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Joint Conference on Sustainable Economic Recovery organized by BUSINESSMED and KAS PolDiMed


Joint Conference on Sustainable Economic Recovery organized by BUSINESSMED and KAS PolDiMed

Casablanca, Morocco

As part of the efforts undertaken to connect rescue to a sustainable economic recovery in the Mediterranean region, the Regional Programme Political Dialogue South Mediterranean of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS PolDiMed) and the Union of the Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (BUSINESSMED) joined forces by hosting a South-South Regional Integration conference under the theme “A way forward to a sustainable economic recovery post-Covid19”, on 16 March 2022 in Casablanca.

The main objectives of the Conference were to gather experts and specialist from both Med and sub-Saharan region in order to examine South-South Economic integration’s background from legal, academic, professional and governmental perspectives and to provide an overview on the state of art, challenges and lessons learnt of the existing economic cooperation mechanisms. The different discussion and exchange are meant to also highlight perspectives on south-south cooperation post covid19 and to share testimonials and success stories.

The event started with the opening words from Mr Tomas VOLK, Director of KAS PolDiMed who emphasized the importance of these kind of events for a better and more efficient regional integration in the region in order to achieve a sustainable economic recovery after the Covid-19 outbreak. Mr Volk also stated that the opening of the Mediterranean to the sub-Saharan African countries is not a choice anymore and is a perfect way to achieve this recovery.

Ever since its outbreak early in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge and disrupt economies around the world. The impact is particularly salient for Africa, which saw decades’ worth of economic and social progress erased almost overnight.

The sanitary crisis exposed and exacerbated pre-existing bottlenecks and endemic challenges. Rampant unemployment, unsustainable debt, governance woes, increased extreme poverty and climate change are enduring structural challenges that predate the pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mrs Jihen Boutiba, Director General of BUSINESSMED stated: “The South needs to adopt a strategic vision in terms of strengthening its regional value chains as well as intra-regional trade and investments in order to become self-reliant namely through the integration of regional value chains in health and agro-food sectors, as well as an enhanced south-south financial cooperation, etc. In that sense, the post-covid era could be an opportunity to rethink the value chains within the region by considering reshoring and nearshoring of businesses on the Southern Mediterranean shores and sub-Saharan Africa. When it comes to South-South cooperation, we believe in BUSINESSMED that the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa’s private sector are well placed to further contribute to the setting of African economies on a more balanced, broad-based and diversified growth path.”

The General Director of BUSINESSMED also mentioned that the private sector is walking in a much faster pace than the governments and governmental organizations and that there is a huge interest of private sector enterprises in enhanced regional integration to easier facilitate intra-African trade, and as the private sector organizations have identified the major governmental and logistical obstacles, for example the difficulty of border transits and double taxation, they started lobbying to minimize them.

The event ended with a field trip to the global logistics group Dachser. The staff of the company welcomed the conference participants and gave not only an insight into operating figures and strategic aspects of logistics in Africa, but also a tour of the premises. The connection between the theoretical discussions of the conference and the first-hand practical experience of the field visit concluded the insightful conference.