Putting the Western Mediterranean, in particular the countries of North Africa, back on the world map requires a vision of what this region might look like by 2030. Private capital as well as human resources are leaving the region and not just in southern rim countries but in Spain and Italy. The abrupt changes which occurred in Libya and Tunisia in 2011 have added to the general mood of uncertainty but also opened the door to a more realistic appraisal of economic and political reforms which are Essentials pre-requisites to imagining a more ambitious future for the region, one which, in particular encourages more inclusive models of economic. The much vaunted Tunisia “model” has shown its limits and needs to be rewritten.
The challenges include
1) Improving the governance of mineral resources in the regions from where they are extracted – which in particular means making sure the local population benefits more than hitherto from revenues which have usually gone to major urban centres on the coast
2) Repairing the damage wrought to the local environment which has often been blighted
3) Bringing up to modern international norms the management of the state companies which are responsible for these activities ensuring both promotion by merit and greater involvement of the local population
4) Seeking cooperation between different regions and companies, both state and private across the frontiers of Maghreb countries and beyond the seas in order to add value to production which would have the twin value of creating more skilled Jobs and attracting more, often private, capital