Tag Archives: méditerranée

Med Change Makers e03 : Jocelyn VENTURA, Integration into the global value chains of Moroccan SMEs

 

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

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

 

 

Integration into the global value chains of Moroccan SMEs

Interview with Jocelyn Ventura, Aix-Marseille University (France), Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE

Jocelyn Ventura, Aix-Marseille Université (France), Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE

Economists from FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée recently presented the preliminary findings of a study produced for the African Development Bank entitled “Identifying Barriers to Improving the Business Environment and Integrating the global value chains for Moroccan exporting SMEs “.

Jocelyn Ventura (Aix-Marseille University (France), Economist at Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE) contributed to the report. In this interview, he offers avenues for reflection on opportunities as well as measures that the state could put in place to improve the insertion of SMEs into global value chains.

 

1) What are the dynamics of Moroccan exports? What are the main export sectors?

There is a notable dynamic. Since 2014, Morocco has implemented an Industrial Acceleration Plan (PAI), one of whose objectives is to promote exports from the industrial sector. One of the goals of this plan is to strengthen Morocco’s international positioning by improving its attractiveness. Since then, Morocco has diversified the destinations of its exports especially to the rest of the world. Although Europe remains the leading destination for Moroccan exports, its relative importance has declined.

In addition to the traditional exporting sectors, there are more technology-intensive sectors that have emerged recently and have experienced a high growth rate: machinery and electrical appliances, vehicles, etc.

Moroccan exports are upgrading to a higher range with the emergence of new export sectors that are more intensive in technology. However, the growth rate of Moroccan exports remains lower than the one found in countries with comparable income levels. A possible explanation being that the competitiveness of exports has been reduced by the rigid exchange rate regime (recently relaxed). In addition, macroeconomic imbalances and the general business environment have been barriers to export growth.

2) What is the situation of Morocco regarding the integration of global value chains? What is its position relative to comparable or neighbouring countries?

Generally speaking, the Mediterranean countries, and Morocco in particular, are fairly well integrated in the GVC. The GVC participation index shows that Morocco’s integration into the GVC is equivalent to that of Turkey and close to that of Israel, but remains lower than that of Tunisia (51.1% in 2011) or other comparative countries (Chile, Romania, Malaysia …).

We observe that the participation of Morocco in the GVC is mainly backward or, in other words, it is the share of foreign VA in Moroccan exports that contributes the most to integration into the GVC. Backward participation is particularly important in Morocco’s main export sectors, such as vehicles, electrical machinery and textiles, which shows that Moroccan exports are part of internationalized production processes.

3) What are the main barriers to SMEs’ ability to sell their product in foreign markets?

Among the obstacles to the launch of an export activity cited by Moroccan SMEs, we can note the difficulty to enter foreign markets and to adapt the products to the standards imposed there, the difficulty to obtain financing, transport costs and cumbersome customs procedures. Also playing a role are the cost of currency hedging, the weakness of R&D and the lack of national export support agencies.

Among the policies demanded to reduce these obstacles is the establishment of relays in the target markets, an increase in the means available to economic advisers of diplomatic missions abroad, and also the creation of a special bank supporting export activities…

4) What opportunities would be offered by a better integration in GVCs of SMEs?

Opportunities are numerous. Between 60% and 80% of trade flows take place within the GVC. For a company in a developing country, integrating these GVCs would be a great way to export its production. The integration of GVC can also improve the productivity and competitiveness of the company. For example, better integration into these GVCs could facilitate the upgrading of both product quality and production processes standards, help improve employee skills, give access to new technologies, etc.

The fragmentation of production processes allows firms in developing countries, especially SMEs, to use comparative advantages to produce and export part of their value chain in which they are more competitive.

This would be one of the best ways to accelerate the growth of Moroccan exports, as well as the shortest way for SMEs to benefit from both productivity and competitiveness improvement and better positioning in the international market.

5) What policy could be implemented to improve the integration of SMEs into GVCs?

First of all, we can notice that SMEs will be at a disadvantage in the face of large companies, which benefit from better productivity and a better capacity to acquire and absorb new technologies, and therefore to integrate GVC.

Among the obstacles to be overcome are the lack of an efficient logistic services, the lack of product competitiveness, the difficulties to satisfy the requirements of ordering customers and to put the products and production processes to the required quality standards etc.

