Tag Archives: méditerranée

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

 

Forthcoming: FEMISE annual conference, Valletta, Malta, February 8th-9th 2018

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

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, the agenda and the opening of registrations will be made available in the following weeks.

 

Do emigrants self-select along cultural traits?: Evidence from the MENA countries

Migrants’ selection by cultural traits, beliefs and practices has been largely understudied in the existing literature. In an attempt to fill this gap, this paper investigates whether migration aspirations, concrete plans to emigrate, and preferred destination choices are influenced by cultural traits in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). We use the Gallup World Poll (GWP) surveys, which document migration aspirations, cultural traits and many other characteristics of individuals. We limit our sample to 17 MENA countries where Gallup conducted at least one wave of its survey between the years 2007 and 2016.

To begin with, we show that migration aspirations are correlated with actual migration flows obtained from the OECD International Migration Database. This suggests that the patterns of migration aspirations are likely to be similar to the patterns of actual migration. The average share of aspiring migrants in our sample is around 24%. Syria exhibits the largest share with over 35%; Jordan and Algeria come next at about 30%; Niger, Azerbaijan and Chad exhibit the smallest shares at about 20%. Through cultural proximity and network effects, former colonial ties are still affecting the preferred destinations of aspiring migrants. On average, 52.3% of the aspiring migrants from the MENA would like to move to an OECD destination country. This share amounts to 90% in Morocco and Algeria, while it is around 10% in Yemen and Niger.

We conduct a two-stage Principal Component Analysis on a set of 12 opinion questions to identify four synthetic indicators of cultural traits. We find that Lebanon and Azerbaijan are the most progressive in terms of gender-egalitarian attitudes. Iran and Azerbaijan are the less religious countries; on the contrary, sub-Saharan African countries (i.e., Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger) exhibit the highest levels of religiosity. Iran, Afghanistan and Syria exhibit the highest levels of generosity. Four countries that experienced turmoil and riots during the Arab Spring (i.e., Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen) hardly justify the use of violence. We refer to these countries and Syria as the Main Insurgents. In these countries, a large share of the population finds it unjustifiable to use any kind of violence against civilians.

In our empirical analysis, we only consider two cultural traits that are highly correlated with economic development indicators, namely gender-egalitarian attitudes and religiosity. We conduct a set of fixed-effect logit regressions for several subsamples to identify the effect of cultural traits on migration aspirations. The full sample estimates show that aspirations to all destinations are negatively affected by the level of religiosity but are not influenced by gender-egalitarian views. When we distinguish between emigration aspirations to OECD and non-OECD member states, the results reveal that cultural traits are not significant for migration aspirations to non-OECD countries. In contrast, aspirations to migrate to an OECD destination decrease with religiosity, and increase with gender-egalitarian views. In other words, aspiring migrants to OECD destinations exhibit lower levels of religiosity than those who do not intend to migrate. Next, we check whether similar selection patterns apply to individuals who have concrete migration plans for the next 12 months. We find that the effect of religiosity is highly significant and even larger than for migration aspirations; the effect of gender-egalitarian views is insignificant.

We then conduct a large set of robustness checks. First, we split the set of OECD destinations into three subsets that are frequently reported as preferred destinations in the data, namely the European Union, North America and Turkey. The results confirm that the effect of gender-egalitarian views remains insignificant or marginally significant for all sets of destinations, while the effect of religiosity is highly significant when considering OECD, high-income destinations, but not when considering Turkey. Second, we split the sample along education levels, and show that our results are valid for all skill groups. Third, we distinguish between three age categories, gender groups and marital status. Selection by religiosity is significant for all age groups and is greater for men, while positive selection on gender-egalitarian views becomes significant for single women and for all individuals aged 15 to 30. This is the age group in which aspiring migrants are the most likely to realize their migration aspirations. Fourth, we checked whether the intensity of cultural selection varies with aggregate country characteristics such as the shares of Sunnis and Shiites among the Muslim population, the log-GDP per capita, two indicators of institutional quality, and the size of the migrant network in the OECD countries. Our regressions reveal that aspiring migrants from countries with a Sunni minority have more progressive gender-egalitarian views, which also become significant when controlling for migration networks. Seventh, we explored whether the link between cultural traits and migration has been affected by the Arab Spring. We consider the full sample of MENA countries, the Main Insurgents and the other countries. In all specifications, selection by religiosity is always positive and significant. Although the Arab Spring has not affected the intensity of cultural selection in the less affected countries, it has drastically reduced it in the Main Insurgent countries.

