Tag Archives: Jordan

Ex-post evaluation of the impact of trade chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements with six partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia

Press Note, Marseille, 01 Avril 2021

We are very pleased to announce that the report on: Ex-post evaluation of the impact of trade chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements with six partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia has been published.

The study was conducted by Ecorys, CASE and FEMISE as a consortium and commissioned by the Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE) of the European Commission with the aim to evaluate the ongoing Euro-Med Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean partners and present recommendations on how to unlock the potentials of these agreements.

Following a detailed presentation of the objectives, scope and methodology of the ex-post evaluation (chap 1), the report provides a description of the different Euro-Med FTAs agreement and their implementations (chap 2). The report then presents an economic analysis with regards to the trade implication and interaction with other Euro-Med agreement (chap 3). This is followed by sectoral case studies for the implication on 4 specific sectors in those countries (Agri-food, Chemical, Machinery & transport equipment and textiles and clothing) (chap 4). The study then conducts a sustainable analysis assessment on the impact of trade on the environment, social and human rights and employment in these countries (chap 5). The study then concludes with overall findings and recommendations (chap 6).

Recommendations include methodology on how to address non-tariff measures, improve the business environment in the South Med countries, expanding coverage of the agreements and ways forward with sustainable development implementations.

Background and context

The Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements (AA) were conceived to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Barcelona Declaration. With the signing of the Barcelona Declaration in November 1995, a new phase of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership began. It aimed at creating an area of shared prosperity in the Mediterranean region and recognized that this required sustainable and balanced socio-economic development, an improvement in the living conditions of the populations, an increase in the level of employment and the encouragement of regional cooperation and integration. A key policy instrument for achieving this outcome was the eventual establishment of a free trade area between the EU and the South Mediterranean partners, through bilateral Euro-Med Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) which would remove barriers to trade and investment between the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries as well as between the Southern Mediterranean countries themselves.

In this context, the Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE) of the European Commission has commissioned an evaluation of the impact of the trade chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean FTAs concluded with six partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, which was undertaken by the Consortium.

The purpose of the evaluation was to examine whether the main objectives of the trade chapters of the Euro-Mediterranean AAs and the supplementary trade protocols or agreements supplementing the FTAs have been achieved, as well as to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and coherence of the trade chapters of the AA. It is expected that the evaluation will help to determine best practice and lessons learned from the FTAs in order to better inform further implementation of the current Euro-Med FTAs as well as to enable cross fertilization of the gained insights across the various countries in the region to further enhance the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

You can read/download the executive summary of the report here

You can read/download the full report here

The Report is prepared by:

Ecorys,: Project Lead: Nora Plaisier; Research: Dr Michael Fuenfzig; Pietro Maggi; Stakeholder consultations: Corine Besseling; Anne Winkel; Coordination: Michael Flickenschild),

CASE : Project Lead: Dr Przemysław Kowalski; Stakeholder consultations and research: Dr Katarzyna Sidło; Research: Dr Anna Malinowska; Project administration: Marek Peda; Quality control: Dr Christopher Hartwell and

FEMISE: Senior Economic Expert: Prof. Patricia Augier; Senior Consultation Expert and coordinator: Dr. Maryse Louis; Senior Sustainable Analysis Expert: Dr. Constantin Tsakas; Senior Social Expert: Dr. Franck Viroleau; Senior Environmental Expert: Dr. Stephane Quefelec; Senior Regional Economic Advisor: Prof. Michael Gasiorek, Sussex University; and contributions from Prof. Nicolas Peridy; Researchers: Dr. Novella Bottini; Dr. Myriam Ben Saad, Dr. Amandine Gnonlonfin; Dr. Rania Dial, Dr. Najla Kamergi; Research assistance: Jocelyn Ventura, Passainte Atef and Margaux Jutant.

