Covid-19 in the Mediterranean and Africa: Diagnosis, Policy Responses, Preliminary Assessment and Way Forward

Rym Ayadi, Samir Abdullah Ali, Nooh Alshyab, Kwame Sarpong Barnieh, Yacine Belarbi, Sandra Challita, Najat El Makkaoui, Kinga Konya, Rim Ben Ayed Mouelhi, Racha Ramadan, Serena Sandri, Mais Shaban, Sara Ronco and Chahir Zaki - Forwards from: Fathallah Sijilmassi Roger Albyniana

Amidst the disrupting circumstances resulting from the global pandemic COVID-19, this study provides a diagnosis of the contagion between February and April 2020 in the Mediterranean and Africa. It assesses the level of preparedness of national healthcare systems and examines the policy responses for containing the contagion and for mitigating the socio-economic consequences of the health crisis in several countries including: Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Spain, and Tunisia. The study proposes a novel three-pillar framework to assess the policy responses. It concludes with a preliminary assessment for the surveyed countries and provides recommendations for the way forward.

The study, which is part of the EMEA policy research initiative on COVID-19 launched on March 18th 2020, is led and coordinated by Prof. Rym Ayadi, President of EMEA and Director of EMNES. It is a result of collaborative research and contributions from EMNES researchers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia; and of EMEA researchers, fellows and experts.  Acknowledgement of reviews by members of EMEA Executive Board: Cinzia Alcidi and Carlo Sessa.

On April 15th 2020, EMEA launched its online knowledge and research collaborative open access platform  (EMEA collaborative platform), to facilitate collaborative research in times where social distancing has been one of the critical containment policies in all the countries affected by  COVID-19 :

Since events surrounding COVID-19 are unfolding at the time of writing, EMEA-EMNES research teams continue updating policy developments and the economic and social consequences of the pandemic throughout the Mediterranean and Africa. The updates are posted regularly on the EMEA collaborative platform.

Blue Transition Policy Roadmap: Towards Transparent, Responsible, Inclusive and Sustainable (TRIS) Development in the Mediterranean

Rym Ayadi, Carlo Sessa

This study describes a new strategic framework using the Three Horizons Methodology that engages experts, stakeholders and citizens in a participatory foresight exercise. Together they think ahead towards four entangled responsible transitions within the planetary system boundaries. The aim is to achieve “Transparent” governance, “Responsible” living, “Inclusive” economy and “Sustainable” energy and environmental goals – the so-called TRIS development model introduced by the authorsAmidst the global pandemic of Covid-19, this framework can guide policy responses to manage the medium and long term challenges facing our economies and societies.

The study introduces the Blue Transition Scenario (BTS) to develop the narratives of TRIS development in the Mediterranean. The narratives all have in common the mission of raising an “eco-system awareness” of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the Mediterranean – North, South and East – to move away from the current unsustainable development model, shaping instead a new pathway of development based on the three pillars: dialogue, a common purpose and project, regional coordinated strategies and roadmaps for a TRIS development of the whole region.  The narratives of the BTS were co-developed by EMNES team during 2018-19 to “imagine” the futures of the region. The BTS anchored in the TRIS development model guided EMNES researchers and fellows to produce the Blue Transition Policy Roadmap for the Mediterranean. The Roadmap covers the research undertaken by EMNES on governance, institutions, STI, private sector, labour, finance and trade. The Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, predicted by very few, shook the societies and economies around the globe. The propagation of the infection was quicker than the response capacity of the governments. This event should make us think about what future we want and how to achieve it.

About the Authors: Rym Ayadi is the President of EMEA, Director of EMNES and Professor at CASS Business School, City University of London; and Carlo Sessa is Member of the Executive Board of EMEA and Associate Member of EMNES.

Press release


Human Capital, Labour Market Friction and Migration in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia

Rym Ayadi and Jamel Trabelsi (Editors), Marwa Biltagy (Egypt), Nooh Alshyab and Ziad Abulila (Jordan), Najal El Makkaoui, Yeganeh Forouheshfar and Sara Loukili (Morocco), Rihab Bellakhal, Iyad Dhaoui, Wajdi Kthiri and Jamel Trabelsi (Tunisia)

This study provides an overview of the main characteristics of education systems and labour markets in four Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs) – namely Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia – and discusses the difficulties facing the youth in their transition from school to the labour market and the pressure for them to migrate. The analysis focuses on the latest trends in youth education, employment, and migration with a special focus on gender gaps and regional inequalities as presented in the four chapters by the country experts in this study.

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