Methodologically speaking, we also explore whether our results are driven by differences in the composition of the samples of aspiring migrants and non-migrants. We use the Mahalanobis Metric Matching technique to construct samples of aspiring migrants and non-migrants that are balanced in terms of observable covariates. All conclusions of the benchmark regressions hold when using the matched samples.

We thus conclude that migrants from MENA to OECD exhibit lower levels of religiosity. Moreover, young male or female migrants share significantly more gender-egalitarian views than the rest of the population. Overall, the Arab Spring has increased the relative religiosity of aspiring migrants in the most affected countries. Consequently, emigration to OECD countries has direct implications on the distribution of cultural traits in the population left behind and on the cultural distance at destination. Nevertheless, the effects of cultural selection should not be overestimated. First, emigration hardly affects the distribution of cultural traits in the MENA countries. Emigration towards OECD countries could even reverse the selection effect if migrants abroad transfer more progressive norms and beliefs to their home country. Second, it has a limited (albeit non negligible) effect on the cultural distance between natives and immigrants in the OECD countries.

Twin Deficits and the Sustainability of Macroeconomic Policies in Selected European and Mediterranean Partner Countries

Our empirical results validate the Twin Deficit hypothesis in both EU and MED samples, but with diverging findings regarding the direction of causality. While the trade balance seems to be driving the budget deficit in MED countries –thereby validating the current account targeting approach – the relationship appears to run in the opposite direction in the case of EU countries, where the budget balance appears to be driving the current account. Given the well-documented dependence of MED countries on trade with the EU and the fact that most EU countries have implemented austerity policies in the aftermath of the financial crisis – thereby restricting aggregate demand and imports – we argue that the ensuing drop in export income for MED countries has contributed to increasing the budget deficit in these countries, by virtue of the uncovered positive causality between the current account and the budget balance. One natural MED policy makers’ response would be to implement austerity measures; however, such measures which may be necessary, are socially costly in the current social context in MED countries, and would not alone permit to stabilize the budget balance given that they would leave the trade balance unaffected. Our findings thus represent a warning against such ‘ready-made’ macroeconomic policy responses and indicate that austerity policy in EU countries have unexpected consequences for fiscal stability in MED countries. We thus call for better macroeconomic policy coordination between the EU and its Southern peripheral MED countries.

A major policy issue to be faced in the coming years is whether macroeconomic policies have reached a dead end and are in a bind. With respect to the introduction of macroeconomic stabilization programs in the EU and MED countries, there is obviously no room to use both monetary and fiscal policies in tandem to curb those macroeconomic imbalances. For the MED countries of Lebanon and Jordan with very limited fiscal space and fixed exchange rates and open capital accounts, monetary policy is already ineffective in terms of macroeconomic stabilization. Egypt rendered its monetary policy more effective in dealing with external shocks after the recent smart move to a flexible exchange rate regime. Tunisia and Morocco seem to be also moving in that same direction. While fiscal space in the EU is also limited due to the past accumulation of huge public debts, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Quantitative Easing (QE) policy remains an effective tool in preventing the EU’s unsustainable fiscal policies form developing into further debt crises similar to the Greek debt crisis.

With the current debt crisis unfolding in some EU countries, low GDP growth rates and oil prices and high debt levels in several MED countries, fiscal policy is clearly not a macroeconomic policy option anymore due to limited fiscal space. With one monetary policy conducted by the ECB and the absence of a political union, EU countries have registered over the past decade significant current account and budget deficits. Monetary Policy will remain ineffective as long as expectations of the private sector are not adjusted positively, and banks remain in poor shape, mainly Italian and Greek banks. The Greek Debt crisis is negatively affecting the behavior and expectations of businesses and consumers, and austerity measures are negatively affecting aggregate demand and the growth rate of GDP. In particular, stagnant wages and high unemployment rates are adversely affecting domestic demand, especially in the absence of fiscal space in most MED and EU countries due to the accumulation of large public debts and recurrent budget and current account deficits.

