Tag Archives: méditerranée

FEMISE celebrates the World Day of Social Justice

For FEMISE, pursuit of social justice is at the core of its mission for inclusive development in the Mediterranean and Africa. The recent publication of the FEMISE EuroMed report on the opportunities of Social Entrepreneurship for sustainable development in the region is just one recent example of this commitment.

In the video below created for this day, FEMISE mobilized researchers, young people and partners of the network to discover their views and actions for Social Justice.

Yasmine Fahim (ERF Programs Manager) stresses how the Economic Research Forum (ERF), a leading think-tank in the MENA region and co-coordinator of FEMISE, has always paid special attention to the issues of Equity and Inequality in the MENA region. First by creating the data infrastructure that would enable researchers to conduct the research. Then, by carrying out multiple research projects on issues such as inequality of opportunities, access to health, education and the labour market and many more. Finally, ERF is producing capacity building initiatives and has invested a lot in enhancing the research capacity in this area, most notably by organizing training workshops where researchers from around the region are taught the most up-to-date research methodologies.

For Tallie Hausser (SciencesPo., Columbia University), her experience as a researcher in Lebanon and Tunisia has been eye-opening in that she has interacted with social justice activists found in unexpected places. The co-author of a recent FEMISE Policy Brief on the potential of Social Entrepreneurship highlights how in Lebanon, actors are creating job opportunities for Palestinian and Syrian women despite legal barriers, or working to solve local waste management crises through impact investing. In Tunisia, social justice activists use innovative financial models to engage the youth in skills development.

Constantin Tsakas, Yasmine Fahim, Tallie Hausser, Gwenda Haïkal, Ameerah Anathalee, Julie Harb

Others such as Ameerah Anathalee (University of Oxford) chose to explore the barriers women leaders face in developing countries. Drawing from data collected during interviews with women leaders in Uganda, she argues that some specific measures issued from western studies can have adverse effects on women’s leadership in developing countries. Furthermore, bottom-up solutions, which are tailored to the country’s socio-economic context, are essential. She adds that far more cross-disciplinary research is needed to inform how we seek to ensure women have a voice in all sectors, particularly in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector, where women play a pivotal role.

Meanwhile, Julie Harb (Université de Montréal) stresses the importance of promoting the rights of migrants in the region. Focusing on the case of Lebanon, she argues that their labour rights are not optimal, with a sponsorship system (kafala in Arabic) in which the legal status of a migrant depends on a sponsor (kafeel) for the entirety of their stay, making them vulnerable. The rights of youth also need to be better protected. With the current economic and financial situation, the country is witnessing a ‘brain drain” with the rise of migration among youth, with those aged below 20 years representing 46% of emigrants.

Such urgency to act for the youth is shared by Gwenda Haikal (CIFE) whose thesis subject focuses specifically on Street Children. She states that nowadays 30% of the population in Lebanon lives under the poverty while 5% panels 90% of the country’s wealth, this social inequality pushes minor children to go on the streets and work instead of following an educational path. She stresses that above all things, education is a golden key. Investing in these kids future is investing in the future of the country and region.

In their final statements, all actors converge towards a single conclusion : that it is up to all of us to act and make sure leaders, businesses and communities in the region truly fulfill their role for social justice.

 

Article by Constantin Tsakas

FEMISE Call for Policy Briefs – DL April 30th 2020

FEMISE is inviting all researchers and experts to submit original Policy Briefs based on recent research conducted on policy, economic and security issues relevant to the EU-Med region and Africa.

Deadline for Submission is :

April 30th 2020

I. Introduction

Policy Briefs are essential communication tools that translate the findings and the recommendations of an academic research work into a simple and concise policy note that could be accessible by, not only the policy makers, but also the business community and the general public.

The choice of the topic is left open to researchers.

