism to manage migration flows, to promote work-focused integration that strengthens social belonging and to mobilise the whole society to promote inclusivity. Each of these directions will require well-designed policies that he elaborated in his speech (presentation available here).

Harmonizing the granting of asylum in Europe

Pierre Vimont, FEMISE conference 2017

“A real substantive reflection must be carried out on burden-sharing. We must adopt a genuine immigration policy with harmonized rules, in particular on the time-limits for granting asylum between the different European countries “, suggests Pierre Vimont, Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe. The refugee crisis has divided Europe, exacerbating tensions and contributing to the rise of populism. It was not until 2015 that Brussels decided to develop an immigration strategy.

Europe sought regaining control by closing its borders all the while trying to convince the countries of the south to keep immigrants on their soil in return for economic and financial support,” analyzes Pierre Vimont. He added: “Europe would like to duplicate the agreement that was reached with Turkey to Libya, something which is impossible given the political and social situation”. He suggests several lines of work: defining a rigorous policy, organizing a first stage in Africa allowing to legally enter Europe and increasing financial support to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

Nevertheless, has Europe not amplified the phenomenon? “About 70% of the 6 million Syrian refugees remained in the region. Europe has received only 1.3 million refugees. Of the 770,000 asylum-right beneficiaries in 2016, 450,000 are in Germany and 35,000 in France, “states Senén Florensa, executive president of IEMED in Barcelona.

FEMISE researchers debating, FEMISE conference 2017

Over time, since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, new roads have been opened, displaced or closed. By 2016, 55% of refugees were transiting through Greece and 45% through Italy.

A land of economic immigration, Spain ceased to be attractive when it was struck by the crisis with a saturated labor market. From a transit country, Morocco has seen its status change to become a host country. He highlights the fact that there are overlapping strategies in terms of managing Migration in the EU-Med region: from the EU-27 strategy, the 5+5 the union for the Mediterranean, the ENPI and the Euro-African conference on Migration and development which complicates the picture. He concludes by stating that from “more development for less migration” to “ better migration for more development” and that the migration policies should not be disconnected from development policies.

Third Session — What actions are still needed to Face the Refugees Crisis ?

The Syrian conflict is the most important humanitarian challenge. It marks an exodus of more than five million Syrians which settled in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The 13.5 million who chose to stay require emergency assistance. The United Nations, through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), are trying to provide concrete answers by helping people in distress. Providing immediate actions while anticipating peace, reconstruction and the return of refugees … Speakers at the last session of the Femise conference delivered their vision for the future.

Charbel Nahas, FEMISE conference 2017

At the end of the war, economists are considering several scenarios. “Civil war has irreversible effects. Should Syrian refugees be fully or partially integrated into host countries? Should we organize their repatriation? “queried Charbel Nahas, economist and former labor minister in Lebanon. Wear, weariness and even trivialization of a conflict that drags on … As the civil war in Syria enters its seventh year, aid is becoming scarce. To date, only US $ 7 million has been received out of the USD 200 million needed to build shelters and provide non-food aid.

A civil war is both demobilization and destruction of resource stocks. The Syrian population is suddenly in surplus. Its migration is a predictable effect. The balance between the population stock and the capital stock has been broken in Lebanon. Behind the complementarity or substitutability of Lebanese workers (and other residents) and Syrians lies the question of the adjustment variable: adaptation of labour, of the economy or society. Considerable choices arise: to integrate the Syrians totally, partially, with differentiated statuses, to organize their exit … In each case, it is the socio-political institutional model that must be redefined and the regional context with it. Contrary to pure economic theory, country-size matters, but in terms of relative strength ratio. The movement of goods is not equivalent to the movement of factors, especially of men and of natural resources. If there were to be a common vision, it should be clearly political. FEMISE can undoubtedly play a role. Lebanon, for its misfortune experienced civil war and reconstruction before Syria. The Lebanese experience, because it presents a case of extreme adaptation, must imperatively be taken into account.

