- The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and Mobile World Capital Barcelona signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their collaboration and partnership on addressing the digital needs and challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean Region.
- The UfM region has witnessed a growing digital divide between and within both shores of the Mediterranean, with an alarming digital skills gap in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, and a dire need to bolster digital connectivity and entrepreneurship.
Barcelona, 1 July 2021. Within the framework of the MWC Barcelona 2021, the UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel and Mobile World Capital Chief Executive Officer Carlos Grau signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations to consolidate their cooperation through the pursuit of regional and international initiatives to achieve common objectives in the fields of digital transformation, bridging the digital gap and promoting digital skills and entrepreneurship.
The Statement of the UfM Co-Presidency emanating from the 5th UfM Regional Forum 2020, on the 25th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process, identified digital transformation as one of the specific areas of priority on which to focus the UfM’s work in the coming years. Given its cross-cutting nature, the lessons of the pandemic, and its pertinence to a full spectrum of priority areas for the region, promoting digitalisation is an overarching goal of the UfM work.
The recently issued UfM Progress Report on Regional Integration clearly highlighted the need to build digital connectivity, invest in digital technologies and address the demand for digital skills in the UfM Region. The report mentioned notably that in 2017, only 8% of SMEs in the wider MENA region had an online presence (compared to 80% in the United States) and only 1.5% of the region’s retailers were online. The partnership with Mobile World Capital Barcelona responds to these identified gaps, and establishes an important framework for structured engagement between the two entities to fulfil their common agendas, with concrete co-organized events and activities already foreseen for the coming months.