“Chambers can strengthen economic recovery in the region by defending the economic integration among countries.”

The Mediterranean region faces profound political changes accompanied by geopolitical instability, immense economic and social challenges. Poverty, high level of structural unemployment, and access to energy are among the main problems. However, trade and investment through the private sector and specifically the SMEs remain the key drivers of growth, job creation and regional cooperation among the Mediterranean countries. According to the Bruegel think tank job creation is the major challenge for the region, as youth unemployment in the Mediterranean region has consequences for the whole of Europe. Around 25.4 million people are unemployed, of whom 7-8 million are aged 15-24 (World Bank 2014; United Nations World Population Prospects 2015).

With this in mind, there should be greater collaboration among Mediterranean countries, especially through chambers, to immunize the fundamentals at a macro level so as we unleash the potential of the private sector and fight the enormous gap in productivity between rich and poor countries. Horizontal policies focusing on the regional transfer of knowledge, know-how, as well as the promotion of best business practices can enable learning, such as openness to international trade and investment, an effective and inclusive education system adequate to employers’ needs and a strong investment climate.

Chambers can strengthen economic recovery in the region by defending the economic integration among countries. Therefore, we should put pressure on EU to take some measures such as improving the business environment through public administration reforms and reduction of administrative burden for businesses, creating a transparent and tax-friendly business environment for both domestic and foreign investors, facilitating access to finance and upgrading skills in particular for young people. Our goal should be to boost the private sector and reinforce the economic and industrial development in the countries of the region. As long as we work together, we can make it!