Policy papers

Female Labour Force Participation and Entrepreneurship: The Missing Pillar for Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development in MENA?

Rym Ayadi, Rim Mouelhi
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Despite substantial investment in women’s education in the MENA region and a significant increase in their educational attainment, women’s labour force participation remains very low. In 2017, Women’s Labour Force Participation (LFP) was averaging 21% in the MENA region, well below the OECD average of 51%. In 2015, the rate of Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) of women in MENA was equally low, compared to other regions average. Besides the underutilisation of skills acquired by educated women, low participation rates have additional consequences for individual women and their families, including a lack of financial autonomy and a degrading social status. After reviewing the constraints impeding women to fully participate in the labour market and to develop entrepreneurial activities, we put forward an action plan to raise female LFP and entrepreneurship in this region, in order to develop this missing pillar of inclusive and sustainable economic development in the MENA region.

This action plan must: 1) end all forms of economic gender discrimination by enacting legislative and administrative reforms to ensure women’s equal rights to economic and productive resources; 2) adopt targeted actions to enhance female labour force participation, and 3) to further promote women entrepreneurship in the region via designing new financing mechanisms tailored for women.

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Youth employment in the Mediterranean region: Is further regional integration the way forward for job creation?

Rym Ayadi, Raul Ramos
EMNES_Policy_Paper_001-Youth employment in the Mediterranean region-1

The employment and social impact of the global financial and sovereign European crises has been particularly severe in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Southern, Eastern and Northern Mediterranean countries have all been experiencing a prolonged employment crisis, whereas the improving employment trend in Northern European countries and related attractiveness for unemployed individuals across the region underpins unprecedented migratory pressures. This policy paper first delves into the challenge of youth unemployment in the Mediterranean region, explains the underlying reasons from a labour supply and demand and provides recommendations on how further regional integration can tackle this challenge.

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5+5 Dialogue a mechanism of regional integration and cooperation

Rym Ayadi, Emanuele Sessa
EMEA-PolicyPaper - 5 5 Economic Challenges - Short Paper V2final-1

This paper looks into the integration patterns between the 5+5 countries by assessing the most recent evolutions of investment, trade and employment in the region to highlight such challenges and formulates recommendations to pave the way for dialogue and cooperation conducive to tangible results on which to build a new momentum for integration in the region.

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Scenarios Assessment and Transitions towards a Sustainable Euro-Mediterranean in 2030

Rym Ayadi, Carlo Sessa
State (Un)Sustainability in the Southern Mediterranean: The EU

In the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, the region has reached a turning point in its history, presenting as many opportunities as challenges. The European Union itself is facing challenging conditions following the financial and economic crises that have hit its periphery. This MEDPRO Policy Paper examines and assesses various possible scenarios that could play out in EU-Mediterranean relations over the next two decades and offers recommendations towards long-term sustainable socio-economic development in the region.

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Paving the Way for Micro-, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Southern Mediterranean

Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen

Notwithstanding their essential contribution to innovation, job creation and local development, MSMEs across the southern Mediterranean are confronted with a number of problems that hamper their growth. Ayadi & De Groen (2013) assessed what is required to unlock the growth potential of the most promising MSMEs. Based on a thorough literature review and inputs from economic experts from the countries under investigation, a questionnaire was designed to identify the problems that confront MSMEs with high-growth potential. Six areas were identified as key potential obstacles that could hinder MSME development: administrative, legal and tax regulations; infrastructure (communications, utility services, roads and transport); access to financial instruments; clients and suppliers; availability of skills; and informality and corruption

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Policy Lessons for Macroeconomic and Financial Crisis Management in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean

Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen

The 2007-09 global financial crisis led to a virtual collapse in economic activity and increased financial volatility worldwide. For the developing countries, the main channel of transmission has been a drop in external transactions, such as trade, financial and capital flows, and remittances. The southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMCs)1 have also faced declining economic activity, although there seems to be considerable variation in the relative magnitudes and timing of the decline. Most of the economies in the Mediterranean basin have had delayed but longer-lasting consequences as a result of the crisis, driven mostly by their endemic trade and investment ties with the EU2 and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

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A New Euro-Mediterranean Energy Roadmap for a Sustainable Energy Transition in the Region

Manfred Hafner and Simone Tagliapietra, with contributions by Emmanuel Bergasse, Frederic Blanc (FEMISE, France), Noriko Fujiwara (CEPS, Brussels) and Pantelis Capros

This paper addresses the urgent need for a sustainable energy transition in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. It analyses the unsustainable burden of universal energy subsidies and calls for new development paths unlocking the huge potential for low-cost energy efficiency and demand-side management as well as for renewable energy. It argues that a new structure of regional and interconnected energy markets is needed. It then proposes some original approaches regarding the financing of this sustainable energy transition and finally calls for an ambitious, Euro-Mediterranean Energy Roadmap, which should contribute not only to the economic and environmental development of the region, but also to its social and political stability.
Contributions to this paper were made by Emmanuel Bergasse, Frederic Blanc, Noriko Fujiwara and Pantelis Capros.