In the MED region, the ineffectiveness of monetary policy is due to the presence of fixed exchange rates and free capital movements. This boils down to no role for government policies (fiscal and monetary) to deal with the current macroeconomic imbalances paving the way for future fiscal and currency crises. Thus, the various EU and MED governments will need to: (1) reduce the public sector in favor of the private sector; (2) channel liquidity to the private sector through loans and encourage investments in productive ventures; and (3) reduce government spending and increase only supply side taxes. Finally, given the ineffectiveness of both monetary and fiscal policies, the private sector needs to take a leading role in addressing macroeconomic imbalances by first improving its expectations in both the EU and MED. This would increase the growth rate of GDP and would render debt more sustainable. Once the above is achieved, introduce austerity and structural adjustment measures. This will insure sustainable economic growth and will reduce the likelihood of a future debt and currency crisis.

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.

 

How does Migration Boost Trade?

The most recent report by FEMISE members, published in April 2017, highlights the interaction between migration and the density of trade relations in the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean region. France and Egypt are the subject of a specific study attesting to the close imbrication between these two phenomena.

Selon l’étude, les réseaux d'immigrants ont pour effet d’augmenter de 10 % à 20 % les échanges commerciaux entre la France et l’Egypte (photo : F.Dubessy)

According to the study, immigrant networks have the effect of increasing trade between France and Egypt by between 10% and 20% (photo : F.Dubessy)

This is indisputable. The econometric analysis of Femise’s experts twists and turns to the conventional wisdom about the impact of migrants on the economy of host countries.
The most recent FEM41-13 report  entitled “The role of vicinity linkages in the EU-Med region for trade growth : Focus on Migration, level of education, and social integration” demonstrates the positive role of the influx of migrants on the increase in the volume of trade between the country of departure and that of destination. According to the study, networks of immigrants present a clear capacity for giving rise to new trade exchanges with estimates of effects at 10%-20% of total trade exchanges for two countries under study.

Marseille, cosmopolitan city par excellence, maintains close and historical relations with Tunis and Algiers. In Sète, the importance of the Moroccan community justifies the exploitation of maritime links with the Kingdom. Migrants duplicate their consumption habits in the host country. These overlaps stimulate economies. This is why Femise advocates an emphasis and a modulation of the commercial policy of the States with regard to their migration strategy.

The report analyzes the case of France and Egypt. Hexagon, which had 7.6 million immigrants in 2013, has always had close historical ties with neighboring Maghreb countries. Of the 220 000 annual migrants recorded in France (between 2000 and 2013), 51% come from Africa. “Exports and imports to and from countries in the MENA3 zone (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) account for 8% of France’s total trade,” the document said.

Caution Towards Selective Migration Policies

73% des émigrés égyptiens choisissent de s’installer dans un pays arabe et 13% en Europe de l’Ouest (©ververidis/123RF )

In the case of Egypt, which has 4 million immigrants around the world, the Femise study demonstrates the beneficial effect on the trade of host countries. 73% of Egyptian emigrants choose to settle in an Arab country and 13% in Western Europe. “By choosing to settle in a western country, they seek to evolve professionally while avoiding corruption, social prejudices in Egypt,” the report states.

The co-authors Andrés Artal-Tur  and Vicente Pallardó-López, professors at the University of Valencia, and John Salevurakis and Mona Said professors at the American University of Cairo (AUC) highlight a number of variables influencing Bilateral trade relations between countries of departure and destination.

Thus, the profile of the migrant has an impact on the nature and intensity of trade. Their level of education, their professional activity, their level of language proficiency and their adaptability to the host country play a decisive role.

If the link between migration and trade is established, it seems legitimate to question the long-term impact of the rise in protectionism and the selective migration policies deployed by OECD member countries in recent months.

The full report is available to download by clicking on the link

Article produced in partnership with Econostrum

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Pierre Vimont “Each European State must participate in the effort to welcome refugees in an equitable manner”

Consultant at Carnegie Europe and French Ambassador to the European Union, Pierre Vimont was the organizer of the Valletta Summit on Migration in November 2015. This specialist in European Neighborhood Policy, Transatlantic Relations and french Foreign Policy participated in the Femise annual conference on the 29th and 30th of April 2017 in Casablanca. About a hundred Mediterranean experts delivered their analyzes on the theme of “Migration and Refugees Crisis in the EU-Med: Dawn of an era of shared responsibility? “.

Pierre Vimont est un expert de la politique européenne de voisinage, des relations transatlantiques et de la politique étrangère. ©N.B.C

Pierre Vimont is an expert in European Neighborhood Policy, Transatlantic Relations and french Foreign Policy ©NBC

Since 2010 Arab states are undergoing an unprecedented crisis. What is the state of play?

