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The global pandemic has prompted a re-examination of existing development strategies for growth and development. The countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMCs) have seen their development trajectories dimmed, and in order to provide for more sustainable and equitable income generation for their populations, a reset of growth strategies is essential. The aim of this report, produced by The Growth Dialogue, is to provide some new ideas and policy directions for SEMCs and to do so in light of changes in the global economy that was already well underway but that have been made more prominent by the recent events.
This report examines the current situation of SEMCs, highlighting where the greatest shortfalls of policy exist using the concept of heatmaps that compare countries in various dimensions. To this has been added a thorough review of what diagnostics already exist, indicating some lapses of past policy as seen by outside agencies, institutions, and academics. The aim of this report is to not repeat the same diagnostics once again, but rather to use them as building blocks for the presentation of some new views and enriched by policy consultations with key thought-leaders and ex- policymakers in three SEMCs, namely, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The report highlights how there are numerous areas where changes in current policy would yield high dividends, none more important than the role of the state. Meanwhile, the role of SMEs is crucial, as is the necessity of improving the level of digitalization in economies. Furthermore, as most SEMCs are insufficiently connected to global trade, it suggests they could take away lessons from other regions. Investing in education and skills is also a critical factor for success in attracting better quality FDI and in promoting the acquisition and use of new technologies. Meanwhile, the report stresses how sustainability is also one of the key determinants of longer-term growth. Managing the effects of climate change on agriculture, the energy mix for countries, and livelihoods is a major new challenge.
The audience for the Report is primarily the governments themselves, although European partners interested in enhanced forms of cooperation may also see avenues for further engagement. There are, in the reports view, opportunities in renewable energy, in educational twinning and skills acquisition, in the further connection between FDI and the local economies, and in technology transfer, where more is achievable.