The State could therefore improve the integration of SMEs by offering them a support to bring products and production processes into conformity, a support for employee training, a support for networking with foreign companies, and finally and most importantly, an increase in available bank credits.

Interviewed by Constantin Tsakas

[1] 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 no9 : “The determinants of export performance of firms in MENA countries”

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 ninth issue of MED BRIEF “The determinants of export performance of firms in selected MENA countries. Comparison to CEE countries, Israel and Turkey” is available by clicking here.

Pr. Alfred Tovias (Leonard Davis Institute of International Relations, The Hebrew University and FEMISE)

While focussing mainly on the export performance determinants of firms in selected MENA countries, this brief draws some useful policy recommendations after comparing the MENA firms performance with that of firms from countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Empirical results obtained for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and CEE countries indicate that productivity, firm size, spending on research and development (R&D), the share of university graduates in productive employment and the internationalization of firms all have a positive relation vis-a-vis the probability of exporting.

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.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Workshop on “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and Economic Attractiveness of local Territories”

The Mediterranean is one of our planets’ “hotspots” and the consequences of climate change will always be felt stronger than elsewhere. There are necessities for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and issues to be dealt with regarding water, desertification and adaptation needs of riparian countries. In addition to the necessary impetus at the state level, the measures that will respond to realities must also be declined at the level of territories to multiply means of action.

The workshop, organized by Institut de la Méditerranée and the Departmental Council of the Bouches du Rhône, in partnership with FEMISE and ENERGIES2050, addresses the actors for whom these issues have a resonance, the political actors of the territory as well as non-state actors (private operators, civil society organizations, universities …). While considering the recent and current economic situation, this workshop highlights the development opportunities to be seized. It illustrates the momentum created by local actors and makes a positive contribution to debates on climate issues in the Mediterranean in the light of current realities and challenges.

This workshop will also be an opportunity to present the ENERGIES2050 – Mediterranean Institute – FEMISE report on:

 “The challenges of climate change in the Mediterranean (2018)” (available here in french)

 

– The Concept Note of the Workshop is available here (in french).

– The program of the day is available here.

IM and FEMISE are participating with funding under the EU-FEMISE project “Support to Economic Research, Studies and Dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. The opinions expressed in this conference are the sole responsibility of the authors.

Med Change Makers e01 : JULIE HARB, Climate Change and the Lebanese Economy

FEMISE is happy to announce the launch of its new series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

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

 

 

Climate Change and the Lebanese Economy

Interview with JULIE HARB, Université St Joseph (Liban), Institut de la Méditerranée et FEMISE

Julie Harb (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Institut de la Méditerranée, FEMISE)

The latest edition of the ENERGIES2050 / Institut de la Méditerranée / FEMISE report “The challenges of climate change in the Mediterranean” (available in May) provides insight into the specific place of the Mediterranean basin in the new International Climate Agenda.

Julie Harb (Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Policy Researcher at Institut de la Méditerranée / FEMISE) is one of the young researchers who contributed to the report. Julie Harb stresses the need for more public efforts for environmental protection and the need for a change in attitudes towards climate change.

1) With the Paris Agreement, countries committed themselves through NDCs (nationally determined contributions). All countries in the southern Mediterranean, with the exception of Lebanon, have ratified the Paris Agreement. How can this be explained?

Unfortunately, in its political agenda, Lebanon does not give a high priority to the issue of climate change and to the protection of the environment although the country begins to feel the effects of climate change. Other issues, such as the parliamentary elections, are perceived as more important. For example, ratifying the Paris Agreement would impose on Lebanon the application of the provisions of the treaty, which would influence public policies and protection mechanisms. As the authorities do not see this as a priority, the agreement is perceived as a “burden” in terms of legislation but also in terms of spending. Similarly, at the executive level, there are some initiatives such as the creation of a National Environmental Council that includes 7 ministries and 7 non-public entities that are expected to prepare plans and policies, to support, to integrate and to monitor all the policies of the ministry and all conventions and treaties. A National Coordination Unit on Climate Change (UCCC) has been set up to coordinate a total of 40 representatives who deal directly or indirectly with climate change.

2) What forces and efforts are underway for the protection of the environment and to limit the impact of climate change in Lebanon? What sectoral examples to put forward?

