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North Africa: Private sectors have a key role to play in economic recovery, resilience

20 July, 2022
North Africa: Private sectors have a key role to play in economic recovery, resilience

Tangier, 20 July 2022 (ECA) - The ECA Office for North Africa launched today a workshop on “Scaling-up the private sector participation in North Africa,” in partnership with the Abdelmalek Essaadi University and the National SchoolofBusinessandManagementof Tangier (ENCGT).

This event is taking place in Tangier on 20-22 July with the aim of providing practitioners, policy makers, development institution representatives and academics with a platform to exchange views on policies and best practices on strengthening private sectors’ role in North Africa. In addition, participants are drawing the outlines of a roadmap on this issue while accounting for the country specificities.

“In the current economic context, North African public sectors have very limited room to invest, and for countercyclical policies more broadly. This also underscores the growing need for a higher private sector involvement in greening the economy and in addressing social issues such as poverty and food insecurity. We need to understand what continues to hold the private sector back and challenges related to relatively low growth, limited labour utilization and subdued labour productivity in the region,” said Zuzana Brixiova Schwidrowski, Director of the ECA office for North Africa.

The imperative to raise private sector participation in North African economies is not a new topic, but it is an important one: despite being home to some of Africa’s largest economies, North Africa only accounts for 15 percent of Africa’s private investment, Ms Brixiova Schwidrowski added.

“We are currently going through a period of uncertainty characterised by a combination of cyclical and structural trends, with new COVID-19 variants, the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, inflationary pressures and low labour force participation. The North African development model, which is mainly based on public investments, is reaching its limits when it comes to job creation, poverty reduction and green transition. This underscores the need for a higher private sector inclusion”, said Nabil Jedlane, Professor of Economics at ENCG Tangier.

Participants at the meeting are also discussing six key aspects that can facilitate the building of a thriving private sector in North Africa:

  • How countries can create a favourable ecosystem for private companies through conducive regulations and policies

  • How to facilitate small businesses’ access to finance trough new sources of funding in addition to the traditional sources such as the banking sector

  • National and regional value chains and the policies needed to enhance countries’ inclusion in higher added value segments and to secure better linkages with national economies.

  • How to solve mismatches between skills provided by formal education systems and those demanded by the private sector.

  • Opportunities stemming from North African countries’ so far limited innovation capacity, its impact on job creation and income generation.

  • North Africa’s transition to the green economy given its countries’ large exposure to climate change and how the private sector can play a key role in this transformation.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826