Sophie Nennemacher, FEMISE conference 2017

“During the New York summit in September 2016, countries made concrete financial commitments to support countries in crisis. By 2018, member States also pledged to adopt a global pact for safe, orderly and regular migration. However, this summit was a failure. We are witnesing financial disinterest among States in mobilizing funds for refugees. Thus, UNHCR is launching a new appeal and is trying to re-incite countries to support refugees, “says Sophie Nennemacher, IOM’s regional migration policy officer. She also adds that greater coherence between humanitarian action and development planning to build a resilience community is required (presentation available here).

However, texts protecting migrants in situations of vulnerability do exist. “The United Nations convention on migrants has been scarcely ratified because it gives migrants a lot of rights,” says the migration expert. She describes the vulnerability of the refugees whom routinely fit the decision of a population “left behind”. She provides some details about the efforts of the IOM on this front and their “displacement Tracking matrix” to follow up on the movements of the displaced.

Following the summits of New York and Malta, Kampala will be hosting a summit organized by the African Union in mid-May.

Post-war scenarios

At the end of September, governments, civil society representatives and the private sector will also meet in Cairo to try to reach a consensus and move forward on this issue. “States are called upon to put forward their ideas in order to defend the cause of migrants, to combat human trafficking, to open up legal channels for immigration and to establish lines of cooperation”, adds Sophie Nennemacher. The IOM representative pointed out that tools to monitor migrants’ movements and to assess the needs of populations (refugee camp management, social and psychosocial assistance) do in fact exist. The expert also recalled the multiplier effect of aid on consumption and its stimulating effect on the economy.

Philippe Poinsot, UN coordinator and UNDP representative in Morocco, cites the example of the Shereefian kingdom: “Hospitality is deeply rooted in the Muslim world. Refugees enjoy the same rights as Moroccans “.

For a photo album of the Conference, please click here

Debates, FEMISE Conference 2017, Casablanca

From left to right: Constantin Tsakas, Jala Youssef, Ibrahim ElBadawi, Patricia Augier, Maryse Louis

flag_yellow_highThis event 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 seminar are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

Tourism in the Mediterranean, a sector of two-speeds

Since the Arab Spring and the wave of terrorist attacks, travellers have avoided the Maghreb and Mashrek countries in favor of safe destinations in the northern Mediterranean. In their latest report, Femise economists draw an overview of the situation and provide a roadmap for a sector considered vital for the southern economies. Hotels should adopt new management practices and modify their marketing approaches. However, the main recommendation is targeting new clients. What if the Maghreb region became the new destination for Chinese tourists ?

Plage de l'hôtel Rammada Plaza à Gammarth Tunisie (photo : F.Dubessy)

Hôtel Rammada Plaza at Gammarth, Tunisia (photo : F.Dubessy)

With 250 million tourists spending $ 200,000 million a year, the Mediterranean is among the most popular destinations in the world. A pot distributed unevenly since the Jasmine Revolution in 2011.

In the first few years travellers kept visiting Tunisian beach resorts, however, the jihadist massacre of tourists in 2015 dealt a blow to an activity which accounted for 10% of the country’s GDP. Wealth generated by tourism melted as snow in the sun, falling to only 7% of Tunisia’s GDP.

“Seven million tourists have been diverted from North Africa since 2010. Egypt has lost five million tourists and Tunisia two and a half million,” notes the Femise report, published in January 2017, coordinated by Doaa M. Salman Abdou professor in Cairo (October University for Modern Sciences and Arts, Egypt) in collaboration with Andrés Artal-Tur professor at Valencia (Technical University of Cartagena & Institute of International Economics (IEI-UV), University of Valencia, Spain).

Conversely, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, considered as safe havens, register record levels of attendance. In 2011, tour operators had diverted 12 million trips to Spain. At the beginning of 2016, the Iberian Peninsula showed a record increase: + 13.4% for the Balearic Islands, + 5.1% for Continental Spain, + 6.4% for the Canary Islands and above all + 40% for Portugal.