It should be noted that the State has made some efforts in the past in the protection of the environment through certain legislations: this is the case for example with the law no. 444/2002 which presents the only major legislation dealing directly with climate change in Lebanon or the law 341/2001 on the reduction of air pollution by transport which indirectly mentions the protection of the environment.

On the sectoral level, a renewable energy project was set up to supply 20 MW of solar energy and should have been finalized in 2016. However, to date, this photovoltaic farm supplies only 1 MW. The Ministry of Energy and Water has issued several laws concerning this sector but unfortunately no implementation decree has been added to the text.

3) What are the main weaknesses to combat the effects of climate change in Lebanon?

Despite a large number of decisions, laws and initiatives, there are still problems with the slowness of the process that will address this issue. The presence of multitudes of organisms responsible for the protection of the environment could be the cause of this slowness. The lack of coordination increases the weight of bureaucracy and leads to fragmentation of the issue. Nevertheless, I personally find that the essence of the problem lies in the lack of willingness of officials and authorities to address this issue.

4) Do NGOs and civil society contribute to change attitudes?

In recent years, NGOs and civil society have played a very important role in raising the awareness of the Lebanese people on the issue of environmental protection while creating a culture of sustainable development, but also by changing mentalities, encouraging recycling from schools and educational institutions. However, despite the great work done by these organizations at the level of the society, the latter can not sufficiently influence public policies and political decisions. More advocacy work would be needed.

5) What do you think are the priority actions to address and how?

The resolution of the waste issue, which started in 2015 and has not been able to be resolved effectively to date, should be put in first place in the environmental protection agenda by the authorities. As a Lebanese citizen, I find that this resolution requires a precise long-term plan prepared upstream, which is not the case today. A second priority would be that of cleaning the sea: indeed, in the face of the waste crisis, the state has decided to create waste zones next to the sea, which means that during storms, this waste has been dispersed in the sea, affecting the marine ecosystem and the quality of life of the populations.

In addition, Lebanese NGOs that lack support should establish more partnerships with international organizations acting on climate change that could adapt their solutions locally and increase the resilience of the Lebanese economy.

 

Interviewed by Constantin Tsakas

 

 

FEMISE MED BRIEF no6 : The Importance of Reconciling South MED Countries positions on The Paris Agreement

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 sixth issue of MED BRIEF “The Importance of Reconciling South MED Countries positions on The Paris Agreement” is available by clicking here.

The Paris Agreement is a breakthrough in global efforts to address the threats of climate change. However, fulfilling the agreement requires countries to rapidly implement nationally determined contributions (NDCs), meet emissions reduction targets for 2020 and set future targets that are even more ambitious. This is far from a done deal for the South Mediterranean (MED) countries.

Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE)

Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE)

This MED Brief, by Dr. Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE) argues that MED governments and stakeholders need to think about the various constraints on the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement, identify partners and practices that could complement the process more broadly. This brief alludes to the need of cooperation and collaboration between South Med countries themselves. Governments will need to develop a long-term plan on climate change and provide concrete steps to actually apply it. They need to deal better with domestic economic groups that contribute to the limited level of environmental reforms. Meanwhile, solutions shall always be made while considering the economic and social reality of MED countries.

 

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

 

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

FEMISE at Plan Bleu Workshop on “Economic Instruments of Environmental Policies”

The Plan Bleu and the Mediterranean Action Plan Coordination Unit have been mandated by the Contracting Parties to prepare a new report on the State of the environment and development in the Mediterranean, to be presented to the Conference of Parties of the Barcelona Convention by end 2019.

Therefore, the Plan Bleu organized a workshop on “Major marine and coastal issues in the Mediterranean rregion : Data and trends” at the Campus du Développement (formerly CEFEB) of AFD in Marseille (France), December 12th and 13th 2017.

The objective was to form a group of about thirty thematic experts, from international, Mediterranean, and also national and local institutions, to contribute to the preparation of the report. Three experts from the FEMISE network were mobilized, helping to identify priority themes, missing information, and knowledge to be improved on economic instruments for adaptation to climate change. The objective is to provide usable content in the next report of the Plan Bleu on the State of the environment and development in the Mediterranean.