These crises gave rise to hope in both Arab and European countries. But after a while, some countries faced economic difficulties. Hope gave its place to disenchantement in Syria, Libya and Yemen. There is a real difficulty in defining the needed actions to help these countries achieve political stability, security and economic prosperity.

Immigration of refugees has fragmented the European territory. Is this issue not a danger to Europe?

The management of the refugees crisis creates a profound division within Member States. However, we must never lose hope with Europe. Solidarity, loyal cooperation among all partners, is key to the problem. Italy and Greece, given their geographical position, are making much more efforts to welcome immigrants and grant them the right to asylum. In 2016, 770,000 people benefited from the right to asylum. There are too many disparities between states. Everyone must participate in the effort to welcome refugees in an equitable manner. Nearly 450,000 reside in Germany, while France only counts 35,000.

How is France positioned?

Pierre Vimont lors de la conférence annuelle du Femise, les 29 et 30 avril 2017 à Casablanca. ©NBC

Pierre Vimont at the Femise annual conference, April 29-30 in Casablanca. ©NBC

The French effort in the field of asylum right remains much lower than in Germany. This country replenishes a demographic deficit that generates unfilled jobs. France is trying to improve its asylum system, making it more efficient for decisions to be made more rapidly. The deadlines for granting asylum are currently around one year but should be reduced by half. The french public opinion remains very reserved with regard to refugees and economic emigrants. The French authorities are quite cautious on this issue. Many believe that immigrants generate unfair competition. However, they occupy jobs that the French refuse to perform such as the collection of household garbage in large cities or the employment of seasonal workers in the agricultural field.

How can we avoid any risk of amalgation between terrorist attacks and the rise of Islamism?

Political leaders, intellectuals and elites must be pedagogical. They must explain the migratory phenomena to avoid any risk of amalgamation. To do this, one must have the courage to speak and explain the reality of what is happening on the ground. Political refugees are not illegal immigrants attracted by unscrupulous employers. They are persecuted citizens in their countries, with no alternative but to flee.


The reports of the Plenary Sessions of the FEMISE 2017 Annual conference are available by clicking here.

Interview undertaken by in partnership with Econostrum at teh FEMISE Annual Conference of 2017- Photo by Nathalie Bureau du Colombier.

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Education and Intergenerational mobility of women in Arab countries

What is the relationship between gender inequalities in education and the intergenerational mobility of women in countries of the southern Mediterranean shore? In a FEMISE report entitled “Inequality, Intergenerational Mobility of Women Educational Attainment and Inclusive Policies in Arab Countries”, FEMISE experts stress the link between inequality and social immobility.

Etudiants marocains. Photo Marie Pierre Vega.

Photo Caroline Garcia.

Gender inequalities in education and schooling are decreasing in countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean, even though the improvement in the level of schooling is more important for men than for women, as found by FEMISE researchers of Al Akhawayn University in Morocco and the Bucharest Academy of economic studies in their report (FEM41-01) « Inequality, Intergenerational Mobility of Women Educational Attainment and Inclusive Policies in Arab Countries ».

Intergenerational mobility allows a person to change his/her social position in relation to that of his parents. Thus, the report compares inequality and intergenerational mobility of women in Arab countries compared to that of Central and Eastern European countries. In all countries, researchers find a link between the level of inequality and intergenerational immobility. This concept is called “the Gatsby curve”. Specifically, the higher the inequalities, the more the social situation remains “frozen” from one generation to the next. Few Arab countries see their children reach a higher level of education compared to that of their parents.

Despite a reduction in inequalities and a growing feminization in the field of education, researchers do not see any real progress on the labor market of Arab countries because of rigidities that penalize all women, whether they are employees or business creators.

What recommendations to encourage intergenerational mobility?

“Unemployment can become a real barrier to change,” stated Ahmed Driouchi, one of the authors of the report. This economics professor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, confirms that women are more affected than men. Arab countries will have to create significantly more jobs than at present to simply succeed in stabilizing the unemployment curve.

The report calls on Arab countries to promote intergenerational mobility, particularly among women. To achieve this, Professor Ahmed Driouchi points out many tools such as “schooling, the fight against educational wastage, transportation, housing, school canteens, student grants.” He stresses that other instruments such as evaluation in relation to international standards (TIMSS, PISA ..), as well as student exchanges or joint activities with EU countries can allow new generations to access higher levels of education than their parents.

The report is available (in english) and can be accessed at the following link.
Article produced in partnership with Econostrum.

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Gérard Tur

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.

 

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