The Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF) is an independent Think-and-Do Tank founded in 2011 on the premise of supporting economic and social development in the Maghreb region.
Our mission is to convene and mobilize diverse actors to catalyze sustainable economic and social development in the Maghreb. 
MEF believes that an informed, active citizenry is the key to building sustainable economies and inclusive societies.

In this endeavor, MEF operates by :

  • Conducting research and publish policy analysis on contemporary issues in the Maghreb
  • Fostering dialogue among key community stakeholders
  • Transforming research into impactful action

Independence Statement 

The Maghreb Economic Forum is rooted in the individual independence of our researchers; therefore, we do not take a stance in our research.

Our duties are to respect and protect academic liberty and to furnish a positive and productive working atmosphere, thereby allowing researchers to amplify the impact of their recommendations. We believe in promoting collaboration to advance the public good by working with foundations, universities, other Thinking groups, and the private sector, as well as with government representatives. Nevertheless, the MEF is committed to safeguarding its independence by establishing and setting guidelines for our donors, partners, researchers and other team members.

The MEF does not accept gifts from donors who wish to undermine or influence the independence of our research.
The MEF will never favor the interests of any political party, government (national or international), donor, or non-governmental organizations over the interests of the common good. In the case that an expert receives inappropriate pressure on his or her analysis, conclusions, research, or other activities, the expert must immediately inform the president and relevant members of the MEF. Any effort to influence the work or resource allocation of the MEF, as well as any relation that might cause a conflict of interest, must be divulged and resolved in accordance with our policy. The MEF is in compliance with the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates.

To see our financial documentation filed under accordance with Tunisian Law No. 2011-88, 24-Sept. 2011 please click here

Board of Trustees.

President of the Board

Slim Othmani

Slim Othmani has been heading NCA-Rouiba Juice Co. since 1999, after having spent seven years as Operations Manager in Fruital-Coca-Cola. Prior to this, he acted as the Regional Sales Manager, North Africa, for a Montreal-based technology firm called Alis Technologies.

He holds a Computer Science Engineering degree from the University of Mathematics and Computer Sciences in Tunis and an Executive MBA from the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunis. He is both a member and the co-founder of various Algerian entrepreneurial associations such as FCE (Forum des Chefs d’Entreprises); Club CARE (Club d’Action et de Reflexion autour de l’Entreprise); the Algerian Drink Producers Association (APAB); Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF) and Hawkama AlDjazaier.

He is also the former president of Injaz Al-Djazaier (a project launched by Injaz Al-Arab).


Board Member

Bahia El-Oudi

Bahia El Oddi is currently pursuing her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she received First Year Honors. Prior to that, Bahia worked at Google, managing projects to increase Google’s social impact in the cultural and education sectors through breakthrough technologies. Prior to Google, she worked as a consultant at Bain & Company in London, where she worked closely with top executives on international strategy, merger and acquisitions, and capital project improvements. She more recently led the strategy and the implementation plan of the Education Outcomes Fund in Morocco, working closely with the Ministry of Education and donors. Jointly with the Africa Leadership Academy, she was also engaged in the development of one of the first Education Accelerator in Africa aiming to support social entrepreneurs in the continent.
Originally from Morocco and conscious of the critical role of education in Africa’s social and economic development, she is engaged across Harvard University in projects evaluating the use of emerging technologies to transform education in emerging countries. Passionate about culture, she recently founded Dar El Oddi Cultural Center in Tetuan, Morocco. Bahia speaks English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Catalan

Board Member

Hedi Larbi

Dr. Hedi Larbi is currently an Associate Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, at the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative. He most recently served as Advisor to the MENA Vice President at the World Bank. Dr. Larbi has over 35 years of professional experience in economic and social development as both a policy advisor and policy maker. He served as both the Minister of Economic Infrastructure and Sustainable Development and the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Tunisia.

Board Member

Kamel Lazaar

Mr. Kamel Lazaar founded Swicorp in 1987 and serves as its Chairman. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Swicorp. Mr. Lazaar has firmly established Swicorp’s reputation as an innovative provider of business solutions. Before founding Swicorp, he served as Vice President of Citibank in North Africa and Europe and was part of the Citibank team that founded the Saudi-American Bank (Samba) in Saudi Arabia. He is a philanthropist and is president of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation; that promotes cultural initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East and has become a lighthouse in supporting art in the Arab world. He founded MEF in 2011 with a strong will of being a driver of economic development in Tunisia. He holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Tunis and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Tunis.

Secretary General

Amel Karboul

Dr. Amel Karboul is Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF) and Commissioner at the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunities.

Dr. Amel Karboul is a social entrepreneur, businesswoman, author and politician. She is passionate about working with leaders, teams and organizations assisting them in creating breakthroughs in their thinking and transforming themselves.

Master’s with honors in Mechanical Engineering, Karlsruhe Institute of technology (KIT), Germany; Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring, Oxford Brookes University, UK. Held leadership roles in Mercedes-Benz, DaimlerChrysler; senior consultant roles at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Beratergruppe Neuwaldegg.