Overview of the three FEMISE presentations

Dr. Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, Secretary General of FEMISE)

Dr. Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, Secretary General of FEMISE): “South-Med strategies and instruments for climate change : what consistency of action for mitigation/adaptation and what further needs?” (presentation available here)

Climate change is a major theme for the Mediterranean countries, because of the strong interconnections between economy and the environment. These interdependencies bring out opportunities, in terms of job creation, resources, but also raise issues (seal level rise, water stress …). Southern Mediterranean countries are impacted on all fronts by climate change (marine ecosystem, biodiversity, vulnerable populations, agriculture, tourism …), and the socio-economic implications are a potential source of revolts and conflicts. Despite these challenges, many Mediterranean countries have experienced an increase in CO2 emissions per capita.

What economic instruments for environmental policies? The taxonomy of instruments identified by FEMISE researchers, as part of the work carried out for the next IM-FEMISE-ENERGIES2050 report on the impact of climate change in the Mediterranean (to be published in 2018), lists environmental goods (public procurement), regulations (quotas, standards, etc.), the creation of new markets (emission allowances, compensation for emissions exceeding allowed thresholds), the use of existing markets (taxes, subsidies), and other instruments such as energy labels and standards. On paper, all Mediterranean countries (except Libya) have a policy framework for renewable energies. These countries have adopted some of these tools in specific sectors (renewable energies, transport and tourism, and waste management).

Among the instruments for renewable energies, we first have public tenders in Morocco (for large-scale projects), Palestine, Jordan and Israel (for solar photovoltaic and wind farms). Then, targets have been defined (in terms of capacity or coverage) for heating and cooling from renewable energies. Feed-in tariffs for electricity produced from renewable energies have also been introduced, particularly in Algeria (for photovoltaic electricity). Finally, there are taxes, such as those on energy consumption, natural gas and energy-intensive products in Algeria.

Regarding the tools put in place for waste management, we mainly have instruments that use the existing market. In Tunisia, the FODEP subsidizes the environmental remediation or waste collection and recycling facilities, and a tax on the VA for producers of pollutants has been introduced. Morocco has introduced a fee for liquid dumping and waste disposal (based on the “polluter pays” principle), and an eco-tax on plastic products and packaging.

For the tourism and transport sectors, the following instruments have been identified: a tax on the registration of used vehicles in Tunisia, a subsidy for the “Moussanada Siyada” ecological labeling procedures, and a “RENOVOTEL 3” fund dedicated to the environmental upgrading of tourist establishments in Morocco.

Revenues from environmental taxes vary between Mediterranean countries. In Tunisia they represented only 1.16% of GDP in 2014, which remains insufficient in comparison with Slovenia (3.9% of GDP, for a GDP similar to Tunisia) or Morocco (1.72% of GDP). Among the MENA countries, Turkey is the country where tax revenue accounted for the largest share of GDP (3.83%), although this country is not comparable in terms of demography or tourism (the size of the country matters in tax revenues).

Efforts are ongoing at the institutional level, particularly in Morocco (recognition of sustainable development as a right for every citizen) and in Tunisia (climate change recognized in the Constitution of 2014), but also to a lesser extend in Algeria. But much remains to be done: the share of renewable energy remains insufficient in the energy mix, and only a marginal share of funding is dedicated to renewable energy, while most of the funds are still allocated to traditional energies.

Regarding future challenges and opportunities, the context (post-Arab Spring, social pressures) is to be taken into account. The key issue is the lack of resources to implement measures favoring “green” energies, while energy intensive activities remain a great source of jobs. In the long term, the challenge will be to redirect savings and employment towards projects emitting less CO2.

Preliminary recommendations include continuing adaptation to climate change, while integrating socio-economic realities. The dynamics of social and financial innovations should be used to build solutions to initiate partnerships aimed at a less carbon intensive Mediterranean based on principles of solidarity and economic convergence. Mediterranean countries should thus cooperate and exchange good practices. Finally, regarding the problem of available data (insufficient or obsolete), it is necessary to draw up a cartography of the available tools and to proceed with their evaluation, and to create an observatory on climate data to allow better monitoring of the evolution of countries.

