Tunis, 18 September, 2013. The Mediterranean Economic Conference on “Employment and Territorial Development” took place on 17-18 September in Tunis. It was a unique platform for reflecting and sharing ideas and best practices to effectively address the issue of unemployment and business development in the region.
During the conference, two agreements were signed between different partners, namely the financing agreement between Shekra Crowd Fund and Injaz Al Arab, with the aim to offer financing opportunities to start-ups and innovative business ideas from Southern Mediterranean young entrepreneurs; and the Memorandum of Understanding between Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce et de l’Artisanat (UTICA) and the Union for the Mediterranean, with the aim to strengthen the support provided to SMEs in the Mediterranean countries, thus contributing to private sector development and job creation in the Mediterranean region.
The event witnessed the launch of the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs). Med4Jobs is a flagship regional programme developed by the UfM Secretariat to help increase the employability of youth and women in the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean region, leverage job creation and foster a culture of entrepreneurship and private sector development. The programme will identify and disseminate existing best practices, and will promote the implementation of concrete projects aimed to bridge the gap between job supply and demand.
On the margins of the conference, UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi held bilateral meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Othman Jerandi, and the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, at the headquarters of both institutions, in Tunis.
With an average unemployment rate of 25%, it is estimated that the Southern Mediterranean countries will need to create 22 million jobs by the year 2020 to cater for the new generations of youth and women entering the labour market. This conference, together with other projects and initiatives promoted by the Union for the Mediterranean seek to address the pressing need to take action in the field of job creation and business development to overcome such important challenge for the future of the region.