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BUSINESSMED and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung join forces for the economic recovery in the South Mediterranean region


BUSINESSMED and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung join forces for the economic recovery in the South Mediterranean region

Tunis, Tunisia

Organized on October 11, 2021 jointly by BUSINESSMED and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regional Program South Mediterranean, the Workshop on Post-COVID19 Economic Recovery in the South Mediterranean Region, brought together leading experts working in the region to provide an overview of the resilience to the crisis from a sectoral perspective and the implications for business, as well as the latest recovery reforms and regional efforts since the onset of the pandemic for better regional integration.

The different interventions provided an overview of the current economic and geopolitical situation in the South Med region and an overview of the latest stimulus reforms and efforts by international and regional organizations since the outbreak of the pandemic.

How to foster economic recovery in the South Med region?

"This expert workshop stems from a partnership that our two organizations are building for the development of the Southern Neighborhood region ... In line with the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighborhood, and the joint EC communication, BUSINESSMED is committed to improving the business climate and attracting investment while addressing long-standing structural issues such as unemployment, especially youth unemployment.

To succeed, private sector participation and the mobilization of small and medium-sized enterprises are essential. In the longer term, the economic recovery of the Southern Neighborhood region will depend on the resolution of regional conflicts, the political ability to reduce budget deficits and public debt, the pursuit of structural, institutional, and social reforms, and the search for a constructive response to the growing democratic aspirations of MENA societies," said Jihen Boutiba, BUSINESSMED's Secretary General, during her intervention at the opening session.

Regional integration: why is it that important?

The partners and representatives of organizations from the North and South also discussed the expectations and prospects of regional integration and the renewed partnership between the EU and the neighborhood.

Thomas Volk, director of the regional program South-Mediterranean Policy Dialogue of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung welcomed the new collaboration with BUSINESMED and said: "I think it is very interesting that the EU, in its new strategy towards the Mediterranean, emphasizes the importance of a people-centered approach and I think we should adopt this approach in a literal way. We have to look at what the people of the southern Mediterranean need, and the people need jobs, so that is the main priority in the region, and we have to do something to promote job creation. There are also other challenges that need to be addressed such as improving the regional trade rate which is one of the lowest in the MENA region and actions need to be taken. We need to look at bigger markets and see how to create investments in the South of the Mediterranean, how to support MSMEs, how to create joint ventures and allow the Mediterranean region to flourish with the help of partners from the South and North of the Mediterranean."

Results and next steps

The meeting ended with a summary of the main conclusions of the exchanges and the relevant proposals made by the different speakers and experts. The recommendations will be developed into a policy paper for an effective economic recovery in the MENA region, with a particular focus on current and possible reforms and relevant regional collaboration frameworks. The paper will be published later on the websites of both organizations.