Dr. Myriam Ben Saad (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, FEMISE)

Dr. Myriam Ben Saad (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, FEMISE): « Supporting renewable energy development using economic instrument in the Mediterranean » (presentation available here)

The MENA region holds the largest solar and wind potential in the world, which represents an opportunity in terms of market, infrastructure and energy transfer. The stakes are securing energy sources on the one hand (the region is facing water resources scarcity), and energy and economic diversification on the other hand (source of jobs, value chain potential).

After an overview of the existing literature, three variables of interest appear regularly: renewable energies, investment in these energies, and the effect of renewable energies on the environment.

Studies show that renewable energy policies and instruments help to promote and diversify these energies, as well as encourage investment (although efficiency varies depending on the type of policy implemented and the income level of countries). Such policies implemented in China have promoted the emergence of a more efficient renewable energy market, with better access to financial resources and new technologies, and taxes have promoted solar energy in Andalusian cities.

The literature is richer on the effect of renewable energies on the environment. An estimate on 24 Mediterranean countries shows that renewable energies have a strong positive effect on growth, but renewable energy policies remain insufficient in these countries. Studies identify a two-way relationship between renewable energy consumption and trade on the one hand and economic growth on the other hand. Other papers show the positive impact of renewable energies on reducing CO2 emissions and on creating jobs in the short term.

Electricity production from renewable energies doubled between 2008 and 2015, but its share in total electricity production declined due to higher power generation from fossil fuel than from renewable energies.

Source of R.E. in electricity, 2015, %

Large disparities remain among the countries. Saudi Arabia did not seem to generate electricity from renewable energies in 2015, while the share of electricity produced from these energies was over 30% of the total in Turkey and 15% of the total in Morocco .

The Mediterranean countries have diversification strategies more or less advanced: Lebanon and Syria rely almost exclusively on hydropower, while Algeria and Turkey also integrate other sources such as solar, wind, geothermal… In Morocco, renewable energy sources are balanced between wind and hydro (50-50) but a potential bias in the data is suspected (solar projects do not seem to be taken into account).

Several regional cooperation initiatives and PPPs have been conducted for renewable energy projects.

The EBRD recently financed the Benban Solar Power Plant in Egypt (2017). This project aims to reduce CO2 emissions and create jobs in a region where 50% of the population is below the poverty treshold. Also, Engie has invested in the construction of a wind farm in the Gulf of Suez (2017). In addition, the Morocco-Spain partnership has enabled the construction of a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Tangier, representing a potential of nearly 600 jobs.

Among the regional initiatives, the Mediterranean Solar Plan has provided a favorable political framework for the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies at regional level. The Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency aims to promote and strengthnen the adoption of clean energy practices in the region. The MENA Renewable Energy Conference is a framework dedicated to promoting and strengthening partnerships in the development and creation of solar and wind energy markets.

The policy framework is composed of regulatory policies (purchase tariff, compulsory quotas, net billing…), financial incentives and public financing (subsidies, tax credits, taxes…)

For example, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have introduced a feed-in tariff for renewable electricity, subsidies for investment in renewable energy, as well as systems for facilitating access to credit (bonus of interest rate, guarantee fund, credit lines). Morocco and Tunisia have also introduced tax incentives (reduced tariffs or VA taxe exemption for equipment)

The identified constraints to renewable energies are the market characteristics (small size, low yelds, risk temporality, currency risk, fossil fuel subsidies, lack of strategies on energy development, etc.) and meteorological and technological risks (variability in resource availability, lack of actuarial data).

A significant increase in investment in renewable energy infrastructure, and the review of the subsidy system (in particular the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, a major constraint for the efficiency of renewable energies) are recommended.

Pr. Mohamed Salah Matoussi (Faculté de Sciences Economiques et de Gestion de Tunis, FEMISE)

Pr. Mohamed Salah Matoussi (Faculté de Sciences Economiques et de Gestion de Tunis, FEMISE) : « Present and potential water pricing and markets in Tunisia and in the SASS: impacts on regional allocation, food exports and technical efficiency » (presentation available here) 

A distinction is needed between the use of water in the agriculture sector (as a factor of production to be ruled by the law of scarcity) and drinking water consumed by households (as a vital good not subject to the law of the market). Decentralized water management is more relevant.

