Barcelona, 9 June 2015. Private sector development is key to seizing existing business opportunities and fostering regional integration in the Mediterranean by raising intra-regional trade levels. Currently, this accounts for only 5% of the Southern Mediterranean countries’ total foreign trade. This figure is low compared to rates of 65% among EU countries, 22% in ASEAN countries and 19% among MERCOSUR countries.
The agreement signed by the UfM Secretariat and Businessmed aims to support the development of the Mediterranean business community and to advance collaboration mechanisms designed to achieve a better understanding of the private sector in the region and the challenges facing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent 90% of the existing companies in these countries. Both institutions will cooperate on specific activities to help develop an investment-friendly environment and thus foster private sector initiatives that can contribute to stable, sustainable and enduring economic growth.
The Secretary General of the UfM, Fathallah Sijilmassi, and the President of Businessmed, Jacques Jean Sarraf, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at the UfM headquarters in Barcelona.
This agreement is in line within the UfM strategy to strengthen relations with the private sector and promote inclusive growth and increased integration in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The UfM Secretariat seeks to encourage private sector participation in UfM initiatives and projects, as this will bring expertise and engagement in projects, potential funding contributions and the development of new initiatives within the Secretariat’s fields of action.