II. Eligibility 

  • The Call is open to both members and non-members of FEMISE.
  • The Brief could be a submitted by one or more authors.
  • Authors must be residents in a country of the EU-Med region

III. Theme and template of the Brief

  • The Brief should conform to the “FEMISE General Guidelines for Policy Briefs”
  • The Brief should be about 4 pages maximum (around 2000 words)
  • It should be done in simple and non-technical language and should include operational policy recommendations that are based on a solid research.
  • The topic should be related to the EU-Med region
  • It could include one or two figures/tables for illustration and a short selection of a maximum of 5 references.
  • It could refer to the research papers from which it may be issued.

IV. Submission and Evaluation process

Please submit your Policy Brief to contact@femise.org and in CC c.tsakas@femise.org with the subject: “Submission of a Policy Brief

  • CV(s) of the author(s) should be submitted with the Brief as well as a short bio (that will appear on the brief if selected) of no more than 250 words
  • The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

– the choice of the topic and how relevant it is the region

– the contribution to the existing knowledge

– the recommendation and policy relevance and their feasibility

– the style of writing

The selected Policy Briefs will be published under the FEMISE Policy Briefs Series “MedBrief” and in order of priority of the relevance of the topic.

FEMISE in the top100 “Think-Tank networks” for a second consecutive year !

The FEMISE team is pleased to share that, for a second consecutive year, FEMISE is ranked among the 100 “best Think-Tank networks” according to the “Global Go To Think Tank Index” of the University of Pennsylvania (TTCSP), available here !

The “Go To Think Tank” is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the TTCSP.

 

Meanwhile, two FEMISE reports have been included in the list of “Best Policy Study-Reports Produced by a Think Tank“, they are :

–  Private sector in the Mediterranean countries: Main dysfunctions and opportunities of social Entrepreneurship (2019),

by Pr. Patricia Augier, Dr. Constantin Tsakas, Pr. Sami Mouley, Karine Moukaddem, Jocelyn Ventura.


Repatriation of Refugees from Arab Conflicts: Conditions, Costs and Scenarios for Reconstruction (2019),

by Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, Dr. Samir Makidisi, Dr. Semih Tumen, Dr. Belal Fallah, Dr. Roger Albinyana, Dr. Maryse Louis, Ms. Jala Emad Youssef.

 

 

FEMISE, with more than 105 members’ institutes, will continue producing high quality policy-oriented economic research, to have a real impact in the Mediterranean region.

Mediterranean: FEMISE shines a spotlight on Women and Young “Change Makers” 1/2

On the occasion of the Emerging Valley summit, which was held on December 3-5 in Aix en Provence (France), FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée organized a workshop on women and young “Change Makers” in the Mediterranean region. Ecomnews Med was there and below are our highlights.

Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt… Delegations came from all around the Mediterranean for this day. Women and young people, often both at the same time, were there to “exchange experiences” as notes Layla Al Qassim, who came from Amman for the occasion. First a reflection, drawn up by the Secretary General of FEMISE Dr. Constantin Tsakas “We observe inequalities on all fronts in the Mediterranean, however we also find that there are many women and young people who are carriers of real solutions”.

In line with what the Think Tank has been offering for several years now, FEMISE thus traveled to the Mediterranean countries to “identify Change Makers“, adds Dr Tsakas. The objective is to be present in the field to propose concrete solutions, to carry out Research-Action which promotes good practices while offering relevant recommendations. Evidently, in the image of the Med briefs produced by FEMISE, it is a question of proposing findings, ideas, reflections, which could be used for political decision-making for more inclusiveness in the Mediterranean.

Constantin Tsakas, Patricia Augier, Layla Al-Qasim, Karine Moukaddem, A’Laa Chbaro, Samah Ben Dhia, Hajar Khamlichi, Chiraz Karoui

“We need research that caters to the needs of populations”

During the numerous FEMISE trips, the Secretary General admits having met “many women who are carriers of solutions. These women and young people direct, support and finance projects that have a considerable economic and social impact on their communities, regions and industries. ” This is also where the idea for this workshop was born. The Think tank wants to put the spotlight on these different women “because we believe in success stories a lot” abounds Dr Tsakas. Layla Al Qassim for example (see video above) was able to discuss the various progresses made within the Landmark Hotels chain of hotels in Jordan, for which she is responsible for strategic engagement and sustainability projects, such as “the establishment of a free nursery accessible to all employees“.

