PRESS RELEASE The Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) mandated by the G8 to lead an action plan for enhanced trade and foreign direct investment in the Mediterranean Contacts: France: Olivier Lavinal, firstname.lastname@example.org Marseille, September 10, 2011. Building on the emerging Deauville Partnership and the new European Neighborhood Policy, the CMI convened an informal dialogue on September 10 among leading economists in the region entitled “Innovative Engines of Growth, Trade and Jobs in the MENA region”. Held back to back with the G8 Ministers of Finance Meeting in Marseille, the event brought together the Finance Ministers from both Tunisia and Morocco and top representative from the Jordan Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Heads and other high-level representatives of international and regional financial institutions (Islamic Development Bank, Arab Monetary Fund, European Investment Bank, IMF, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, AFD) also attended and participated in the dialogue. The gathering was the second informal dialogue among leading economists and senior delegates of major IFIs on the theme of “economic transformation and trade integration” organized by the CMI. In line with the recommendations resulting from the Deauville Partnership Finance Ministers’ Meeting held in parallel to the CMI event, the participants endorsed a new mandate given to the CMI to provide an appropriate framework to enhance trade and foreign direct investment. Drawing on the expertise of the World Bank and in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, the CMI will coordinate an analytical report on removing barriers to trade and foreign direct investment. The report will propose an action plan with short and medium term recommendations based on consultations with relevant stakeholders across the region.
Convened in direct response to the Deauville Partnership launched under the French G8 Presidency in May 2011, the discussion focused on opportunities to link trade integration and jobs to innovative engines of growth. Participants discussed issues and challenges related to inclusive growth and the knowledge economy. The way for MENA countries to create jobs is to transform and invest more in knowledge-related domains, and develop competitive economic activities that have high levels of productivity and are sustainable. The purpose of the discussion was to feed into and inform public policy choice towards facilitating greater integration in the Mediterranean. Building on its substantial expertise, the CMI is thus uniquely positioned to contribute to the preparation of action plans prepared by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The Center will offer its unique competence as a platform of informal networks and its direct linkages with local decision-makers and institutions to promote multi-stakeholder consultations as a fundamental step towards consensus building on the integration agenda. The CMI will therefore support the transformation of the 500 million people living around the Mediterranean Sea into a new â€œgrowth poleâ€? in the global economy, said CMI Director Mats Karlsson. Participants recognized the enormous challenges faced by the countries in this time of transition and the high expectations from the populations to see immediate results. However, it was underlined that gradualism in interventions and long-term approaches to sustained growth was also critical for macroeconomic stability. Some of the key actions that were put forth include removing non-tariff barriers for trade; increasing support to SME and private sector involvement; promoting trade in services, supporting core logistics areas, enhancing inclusive growth and redistribution mechanisms. It was also stressed that free trade should not be seen as the ultimate goal but rather a vehicle for the transfer of know-how, management skills, new technologies, innovative products, and capital. In addition, it was also highlighted that more efforts were needed to ensure that integration brought more balanced benefits and returns to both the northern and southern countries.
Leading figures attending the one-day conference included: - H.E. Salaheddine MEZOUAR, Minister of Economics and Finance, Kingdom of Morocco - H.E. Mr. Jaloul AYED, Minister of Finance, Tunisia - Dr. Saleh AL-KHARABSHEH, Secretary General, Minsitry of Planning & International Cooperation, Jordan - Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali AL MADANI, President, Islamic Development Bank - Dr. Jassim AL MANNAI, Director General and Chair of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund - Mr. Erik BERGLOF, Chief Economist, EBRD - Mr. Philippe de FONTAINE VIVE, Vice President, European Investment Bank - Ms. Inger ANDERSEN, Vice President Designate, MENA Region, World Bank - Mr. Mats KARLSSON, Director of the Center for Mediterranean Integration
--------------About the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI): the CMI is a multi-partner knowledge platform with a group of Southern governments—Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia—along with France, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the World Bank. It facilitates access to best knowledge, practices and support among public and independent institutions, in order to improve cooperation, enhance sustainable development and converge policies towards greater integration in the Mediterranean region. It works on five clusters, with 18 programs on: Skills, Employment, and Labor Mobility (including youth issues); Knowledge Economy, Innovation, and Technology; Urban and Spatial Development; Environment and Water; and Transport and Logistics. Programs are led by a variety of partners, including the AFD, Caisse des Dépôts (CDC), EIB, FEMISE, UNDP, Plan Bleu, and the World Bank. CMI’s administration is currently handled by the World Bank. To find out more about this seminar: www.cmimarseille.org