The authors would also like to thank for the support of FratiniVergano –European Lawyers (Dr Tobias Doll),l’ISCAE Rabat (Dr Tarik El Malki, Hanae Ballari, Omar Hasnaoui), IACE –Institut arabe des chefs d’entreprises (Dr Majdi Hassen, Ibtissem El Ouartatani), ISSNAAD Consulting (Dr Ahmad Al-Shoqran), Arab African Advisers (Maggie Kamel and Sherif Fawzi Abdel Gawad) and Mona Mardelli-Assaf

FEMISE would like to thank all the team for their valuable contribution!

 

 

COVID-19 MED BRIEF no1 : Implications of the coronavirus crisis in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East

The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of all countries. In Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. Cooperation and EU-Med strategies in key sectors are needed. Therefore, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and FEMISE join forces and launch their joint series of Policy Briefs called “COVID-19 MED BRIEFS” to pave the way for thematic analyses and policy relevant recommendations.

The first COVID-19 MED BRIEF, entitled “Implications of the coronavirus crisis in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East”, by Constantin Tsakas (FEMISE, IM), is available by clicking here.

Summary : The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of any country, regardless of its level of development. In the countries of the Middle East and of the Southern Mediterranean the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. It must be done with limited healthcare and economic resources compared to other regions. In addition, it takes place in a social and geopolitical context which is unique in its divisions. This Brief suggests relaunching cooperation in the Mediterranean following the crisis and developing EU-Med strategies in key sectors. In this context, it provides reflections, on the short term and long term, to prevent a «pandemic of inequalities» in the region. It suggests opening-up access to healthcare for informal workers, investing in digital technology, rethinking production chains intelligently, supporting social entrepreneurship and reviewing the conditions for debt repayment for countries in the region. The purpose of this Brief is to pave the way for more thematic analyzes and prescriptions, which can be explored throughout this series produced jointly by the CMI and FEMISE.

This Policy Brief is produced as part of the series of Policy Briefs on « Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19 in the Mediterranean » that is undertaken in partnership between FEMISE and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI).

Social Entrepreneurs’ Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Jordan and Lebanon (report FEM44-12)

30Following the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, an estimated 1.5 million and 1.3 million Syrian refugees sought a safe haven in Lebanon and Jordan respectively (Reuters, 2017; Ghazal, 2017). Considering that the population of Jordan is just under 10 million, and that of Lebanon – under 7 million (World Bank, 2018), this sudden and unexpected flow of refugees resulted in severe disruption, stretching the absorptive capacities of the two countries well beyond their limits, and necessitating massive relief efforts for refugees and host communities alike. In their efforts to manage the situation, the authorities in both countries have been supported by international community and civil society. Increasingly, private sector has been stepping in as well (Berfond et al., 2019). Among many institutions and individuals aiming to alleviate the situation, an increasing number of less traditional actors – social entrepreneurs – could be also observed.

Against this background, the main of this exploratory study was to explore the ways in which social entrepreneurs in Jordan and Lebanon have been helping to alleviate the refugee crisis in both countries. In our conceptualization of social enterprises (SEs), we followed an approach by Cerritelli et al. (2016), and instead of adopting a single definition of social entrepreneurship, understood SEs as entities possessing the following characteristics: i) primarily focus on the creation of social value rather than a purely economic one, ii) being financially sustainable or aiming at achieving that goal, and iii) self-identifying as a social enterprise. This approach was more inclusive of different types of socially entrepreneurial initiatives, additionally allowing for any differences that may occur between SEs based in the western countries and MENA region (as suggested, e.g. by Tauber, upcoming).

Our main finding, developed based on extensive literature review and stakeholder consultations (29 interviews with SEs and support organizations, a focus group, and a panel discussion during a workshop), is that although social entrepreneurs overcome numerous obstacles in order to achieve their goals, assessment of the real impact of their actions is not possible due lack of social impact measurement mechanisms in place. Judging their success is also impeded by the fact that the majority of the SEs examined is relatively young, being predominantly established within the past five years.