An idea already in place in several American or Scandinavian companies, and which benefits employees and employers. The former have less distance to travel to drop off the children and are less stressed. The latter benefit from higher productivity, since the employee is less under pressure.

But it is above all a concrete and quickly applicable idea as “we need research close to the expectations of the population” underlines Karine Moukaddem, junior researcher at Beyond Reform and Development and political analyst attached to FEMISE. The Mediterranean sustainable development expert is convinced of this, research close to expectations allows “political actions that are close to the realities of the population“.

This observation is shared by A’Laa Chbaro, who also underlines the need to restore ambition in Mediterranean women and give them the confidence to get started. Skills development and knowledge sharing are key factors that the young 23-year-old entrepreneur, director of the MENA branch of the international association Impact the world, seeks to develop.

The workshop ultimately helped to build bridges and decompartmentalize worlds, as often with FEMISE, between research and application on the ground, because it is well known after all, experience and science always progress together.

In a second part of this article, we will focus on the speakers at the IM / FEMISE workshop who support initiatives led by women and young people in other fields, such as in environmental awareness and in the media.

by Sami Bouzid, 

Article produced in partnership with EcomNews Med.

Find all the information from the Mediterranean think tank by clicking here.

Moments from the IM/FEMISE workshop at EV2019 :Empowering Women and Youth Leaders in the Mediterranean and Africa (Dec 4th, TheCamp, Aix-en-Pce)

Gender Equality: FEMISE signs Altafemina’s Charter of Performing Diversity

FEMISE was invited to the Altafemina Festival (November 26th, EuropaCorp Cinema, La Joliette, Marseille, France) and was honored to sign the Altafemina Charter of Performing Diversity. This charter values organizations (companies, associations, institutions) that engage and act concretely for diversity both during their events and in their governing bodies.

Constantin Tsakas (FEMISE, IM) & Samah Ben Dhia (Altafemina)

After a brief presentation of the activities of FEMISE, Dr. Constantin Tsakas (Secretary General of FEMISE, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée) emphasized that the signing of this charter is a first step to raise more awareness in the South of the Mediterranean on the question of gender diversity. FEMISE research has shown that women-owned businesses can even illustrate higher labor productivity. Nevertheless, Southern Mediterranean countries* are characterized by extremely low female participation rates. This rate is 29% on average and the gap with other regions in the world is considerable.

Thanking Altafemina for this honor, Dr Tsakas added that gender diversity is a strength for FEMISE, the administrative team is made up of both men and women, and more than 70% of the young “ChangeMakers” of FEMISE researchers are women. Above all, they are competent and dynamic people, regardless of their gender.

Dr. Tsakas also presented the activities of FEMISE that contribute to a culture of diversity and gender equality in the Mediterranean. Among them, he highlighted the recent partnership with Emerging Valley, in which FEMISE will mobilize young Mediterranean women who lead, support and / or finance projects with significant economic and social impact in their communities, societies and industries. More activities, including awareness-raising videos as part of a partnership with Altafemina, are expected in the following months.

 

FEMISE is a Think-Tank, a network of research institutes in economics, which produces research reports for policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean. The network mobilizes more than 100 university centers from all over the Mediterranean on 4 thematic axes: Trade Integration, Private Sector Development and Innovation, Environmental Awareness and Development of new inclusive and sustainable growth models. The results of this research are disseminated through platforms that foster dialogue and policy debate among stakeholders, which include researchers, the international community and policy makers.

* Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Palestinian Territories

Mediterranean: Information, a “public good” made accessible by FEMISE

(article appeared in http://ecomnewsmed.com, by Rédaction Ecomnews Med on 27/09/2019)

More than twenty countries celebrate the International Day of Universal Access to Information on 28 September. Focus on the action of the FEMISE network, which aims to promote access to information for citizens and decision-makers in the Mediterranean countries.

Information is a universal good, which is shared and transmitted, a right to which all citizens should have access. A fact that the FEMISE network of researchers is convinced about. Thus, to promote this sharing of information in the countries of the Mediterranean, the Think Tank provides its solutions: “At FEMISE, we promote free access to information. We believe that it is a public good and we encourage all our partners and all the members of the network to do the same, “assures Maryse Louis, General Manager of FEMISE. How ? By establishing partnerships with civil societies and think tanks to disseminate knowledge or providing open access to all online publications produced by the associated researchers. “FEMISE participates in the dissemination of information because the network embodies the link between research and operators who need to rely on the results of this research,” says Patricia Augier, coordinator and president of the Scientific Committee of FEMISE.

Work for positive social change

The objective: to provide information to citizens and decision-makers in the countries of the region and thus promote sustainable and inclusive development. “Access to information is crucial in the Mediterranean to try to reach more inclusive societies. FEMISE is addressing these issues to try to influence policy makers, “says Charlotte François, from Clermont-Auvergne University.

Making information public and sharing it with others provides a better mechanism for monitoring and reporting, as well as better sharing of experiences and sharing of lessons learned,” says Karine Moukaddem, Policy Intern at Union for the Mediterranean and associate researcher at FEMISE.

Information is a crucial issue for democracy, since it requires decision-makers to be accountable. Transparency that can work for positive social change and help develop the countries of the region.

Because, as Karine Moukaddem concludes, “access to information is the key to improving and optimizing political practices“.

Article produced in partnership with EcomNews Med

Financial Inclusion and Stability in the MED Region: Evidence from Poverty and Inequality (report FEM44-01)

Despite a significant growth in profitability and efficiency, the Middle East (MED) well developed banking system seems to be unable to reach vast segments of the population, especially the underprivileged ones. To this end, the onus of policymakers in the region is to create effective opportunities for financial inclusion, and subsequently poverty and income inequality reduction. Whether they have succeeded in their endeavor is an empirical question we seek to address in this research project. Using Panel data, GMM and GLS econometric models, and a sample of six MED countries (Al GMM and GLS econometric models and a sample of six MED countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) over the period 2002-2018, this paper assesses empirically the impact of financial inclusion on income inequality, poverty, and financial stability in the MED region. While the empirical literature on the region is relatively scarce, this paper adds to that literature by bridging a significant existing gap, especially in the aftermath of the recent financial and debt crises and the recent political, social, and military turmoil that have been unfolding in several MED countries.

Our empirical results have shown that financial inclusion decreases inequality but has no significant effect on poverty. Inflation and population increase both inequality and poverty. Other empirical results have shown that the secondary enrollment ratio, female labor force participation and the trade openness variables are found to significantly affect poverty. While the empirical evidence indicates that enhanced financial integration is a contributing factor to financial instability, an increase in financial inclusion and in population contributes positively to financial stability. This study has also shown that greater access to financial services is positively contributing to the resilience of the banking system deposit funding base. This is particularly important during times of financial crises. Enhanced resilience of bank funding supports overall financial stability of the banking sector and the entire financial system. The latest debt and financial crises have shown that financial liberalization and inclusion in MED may not always be conducive to poverty reduction and financial stability improvements.

Our empirical findings have important policy implications. MED policy makers face tradeoffs when deciding whether to focus on reforms to promote financial development (financial inclusion, innovation, financial access, etc…) or whether to focus on further improvements in financial stability. However, synergies between promoting financial development and inclusion and financial stability can also exist. The results of this study could help foster a better policy to reform the financial sector by demonstrating how broadening the use of banking can have a direct impact on income distribution.