Increased presence of Asian tourists

This is a phenomenon that scares investors and aggravates unemployment. Entitled “Winners and losers in the tourism and hospitality industry along the transition process”, the Femise (FEM41-04) report advocates a number of ideas for increasing tourism-related revenues.

While the return of political stability and peace seems vital, Femise also suggests to put emphasis on the neighborhood policy and intensify training for hotel managers in the south of the Mediterranean.

Efforts have been made in Tunisia and Egypt to attract international tourists but with limited success. For the time being Europe is capturing these flows. “Growth in the number of visitors from Asia and North America to European destinations will continue in the future”. The report concludes that “ the Mediterranean ought to maintain a high level of competitiveness”.

The report is available (in english) and can be accessed at the following link.

 

Article produced in partnership with Econostrum.

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Winners and Losers in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry along the Transition Process

Executive Summary FEMISE research Project FEM 41-04

Along the present “Executive Summary” we synthesize the main findings of FEMISE Research Project FEM 41-04, on Winners And Losers In The Tourism And Hospitality Industry Along The Transition Process: Evidence From South And North MED Countries”, corresponding to the FEMISE research program 2015/2016.

Tourism is the backbone for many Mediterranean (MED) countries, providing a pivotal source of foreign currencies, attracting investments, absorbing labour force and sharing in the countries development. Tourism is also a sensitive industry based on security and safety issues when attracting tourists from all over the world. In 2015, the Mediterranean region was the first world tourism destination with more than 250 million people in arrivals and 200,000 million dollar in receipts, due to the presence of the leading North shore destinations (France, Spain, Greece and Italy) and South-East shore countries (Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia) (UNWTO, 2016).

At their very beginning, in years 2010 and 2011, the media started to define the Arab Spring revolutions as peaceful protest movements that are requesting to correct imbalances, corruption, poor living standards and inequality. Later, the protests and violence increased, sending a message that these countries were unsafe places to be visited. The instability that spread among the countries in the Mediterranean reshaped the region as vulnerable and threatening, especially in the south shore after several attacks on foreign tourists. Subsequently, a decline occurred in tourist arrivals and revenues, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, affecting the countries’ national income. On the other hand, important destinations in the north shore of the MED region were receiving the bulk of relocations that cancelled their visits to south countries, with some countries such as Spain, Italy, France or Greece remarkably increasing the number of arrivals since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

In this context, the first chapter of the study focuses on reviewing the impact of the Arab Spring movements on the tourism sector for both shores of the Mediterranean, taking Egypt and Spain as reference case studies In the case of Egypt, we can see that the tourism sector has been negatively affected by the instability situation, with this country facing a severe decline in tourist arrivals, revenues, occupancy rates, level of employment, taxes collection and global investments. However, the country is now in the midst of a transition process, and the recovery of a stable situation and the promotion of the country as a safe tourist destination is the main objective for present times, in order to retrieve the necessary benefits coming from international tourism. In contrast, Spain was recording remarkable flows of international inbound tourism in these years. More than 12 million trips have been relocated by international tour-operators into the country since year 2011 according to official estimates (Exceltur), with the year 2015 showing an historical number of 69 million of international arrivals. In broader terms, the South European Mediterranean countries increased international tourist arrivals in more than 50 million people in years 2010-2015, while arrivals in traditional destinations in the North of Africa dropped from more than 7 million people since 2010, with Egypt losing more than 5 million tourists in these years and Tunisia doing it for more than 2.5 million entrances. After this introductory section, the following two chapters of the investigation have focused on how to limit the impact of the instability situation on the tourism and hospitality industry in the MED region. For the south shore region, Chapter 2 proposes a marketing mix model helping to reduce the impact of the crisis on the labour force and feeble management methods. The model is tested for the reference case of Egypt. For the north shore MED region, Chapter 3 reviews the main changes taken place in the profile and vacational behaviour of tourists visiting the region and, by means of an expenditure model, we test how these changes could be affecting the economic sustainability of the tourists sector for the future. This setting is tested for the case of Spain as benchmark destination in this area.