At the same time, we found that the anecdotal evidence does suggest that refugees in both countries benefit from the actions of social enterprises in a number of ways. Most notably, SEs are a source of employment opportunities, helping refugees to start new careers or resume the ones they had back in their home countries. The opportunities offered are especially valuable for female refugees, struggling to manage family-related responsibilities with work-life and facing various constraints of socio-cultural nature. SEs are uniquely positioned to assist with the labour market integration of the refuges as – unlike purely profit-oriented private companies – they can accommodate for their specific needs, focusing on the social impact of their work rather than just profit maximization (e.g. by providing free childcare for their female employees). Moreover, unlike non-profits, they can create sustainable jobs that do not (entirely) depend on donor funding. Unfortunately, ultimately the degree to which the SEs succeed in their work to large degree depends on the labour market policies of their respective governments. The issue of granting work permits to the refugees is incredibly sensitive in Jordan and Lebanon, both struggling with high unemployment rates among the native population. Recently, especially the latter has been introducing measures that may prove extremely difficult to overcome for the SEs wishing to integrate the refugees to the local labour markets.

Another group of the SEs has been focusing on providing goods and services that would facilitate the everyday existence of the refugees (and other segments of the population): from providing innovative educational solutions, through developing sanitary provisions, to designing functional temporary shelters. They, too, have however been adversely affected by existing regulatory frameworks.

Overall, the SEs face various challenges related to bureaucracy and inadequate legislation, such as high taxes, complicated customs procedures, red tape, or overregulation. Importantly, lack of legal recognition of a social enterprise as a legal entity is a major impediment, forcing social entrepreneurs to choose between registering as i) for-profits and therefore forfeiting any tax deductions, opportunity to receive (tax-exempted) grants and donations, and other benefits that non-profit organizations benefit from, or i) non-profits, limiting their opportunity to generate income. Equally worryingly, the complexities of the existing legislation do not seem to be well understood by SEs and support organizations (SOs) alike.

Another major obstacle identified by the vast majority of interviewees was securing funding to develop and grow. With bank loans and microcredits were out of scope or out of the question, most of the SEs turned to grants – and personal savings – even if finding an investor was the preferable way of going forward.

Finally, lack of adequate assistance on behalf of the support organizations was an additional factor adversely affecting the SEs, who complained that incubation and acceleration schemes available were not tailored enough and imposed unnecessary constraints on their daily operations. While some SOs did acknowledge this problem, many saw social entrepreneurs as cavalier and unwilling to learn.

The social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Jordan and Lebanon, especially its segment working with refugees, is still relatively undeveloped, unstructured, and unorganized. However, it is quite clear that the potential to have a positive impact on the livelihood of refugees residing in both countries is real. While social entrepreneurship alone by no means the answer to the refugee crisis, in a conducive legislative environment it may become an important actor – especially thanks to the new technologies that allow the SEs to scale up their activities and potentially maximize their impacts.

Feminization of occupations and its effect on gender wage gap in South Mediterranean Countries

The issue of gender equality in the labour market is an important one. For the MENA region, however, the issue is additionally important due to the traditional role that women play in the economy and the cultural (including religious) beliefs that drive gender relations in these countries.
Focusing on Egypt and Jordan, the study produces policy recommendations in two directions:
On the one hand, addressing the cultural and wider societal barriers to female employment which may be giving unequal access to jobs (both in occupational and in remuneration terms). On the other hand, developing enabling policies for increased female labour force participation, such as extension of childcare provision and especially maternity leave and pay.

Refugees and hosting countries : integration models and cooperation policy options

In both European and Jordan perspectives, it is crucial to prepare instruments able to capture the ongoing changes and to identify the relevant targets, as well as to monitor the rapidly growing segment of the migrants that has been integrating into the local economic fabric. Italian policy oriented research will soon be facing the need of exploring a new context where a greater share of migrant population will be made up with refugees with a smaller resource assets both in terms of funding sources, social and family networks and safety nets. In this perspective, the mutual contamination of research and political experimentation in distant contexts, 9l1which in many respects start sharing similar concerns, must be cultivated and strengthened. The experience launched in Jordan that addresses the issue of economic integration of refugees is an important basis for the development of specific policies. The small contribution represented by the present study can, in this perspective, provide insights and trace some paths for a desirable deepening of the research.