Tunisia is under severe water stress due to the scarcity and degradation of water resources (climate change, excessive exploitation of groundwater …). The available water resources have thus greatly decreased (from more than 1000 m3/year/inhab in 1960 to 410 m3/year/inhab in 2017)
The water management strategy, focused primarily on supply management (where marginal costs are rapidly increasing), consists in maximizing resource mobilization for the country development being the least constrained, with the following defined priorities : dams and mountain lakes construction and rehabilitation, recycling of wastewater…

SASS project: Presentation of the region

The Northern Sahara Aquifer System Project (SASS) is one of the largest groundwater in the world and covers Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In 2017, it represents an irrigated area of ​​about 300 000 ha and a water mobilization between 3 and 4 billion m3. The current use of the aquifer is greater than its renewal capacity, and this over-exploitation has a negative impact on the Oasis. Sustainable water management is therefore essential. But the initial philosophy of the 3 countries concerned was to mobilize as much water as possible to produce the maximum quantity of agricultural products. There are three types of farming: farms with free access to water, public farms benefiting from subsidized water, and private farms not benefiting from subsidies. The latter are more productive than free or subsidized farms, and make the best use of the resource: private farmers have a water price-elasticity and productivity-elasticity higher than the two other types of farms.

Since this policy is unsustainable, it should be replaced by an integrated and transversal management approach for available resources (water, energy, agriculture, environment) based on the following nexus: energy pricing – water pricing – growth agricultural production and better conservation of the resource.

A new hydro-economic model must be used for water resource management. It must lead to an optimal use of water and a maximization of agricultural production, while integrating the constraint of environmental degradation cost (pumping cost and water salinity). When this cost is internalized, the optimal quantities of water consumed and irrigated area are lower than those obtained in the model where the degradation is not taken into account, but the agricultural incomes are higher (13% increase compared to initial model). In other words, we produce more when preserving the resource.

Presenting recent research (see powerpoint for more details)

An article models the problem of water resources allocation in the agricultural sector, in a world of scarcity of resources and incomplete information. Such a model must ensure economic efficiency while taking into account unavoidable constraints: utility for users at least equivalent to the one they had in the past, increasingly limited availability of the resource, and incomplete information on its use value. It is thus necessary to reveal how farmers value the water and to integrate the cost of scarcity in the pricing of the resource.

A second article assesses the impact of an increase in the price of water on the production and export of irrigated crops (dates and citrus fruit): for a 100% increase in price, date crops are more negatively impacted than citrus crops (decrease in exports by 17.5% and 4.4% respectively). Establishing appropriate water pricing for citrus farmers would conserve the resource without significantly impacting the producers. On the other hand, an increase in tariffs in areas where the date is cultivated would cause a very significant slowdown in production and exports.

A last article measures the effectiveness of date crops held by private farmers on the one hand, and by water user associations on the other. The results show that the two systems are inefficient, but private farms are slightly more efficient than the associative farms. The results also show that the salinity of water has a strongly negative impact on the productivity of date crops.

by Jocelyn Ventura (FEMISE)

(Registration Open) FEMISE annual conference, Valletta, Malta, February 7th-9th 2018

FEMISE is happy to announce that its annual conference will take place this year in Valletta, Malta, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of February 2018.

Please click here to register.

The FEMISE annual conference provides a platform for the different actors of the EU-Med region of research institutes’ members, academics, policymakers and representatives of the international community including the EU, to engage in a constructive dialogue about the future of the region and the role the EU can play in the context of the new ENP. 

This year’s theme will be on:

«Neighbours of Neighbours: Relation and Cooperation of the EU-Med towards Africa»

The concept note is available by clicking here.

The agenda is available here.

 

8th Mont Blanc Meetings: IM and FEMISE at the International Summit of Social Economy

How can the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to supporting growth and employment in Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPs)? This is the question to which the presentation of Dr. Constantin Tsakas (General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE) offered elements of response at the 8th Mont Blanc Meetings (RMB) (6-8 December 2017, Archamps, Greater Geneva), the International Summit of the Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS) organized by ESS International Forum (Permanent Co-Secretary of the International SSE Pilot Group, Observer Member ate the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE).