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Economic Development, Trade and Investment in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries: An Agenda towards a Sustainable Transition

Marek Dabrowski, Luc De Wulf

Drawing from the policy recommendations that emerge from a series of detailed MEDPRO studies on economic development, trade and investment in the Mediterranean, this paper presents policy recommendations in the areas of macroeconomic management, trade, investment, private sector development and privatisation and sectoral policies.

Marek Dabrowski and Luc De Wulf are Fellows at CASE (Center for Social and Economic Research) in Warsaw.

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Financial Sector Development and Integration in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean: Towards a long-term sustainable transition

Rym Ayadi

This MEDPRO Policy Paper examines the trends and prospects in financial-sector development and integration in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries and concludes with an agenda for a long-term sustainable transition where finance turns to be a positive stimulus to long-term growth.
Rym Ayadi is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, Founder of EMEA and Coordinator of the MEDPRO project.

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Human Capital, Inequality and Migration in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries: Towards a coherent policy agenda

Rym Ayadi, Alia El Mahdi (FEPS, Egypt)

The demographic and societal structures in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries are expected to undergo profound transformations in the future, calling for new public policies related to employment, human capital and mobility. In addition, the population projections of the MEDPRO project until 2030 have pointed to an increase in working-age populations. Against this background, the authors suggest policies to address challenges in education, inequality, social protection and migration.
Rym Ayadi is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, EMEA Founder and Coordinator of the MEDPRO project. Alia El Mahdi is Professor of Economics at the FEPS, Cairo University.

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Perspectives in Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMC)

Francesco Bosello and Nicola Lamaddalena

This policy paper focuses on the sustainable management of some key natural resources in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMCs) under climate change and anthropogenic pressures. In a business-as-usual and even more so in a failed cooperation scenario, water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity in the region are under stress, with negative consequences for agriculture, food security, tourism and development. However, proper adaptation strategies are shown to be effective in reconciling resource conservation with GDP, trade and population growth. These need be implemented in different ways: technological, institutional, behavioural; and at different levels: regional, national and international. There is ample room for fruitful cooperation between the EU and SEMCs in this area, which can take the form of EU direct financial and technical support when resources in SEMCs are scarce, and of multilateral and bilateral cooperation programmes to improve resource efficiency. The EU could also take on the role of coordinating these different bilateral actions and, at the same time, support SEMCs to establish a structured programme focused on the communication and dissemination of emerging best practices.

Francesco Bosello is Associate Researcher, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, (FEEM), Italy, Nicola Lamaddalena is Head of the Land and Water Department, Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo Bari (IAMB), Italy

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State (un)Sustainability in the Southern Mediterranean and Scenarios to 2030: The EU’s Response

Nathalie Tocci

In this Policy Paper, author Nathalie Tocci considers the concept of sustainability and how it is central to any understanding of Mediterranean politics. Too often confused with stability in policy debates in the Mediterranean region and the West, Tocci argues that not only are these two concepts distinct, with sustainability being broader and deeper than stability, but stability, as interpreted with regard to the regimes in the region, has often run counter to the very conditions that underpin state sustainability. In order to avoid the weakening and failure of EU-MED cooperation, Tocci urges the EU to overcome its political and institutional inertia, and to develop a truly credible Mediterranean policy pursued alongside other state and non-state actors at both the regional and global level.

Nathalie Tocci is Deputy Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome.

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What scenarios for the Euro-Mediterranean in 2030 in the wake of the Arab Spring?

Rym Ayadi, Carlo Sessa

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring events,  the Southern Mediterranean region has reached a turning point in its history, presenting as many opportunities as challenges for the EU. In this MEDPRO Policy Paper, Rym Ayadi and Carlo Sessa explore various possible scenarios that could play out in EU-Mediterranean relations over the next two decades but find, lamentably, that the EU has set itself on a ‘business as usual’ course, leaving the region open to further polarization and the involvement of other external players.

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