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Trade and Investment: the current crises are generating opportunities

10 March, 2023
Trade and Investment: the current crises are generating opportunities

Rabat, March 10, 2023 (ECA) - The Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences of Souissi, Rabat concluded on March 10 the 14th International Colloquium of Rabat (9-10 March 2023) under the theme: "Trade and investment in a context of crises".

Several prominent researchers and decision-makers from the Mediterranean region and Africa took part in the meeting, which was held with support from the ECA Office for North Africa.

Key messages included the fact that the current “poly-crisis” i.e. multiple, ongoing crises (geopolitical; health, climate, food and energy related) are currently redefining the very foundations of resilience and generating a window of “poly-opportunities” for national economies. As a result, decision-makers are currently faced with an opportunity to reorient growth so as to make it greener and more inclusive, accelerate investment in new technologies and integrate more value chains to speed up their own development while helping secure global trade and supply for the rest of the world.

The construction of an integrated and united economic space such as the AfCFTA in Africa is becoming imperative given the deep impact of recent changes such as COVID-19 or the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the global and regional environment, including through the rise in trade tensions and the reconfiguration of supply chains.

“As firms around the world are planning for contingencies and searching for reliable trading partners, the AfCFTA gives North African countries a great opportunity to establish new trade and other links with the rest of the continent,” said Zuzana Brixiova Schwidrowski, Director of the ECA office for North Africa.

“One cannot talk about investment and trade in countries without mentioning human capital, and therefore migration.85 percent of African migration flows are taking place within the continent. To enable countries of destination and origin to fully seize the opportunities of migration and take advantage of migrants’ skills, they must equip themselves with the necessary architecture (legal, financial, social and cultural framework; skills and qualifications; regulations), said Samia Hamouda, an expert at the ECA Office for North Africa.

The 14th International Colloquium of Rabat was organized by the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences of Souissi Rabat with support from the WTO Chair of the Mohammed V University of Rabat, the WTO Chairs program, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Euromed University of Fez, the Souissi Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences, the Laboratory for Applied Development Economics (LEADToulon University)and the Laboratory of Legal and Political Studies and Research (LERJP, Mohammed V University of Rabat).

According to Azzedine Ghoufrane, Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences - Souissi and WTO Chair at the Mohammed V University of Rabat, "There is a multidimensional nature to the poly-crisis currently affecting trade; investment; development; multilateralism; the rule of international law as well as human security. It is within this unstable, uncertain and complex international context that researchers and practitioners have been invited to take part in this event to reflect and discuss international connection development, global value chain adaptation, the future of multilateralism and the resilience of the economies and societies in developing countries and in the region in the face of shocks and successive crises.

The meeting aimed to facilitate exchanges between African and Mediterranean researchers on the impact of the current "poly-crisis" on trade and investment and the adaptation of global value chains to international shocks; the social and economic implications of the multiple crises on African countries and in particular those on the Southern Mediterranean shore; and the challenges to be addressed through multilateral and regional approaches to cooperation.

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