The recent and uncoordinated liberalization attempts have rendered MED financial and banking sectors more vulnerable to the recent financial and debt crises. In particular, the fast attempts to liberalize and financially integrate the Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco’s financial markets with the more mature markets of the United States and Europe has had devastating consequences on their banking sectors and stock markets.

When deciding on whether to focus on reforms to promote financial development (financial inclusion, innovation, access to financial services, etc.) and reduce poverty and income inequality, or on whether to focus on further improvements in financial stability, MED policy makers will have to bear in mind, the tradeoff that exits between financial liberalization and integration and financial stability. Carefully designed financial liberalization policies need to be timely introduced in order not to destabilize the financial system. Moreover, the latest debt and financial crises have shown that financial liberalization and development may not always be conducive to poverty and inequality reduction on the one hand, and to stimulate growth and development, on the other. On the contrary, and in many instances policies aimed at fostering financial development and innovations have triggered recessions and in many MED countries have had detrimental effects on growth and development and have further widened the gap between the rich and poor.

The MED region stands at a crossroad, with changes sweeping many of its countries and creating an environment conducive to financial and economic reform. Having missed a number of opportunities to reduce poverty and inequality, to introduce extensive financial and institutional reforms, and make substantial progress in financial inclusion, more effort still needs to be devoted in the future. The social movements in the region and the earlier series of financial crises have exposed the weaknesses of the adopted financial development model and have raised questions as to how to reshape financial policies most effectively and create the space to address the needs of everyone in society, reaching even the most deprived. The slow pace of financial development and liberalization policies adopted in most MED countries in the past has yielded a relatively acceptable level of economic growth and, in general, managed to meet the goals of economic and financial stability. Oil booms have generated acceptable growth rates, with oil-abundant MED countries delivering much more than those less developed. However, the impact of such economic and financial policy choices has not led to the desired outcomes in terms of human development, poverty reduction and financial stability. Growth has not been inclusive and has widened the gap between the rich and poor; a case in point is Egypt and Morocco. Indeed, in certain cases, financial liberalization has actually contributed to further financial instability. In light of a critical reassessment of the achievements and failures of MED countries, a new financial development approach should be adopted. This new model should be more holistic, integrating the financial and social spheres in combination with strong financial institutions. It is vital that MED policymaking should expand to accommodate these spheres and place them on equal footing in the service of a long-term rights-based financial developmental vision.

The new model will reconsider financial policies that incorporate developmental priorities and would thus achieve structural change. Financial policies will have to be reshaped to achieve not only financial stabilization, adjustment and economic growth, but to also trigger the transformation required to generate growth that is broad-based, inclusive and sustainable. Within this context, such policy tools as financial development and inclusion, and financial sector diversification and liberalization will have to be addressed. At the same time, financial policies should not shy away from meeting the same objectives as social policy under this new financial development paradigm, in which the interests and welfare of every person in society are the target. It is also of central importance to ensure that social policy goes hand-in-hand with financial development policies to bring about the required transformation and ensure inclusive financial and economic growth. While the social and financial spheres should interconnect to create synergies, this new financial development model will not achieve its goals if political and institutional reforms remain shallow. Finally, sustainable poverty and income inequality reduction requires an acknowledgement that politics, institutions, financial and socio-economic policies are intertwined and have an impact on each other. Synchronizing financial and social policies with institutional and political reform would bring about positive, sustainable change under a clearly defined financial development vision.