In more detail, the second chapter of the study focuses on designing a new marketing mix model to rescue the hospitality industry in the South region, providing evidence from Egypt after the Arab Spring. The chapter emphasizes the necessity of identifying the key constructs driving the paths of improvement, restructuring and development for the tourism and hospitality industry in times of transition. We divide the model into an internal environment, and an external environment context. Our aim is to provide managers with new analytic tools helping them to overcome the current challenges. In testing the model, empirical research focus on survey analysis made to a sample of 5 and 4 star hotels located in Great Cairo, Alexandria, Sharma El Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor and Aswan in Egypt. The analysis was carried out by combining different statistical techniques including reliability intrinsic validity tests and logistic regression models. Relying on theoretical models and empirical results, we find out the following: the significant effects of feeble management performance characterizing hotels lie behind most of the labor layoffs. Crises management processes should be considered in this context as an alternative option of layoffs during the transition process.

Moreover, there are significant relationships between the occupancy rate during the transition process and the internal success factors of hotels represented by job oriented and customer oriented constructs. Levels of occupancy rates during the transition process became the key in the internal success factors of hotels, with the proposed marketing model being able to show the linkages between contemporary marketing mix, traditional marketing mix collaborative work achievements, and the rightsizing of cost optimization actions. These results emphasize the role of good management and marketing techniques for dealing with restrictions in times of transition in the hospitality industry at South countries.

Finally, the third chapter of the project investigates the impact of the boost in international arrivals in North MED countries since the beginning of the Arab Spring. It is interesting to note that in Spain, as well as in other north MED countries, the growth of international inbound tourism contrasted with an evident decline in domestic tourist flows since the beginning of the global financial crisis. This boom in international tourism in times of weak domestic demand undoubtedly helped the tourism industry to face its necessary reconversion path.

In the present analysis, this chapter employs survey data of more than 200,000 international tourists who were interviewed by the Spanish Institute of Tourism Studies (IET). The first part of the chapter focused on understanding the main changes taking place in the profile of tourists arriving since the beginning of the Arab Spring movements, and on the characteristics of their vacational stays. Main findings on the issue showed an increase in the presence of new groups of visitors, including tourists from northern Europe, Americas, and Asia in Spain, as well as a growing presence of other interesting segments of tourists, like females, young visitors with tertiary education, or travelling alone and with friends. New types of tourist behaviour have also emerged along these years, including a growing use of rent apartments, booking-in-advance customer preference and generalization of the Internet in tourism planning. Culture is being consolidated as a pivotal asset in the development of the European and Mediterranean tourism, while other interesting activities gaining place at destinations are those of tourism events (sports, cultural) and those closely linked to the idiosyncrasy of the Mediterranean region (gastronomy, nightlife). In the second part of the research we ran tourist expenditure models for four main destinations in Spain (Balearic and Canary Islands, Madrid and Catalonia) in order to identify the factors leading tourism spendings in the country and by destination. The most relevant factors leading expenditure in Spain appear to be those of country of origin, purpose of the visit, type of accommodation chosen, and level of income of visitors.

Combining the results of both sections, we can improve our knowledge on how changes in profiles of tourists would be affecting the economic sustainability of destinations in the near future. In this way, some important results emerge from the investigation. The first one relates to the growing revenues linked to new groups of tourists significantly increasing their presence in Spain through these years. These include international visitors coming from non-traditional origin countries in north of Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, all showing much higher levels of expenditure in regards to traditional EU visitors. Other collectives showing higher presence in Spain and increasing average spending according to expenditure equations are those of mid-age visitors, those with mid income levels, first-time visitors, and tertiary educated ones. Young visitors at urban destinations (Madrid and Catalonia), people travelling alone and with friends, all have been increasing their presence in the country in these years and help to increase the level of expenditure in Spain too. Other trends identified in the sample would be also help to increase spending in the future, including people engaged in cultural and food-related activities that has been significantly growing along recent years. Growth of all these activities enlarges the cultural and social dimension of destinations, also increasing economic revenues, reinforcing in this way the destination competitiveness. In general, positive outcomes for economic sustainability and competitiveness appear to be identified in Spain along these years, some of this coming in connection with relocation effects derived from the Arab Spring.