Quickly became known as an award winning executive coach, published author and a trusted sparring partner for CEO’s of global organizations as well as family owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Visiting professor at DukeCE; member of the Global Diplomacy Lab; advisory board member of WTFL and GBCEd.

She was until Feb 2015 Minister of Tourism in the Tunisian transition government that has been appointed after the successful quartet negotiations and nominated as one of 10 leading young African politicians.

She recently published her newest book Coffin Corner; outlining a new leadership culture suited to the complexity and dynamics of the 21st century!

Advisory Board.

Advisory Board

Laverne Webb

Laverne Webb is a successful entrepreneur, CEO, federal government senior executive, nonprofit leader, leadership and organization development expert, and certified executive and career coach. Four decades of experience leading organizational transformation and change. She supports leaders who work in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environments to achieve personal and organizational results and impact.

She also conducts professional leadership development and coaching in these areas, working with international agencies, nonprofit organizations, private companies, universities, the UN System, and the US government, as well as individuals and entrepreneurs. Laverne Wevv brings a deep awareness drawn from decades of work in multicultural and cross-cultural environments.

Advisory Board

Kais Ben Sedrine

With his double profile mixing marketing and ICT, Kaïs Ben Sedrine is one of the best Digital marketing experts in Tunisia. He has been elaborating Digital marketing and social media strategies for major brands for 12 years. He defined and lead more than 150 digital campaigns (buzz marketing, social media, media buying…) during the last 6 years and he also assisted several brands with their digital strategies (Coca-Cola, Orange, Tunisiana, Tunisie Telecom, Nana, Nouvelair, Géant, Danone…)

He is the founder and manager of the interactive agency Wezign, one of the Digital marketing leaders in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria ( With its 22 experts, Wezign assists major brands and organizations such as Délice Danone, Géant, Libero Peaudouce, Orange, Coca-Cola Zero, Nana, Tempo, Asus, Goldina, Viva, Florida, Al naseem, Danup, Danette, Randa, BNA, Ettajdid, Peugeot, Traveltodo, Mazda, Tunisie Telecom…

Kaïs is also founder and manager of Weshirts, one of the first e-commerce experiences in textile in Tunisia. In addition to that he also founded the Digital University, a school specialized in professionnal training for digital marketing jobs. Since 2002 he is shareholder and an independent consultant at the TPA printing house.

Kaïs trained more than 150 people from all professionnal backgrounds in Tunisia and Algeria in the field of Digital marketing and he participated in more than 30 conferences on several  digital topics.

Advisory Board

Bassant Helmi

Ms Helmi is an expert in business and international relations with 22 years of working experience developing, managing & executing business projects in the MENA region and Germany. For the past 16 years, she has been the representative of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Berlin (GACIC) as well as Founder and CEO of the German non-profit organization, Global Project Partners e.V. She was chosen as a member of the Advisory Board of the GACIC in 2015.
Ms Helmi was responsible for the development & successful execution of a large number of projects specifically geared towards supporting Arab businesswomen, vocational and educational training, export consultancy for developing countries, knowledge transfer in the field of renewable energies and fair trade organisations. Ms Helmi is proficient in Arabic, German and English. She studied in Cairo and in London and has a MSc degree from the London School of Economics (LSE). As a German from Egyptian origin, she has developed a wide range of skills that make her uniquely qualified for building bridges of cooperation and mutual understanding between Germany and the MENA region.

Advisory Board

Houssem Jemili

Dr. Houssem Jemili leads the Public Sector and ICT practices of Roland Berger in the Middle East and is a Member of the Global Leadership Team of Roland Berger’s Civil Economics & Infrastructure Competence Center. Houssem serves several public sector institutions and clients in the ICT and Digital space on diverse topics, including growth strategies, performance transformation and technology enablement.

Houssem is particularly passionate about the impact of technology in the public services space and the way it can change the lives of millions of people. He leads several innovative digital projects in the Gulf, spanning a wide spectrum of industries – including eMobility, Travel and Logistics, and E-Government.

Prior to joining Roland Berger in 2013, Houssem spent 13 years at another top-tier consulting firm in Germany and Switzerland and co-led its Business Technology practice in the Middle East. He started his career in ICT at Siemens in Germany. He holds a Master’s degree with Distinction in Computer Science from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and a PhD in Information Management from the Technical University of Dresden, both in Germany.