Environmental Regulation and Agricultural Trade Development (report FEM44-06)

The political implications of these results are as follows. First, it is illusory to consider bilateral free trade agreements as capable, on their own, of increasing trade flows between the two shores and developing the agricultural sectors of the SEMCs. In fact, and given the vulnerability of agricultural products, without accompanying upstream measures, the opening of the European market in the agricultural sector, in particular that of fruit and vegetables, would bring only a limited advantage to these countries. In addition, support for the modernization and adoption of new technologies that respect the environment and meet the requirements of the European market is necessary so that the SEMCs can really benefit from the liberalization of agricultural trade with the EU. Secondly, the harmonization of agri-environmental measures between the Common Agricultural Policies and those introduced by PSEM is strongly recommended and should make it possible both to increase the competitiveness of their sectors and to facilitate access to the European market. This raises an important point about the trade agreements being considered or being negotiated as it is important to take into account the slowness of the process related to the transformation of agricultural production systems (eg conversion to organic farming, training and adaptation of farmers to new technologies). As a result, appropriate deadlines must be taken into consideration by both parties. Finally, it is clear that the harmonization of non-tariff measures in a second step according to the international system would be a lever to increase agricultural trade and integrate more fully into the global economy.

FEMISE MedBRIEF 26: ” Unequal Opportunities in Early Childhood in the Mediterranean”

Moundir LASSASSI, Valérie BERENGER & Touhami ABDELKHALEK

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

 

 

 

The MED BRIEF “Unequal Opportunities in Early Childhood in 6 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries”, is available here (in french).

 

Summary

Early childhood is the most important period for human development. However, countries tend to under-invest in this phase of development, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Children face unequal opportunities to develop because of the circumstances of their birth. This research analyzes inequalities of opportunity in early childhood development in three southern Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) as well as in three non-European Eastern European countries (EU) (Bosnia , Serbia and Ukraine). The results show that there is a substantial inequality of opportunity from the beginning of life. Various circumstances influence early inequalities, including household standard of living, mother’s education, and geographical differences.

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

EuroMed Report: Identification of barriers to the integration of Moroccan SMEs in global value chains

The new EuroMed Report (September, 2019) is now available

Identification of barriers to the integration of Moroccan SMEs in global value chains [1]

The report is available for download here.

 

The purpose of this report is to identify the obstacles to the integration of Moroccan SMEs into global value chains. This new report is a continuation of the previous one because it again deals with issues that concern the private sector. However, this time it offers a more detailed analysis by targeting a specific problem, the integration of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in global value chains, in the case of one country in particular, Morocco.

This choice enabled us (i) to carry out an in-depth analysis on a given problem, (ii) to work in close collaboration with a Moroccan institution (ISCAE) and with the African Development Bank (AfDB) office in Rabat and (iii) to enhance our report with case studies of Moroccan SMEs and with a series of interviews and working meetings with representatives of business associations and heads of national organizations concerned with the issue. Before the finalization of the economic policy recommendations, this study was also the subject of a workshop organized in Rabat in the presence of decision makers, entrepreneurs and senior civil servants.

The report was coordinated by:

  • Patricia AUGIER (President of the Scientific Committee of FEMISE and of Institut de la Méditerranée),
  • Vincent CASTEL (Chief Country Economist – Morocco at the African Development Bank – AfDB) and
  • Tarik EL MALKI (Professor of Management and Corporate Social Responsibility at ISCAE).

It benefited from contributions by:

  • Mohammed Amine HANIN (Financial Auditor at EY),
  • Maryse LOUIS (General Manager of FEMISE),
  • Josef PERERA (Political Economist and FEMISE Researcher),
  • Constantin TSAKAS (General Secretary of FEMISE and General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée) and
  • Jocelyn VENTURA (Political Economist at Institut de la Méditerranée / FEMISE).

The Euromed report is an annual publication of FEMISE which deals with topics of importance and interest for the Euro-Med region. The report brings a real added value in terms of knowledge on the topic covered. It provides an in-depth analysis proposed by specialized economists and with a multidisciplinary approach to the North and South of the Mediterranean. This brings a common vision on both sides of the Mediterranean and political recommendations that can contribute to the transition process of the South Med countries.

[1] This report has been prepared with the financial support of the African Development Bank and of the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, Studies and Dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of the authors.