However, notable challenges have been also raised by results of the investigation. One of the most important is that referring to the capacity of destinations to increase spending of traditional EU visitors, given that they continue to represent around half of the global international tourism demand in Spain. Given that North African destinations show higher price competitiveness, pressures for downsizing of tourism prices in Spain have resulted in lower average trip spendings at some destinations. Such an issue points to the need of attracting more high-income tourists from overseas, i.e. Chinese visitors, as they constitute a desired target, but have slightly reduced their presence in Spain during these years. These two key points show the necessity of continuing with the reconversion of the Spanish tourism model, mainly for seaside mature destinations.

Summing up from all chapters, main findings of the Research Project FEM 41-04 showed that the tourism industry in the MED region has been facing a challenging situation, given the instability promoted by recent events, including the Arab Spring and the war in Syria. The project provides instruments to improve feeble management of hospitality industry in South countries, and a number of guidelines directed to increase the average tourist expenditure at north MED destinations for improving their economic sustainability. However, none of this would make no sense without an urgent determination of the EU institutions for achieving peace and stability in the MED region, this being a central policy prescription from the project. The focus of Neighboring Policies on developing cooperation and peace instruments would result in benefits for all the people in the region, as instability is a process that spreads through borders, whether you belong to the North or the South of the MED region.

 

INDEX

“Winners and Losers in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry along the Transition Process: Evidence from South and North MED Countries

  1. Executive Summary Research Project FEM 41-04
  2. Résumé Exécutif Rapport de Recherche FEM 41-04
  3. Chapter 1: The impact of the Arab Spring and regional instability on the tourism sector along the MED region
  4. Chapter 2: A new marketing mix model to rescue the hospitality industry: Evidence from Egypt after the Arab Spring
  5. Chapter 3: International tourism in Spain since the Arab Spring movements: A review from the perspective of economic competitiveness and sustainability of destinations

Democratic Transitions in the Arab World

FEMISE is pleased to announce the publication of the book: “Democratic Transitions in the Arab World” edited by Ibrahim Elbadawi (Economic Research Forum) and Samir Makdisi (American University of Beirut) published by Cambridge University.

In the wake of the unprecedented uprisings that swept across North Africa and the Middle East in late 2010 and 2011, there was much speculation that these events heralded the beginning of a new age of democratic transition across the region. The result of a four-year research project, this book offers a cross-country analysis of the dynamics of democratic transition and of the state of democracy and authoritarianism from Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt to Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon. Elbadawi and Makdisi identify specific economic, political and social conditions influencing the transition across the region and in each of the individual countries, as well as the requisite conditions for consolidating democracy once the process is initiated. It examines the struggling, halted and painful transitions, where these have for the time being failed, as well as instances in which democratic consolidation can be observed. This is a unique and wide-ranging examination of Arab development and democracy for those examining the fate of authoritarian regimes.

The book launching will take place at SOAS, University of London on Feb. 27th 2017.

For more information and to order the book online you may click here.

The Challenges of Climate Change in the Mediterranean


Taking the environment into account in economic and political decisions, in particular considering the development of renewable energies, is a major challenge for the future of the world and of course for the Mediterranean.

Institut de la Méditerranée (IM) and FEMISE contributed by writing a chapter for the ENERGIES 2050 report on climate change in the Mediterranean which was presented at the COP22 in Marrakech on November 15th 2016.

The chapter in question is Chapter II « La région Sud-Med post-Printemps Arabes et les potentiels pour l’environnement » the main author being Dr. Constantin TSAKAS (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE) with contributions by Dr Maryse LOUIS (General Manager of FEMISE, Programs Manager ERF) and Dr. Abeer EL-SHINNAWY (FEMISE, American University in Cairo).

The report (in French) allows to carry out a more detailed analysis of key sustainable development issues in the Mediterranean basin and is available for download by clicking here.

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