Dr. Constantin Tsakas (Institut de la Méditerranée, FEMISE) (photo:RMB)

Dr. Tsakas presented the preliminary results of a chapter of the forthcoming FEMISE EuroMed 2018 report produced by Institut de la Méditerranée (IM) during a session on “Effective responses to sustainable impacts: social cohesion, solidarity and inclusion”.
Dr. Tsakas emphasized that SSE could become a tool for economic, financial and social innovation adapted to MPs. The latter are facing today many problems related to unemployment, lack of inclusiveness, the informal economy, limited growth… The SSE sets a frame of reference for rebuilding social ties around the economy, to better value resources and assets of territories and anchor development, to provide training and mobilize available skills in an entrepreneurial dynamic. The SSE allows for :

  • The mobilization of numerous young people, which are looking for a job and are progressively oriented towards entrepreneurship.
  • The establishment of a more inclusive economy because the SSE knows how to create jobs for vulnerable people that neither the State nor traditional companies can integrate.
  • Economic diversification and upgrading.

As civil society has understood, since the Arab Spring there has been an effervescence and increased emergence of SSE structures. Real success stories help meet the needs of the people …

In Morocco, which counts 15700 cooperatives (including 2287 women’s cooperatives) and 120 000 associations (with more than 15 million members), the value chains of SSE entreprises are made up of private sector companies: production cooperatives in the agricultural sector, crafts and / or fishing market their production in the private sector (local, regional, small and large retail markets).

In Egypt, initiatives are led by the private sector and have emerged to address the growing inability of governments and traditionnal private sector activities to meet the diverse needs of poor households for certain services and products.

In Tunisia, the country has nearly 20000 associations with more than 12 million members, half of whom have been created in the past five years under the impulse of the post-revolution civil society. The agriculture and fisheries sector is one of the sectors with the most SSE entreprises.

Panelists at session on “Effective responses to sustainable impacts: social cohesion, solidarity and inclusion” (photo :IM).

However, in general, the state does not sufficiently support the SSE in the South Mediterranean and does not create the necessary conditions for its sustainability. Dr. Tsakas emphasized that at the heart of the SSE dynamic lies the issue of project funding and resource mobilization. Preliminary results indicate that the financing of SSE enterprises must be a priority of concern for local, national and also EuroMed authorities. A “SSE finance” allowing access to liquidity and credit in relation to shared coordinated objectives is necessary. It would be appropriate for each MP to support, most notably through the establishment of an enabling regulatory framework, the emergence of “social”, “participatory” or “ethical” banks to channel funds to useful, sustainable and inclusive projects. It would also be wise to encourage SSE financing by microfinance institutions that have a developed territorial network. It would also be possible to innovate by proposing types of Social Impact Bonds (SIB), very popular in the Anglo-Saxon world, which make it possible to finance social programs (fair trade, social tourism, access to culture etc.) by private investors. The 2018 EuroMed report will suggest tools that can be supported by all local, national and international actors and which allow addressing the identified funding obstacles.

In conclusion, Dr. Tsakas emphasized the need to develop a strategy for the emergence of SSE ecosystems and social entrepreneurship on 3 axes (Macro-Meso-Micro). Dr. Tsakas provided an overview of FEMISE’s vision for the emergence of such ecosystems:

  • Support to the development of a policy and regulatory environment conducive to the growth of social enterprises through national strategies and advocacy panels.
  • Raising awareness and building the capacity of meso actors in the ecosystem to support the growth of social enterprises. MED mapping of these support actors, the generalization of training activities and the exchange of good practices would contribute to this process.
  • Finally, there is a need to better demonstrate and promote the economic potential of social enterprises in creating value and jobs in MPs. A true methodology that quantifies the social impact is needed here. The same is true for financial support for social entrepreneurship, for entrepreneurs training and for mentoring initiatives.

These and other issues will be developed in detail in the next FEMISE 2018 Report, which will focus on private sector development in the Mediterranean (Q1 2018).

The powerpoint presentation of Dr. Tsakas to the RMB is available by clicking here.

Prior to the publication of the FEMISE2018 EuroMed report coordinated by Pr. Patricia AUGIER (Pt of the Scientific Committee of IM and FEMISE, Coordinator of FEMISE), we also suggest some excerpts from interviews with three key actors of social entrepreneurship in the EU -MED.

You can also  revisit the FEMISE-EIB pilot study (2014) coordinated by IM on the potential of SSE inclusivity in Southern Mediterranean countries.

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