The courageous bet of the private sector on regional integration

This potential creates optimism and calls for action, especially since the poor progress of the integration process in North Africa is being increasingly criticized by all political and economic actors, mainly since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011. The private sector is one of these actors and seems to become more and more “entrepreneurial”, since it is largely perceived as a key driver of regional economic integration, capable of accelerating growth and meeting the challenge of innovation, unemployment’s reductionand promotion of trade.

So, are we about to witness the emergence of a new actor which ‐tired of waiting that the politicians of the region boost regional integration‐ decided to revive the process in its own way? Is the Maghreb private sector strong enough to lead this process? The answer is yes, because the private sector is about to expand the extent of its initiatives and prerogatives in the region. It is in this context that some recent initiatives of the North African private sector have taken place, including:
‐ A roundtable held in Tunisia in February 2013 by the Maghreb Economic Forum on “The Maghreb integration: a driver of job creation?” which underlined that there was no objective grounds for the Maghreb to remain disunited, since it is characterized by many greater unifying factors than differentiating ones. The meeting also identified the main integrating assets and avenues for action that exist in many areas such as energy, transport and interconnection of financial systems; and which provide real opportunities for the acceleration of sectoral cooperation that could lead to an increasing networking of Maghreb economies.

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