Three take-aways for the Mediterranean

A great pleasure to have co-moderated the Union for Mediterranean’s trade and investment forum today for the third time. I had the pleasure of two excellent panels – on trade facilitation and sustainable investment – brimming with expertise. Among the many gems, the things that struck me were:

1. Progress on trade facilitation in the region is very varied: Although support and funds are available, the more fundamental interests of some economic actors in certain countries continue to hold development back – even if some really easy things like transparency of rules – and certainty the announced rules will actually be applied – would help a lot.

2. Now is the time! FDI is 43% up compared to pre COVID times in the first six months of this year, and near-shoring of supply chains is rapidly becoming a reality. That flood of money needs to be made sustainable!

3. Skills: educated workers are available and at a cheaper price than in many parts of South-East Asia, but there is a serious mismatch between skills offered and demanded. Hence it will be vital to break silos to ensure information is passed, and to anticipate future needs: this implies foresight work (like I am involved with in Geneva).

Thanks again to my excellent co-moderator Natasha Walker, to the UfM based team Hamed EL ETREBY, Alicia Figueroa, Johannes Laepple and our technicians Jordi Agustí Sennacheribbo