Lars Christensen

He has a long experience as a speaking partner to multinational companies and financial institutions regarding global financial markets, the global economy and geopolitics. He is known for his no-nonsense, out-of-the-box views and as a lively and opinionated speaker. Lars Christensen worked five years as an economic policy analyst at the Danish Ministry of Economic Affairs (1996-2001). He has a master degree in Economics from the University of Copenhagen (1994). Lars is particularly known for having been Head of Emerging Markets Research at Danske Bank in Copenhagen. In this role he authored numerous path-breaking economic reports on particularly Central and Eastern Europe. In 2006-8 Lars co-authored a number of reports warning of a coming economic meltdown in Central and Eastern Europe and maybe most famously Lars co-authored the report “Geyser Crisis” in 2006, which correctly forecasted a major economic and financial crisis in Iceland. Lars Christensen is the author of the book “Milton Friedman – en pragmatisk revolutionær” (“Milton Friedman – a pragmatic revolutionary”) published in November 2002. He has contributed to numerous other books. Lars Christensen is internationally recognized as a specialist on the economic teachings of Milton Friedman and the history of monetary thought. Lars also blogs at His blog The Market Monetarist has since it was started in 2011 become one of the leading international blogs on monetary policy. Lars has coined the name Market Monetarism. Market Monetarism is a new school of economic thought that has emerged primarily in the blogosphere. Market Monetarists like Lars advocate that central banks should target the nominal GDP level (NGDP level targeting). Furthermore, Lars has a strong interest in monetary policy for commodity exporting countries and he is advocating that commodity exporting countries could benefit from introducing what he has termed an Export Price Norm (EPN), where the commodity exporting country is pegging its exchange rate to a basket of currencies and the price of the commodity the country exports. Lars has been advising governments of oil exporting countries on monetary matters.Lars Christensen also sits on the Advisory Board of the Maghreb Economic Forum in Tunisia. Lars is widely quoted by most international financials media – Financial Times, The Telegraph Bloomberg, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswire etc.

Advisory Board

Professor Fethi Mansouri

Professor Fethi Mansouri holds the UNESCO Chair in comparative research on ‘Cultural Diversity and Social Justice’ and an Alfred Deakin Research Chair in migration and intercultural studies. Professor Mansouri is the Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University-Australia. He is the editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies, founding Editor-in- Chief of the journal of citizenship and Globalisation Studies and founding co-editor of the international journal of Social Inclusion. Since 2010, Professor has been serving as an expert advisor to the UN on cultural diversity, intercultural relations and the role of ‘culture’ as the fourth pillar for sustainable development.

His most influential books include: ‘Islam and Political Violence: Muslim Diaspora and Radicalism in the West’, (2007); ‘Political Islam and Human Security’ (2008); ‘Identity, Education, and Belonging: Arab and Muslim Youth in Contemporary Australia’ (2008); ‘Youth Identity and Migration: Culture, Values and Social Connectedness’ (2009); ‘Australia and the Middle East: A Frontline Relationship’ (2011, second edition); and ‘Migration, Citizenship and Intercultural Relations: Looking Through the Lens of Social Inclusion’ (2011). His most recent books include: ‘Muslims in the West and the Challenges of Belonging’ (2012); ‘The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a Changing Middle East’ (2012); ‘Global Perspectives on the Politics of Multiculturalism’ (2014) and ‘The Multicultural Challenge’ (2015). Professor Mansouri’s 2004 book ‘Lives in Limbo: Voices of Refugees under Temporary Protection’ was short-listed for the 2004 Human Rights Medals and Awards.

Advisory Board

Rabah Arezki

Rabah Arezki heads the commodities research team in the IMF Research Department. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution and at the University of Oxford. During his career at the Fund, he has worked in the IMF Institute and Africa, Fiscal Affairs, Middle East and Central Asia Departments. He has led and participated in various IMF missions such as surveillance, program, training and technical assistance in West Africa, Gulf Countries, Iraq, Liberia and the Maghreb. He has delivered lectures at IMF regional training centers in Austria, Kuwait and throughout Africa as well as at academic institutions in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Rabah has written on commodities, international macroeconomics and development economics. He has published widely in academic and other journals, including the Economic Journal, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, the European Economic Review, the World Bank Economic Review, the Journal of International Money and Finance, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and World Development. He has also been cited in leading magazines and newspapers, including The Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Les Echos, El Mundo, Il Sole 24 Ore. He is also a frequent contributor to Finance and Development magazine and is the Editor of the IMF Research Bulletin. He has co-edited two books published by the International Monetary Fund. The first is entitled Beyond the Curse: Policies to Harness the Power of Natural Resources and was published in 2011.

The second co-edited book on “Commodity Price Volatility and Inclusive Growth in Low-Income Countries” was published in 2012. He has co-edited several special issues including of the Journal of Money Credit and Banking, the Journal of International Money and Finance, Oxford Economic Papers, and the Journal of African Economies. He obtained his M.Sc. from the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique in Paris, France and his PhD from the European University Institute, in Florence, Italy.


Slim Bahrini

Executive Director

Slim Bahrini

Slim is the Executive Director of the Maghreb Economic Forum. He joined MEF in December 2017 as the Director of Communications before taking on his current position in 2018. Over the past eight years, Slim has overseen several civil society projects related to youth leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship in North Africa. Before joining MEF, Slim worked with Article 19, a Tunisian organization focused on access to information and freedom of expression. He is an experienced trainer with expertise on non-profit leadership, communication strategies, community outreach, and marketing. He speaks French, English, and Arabic.

Nabil Barkati


Nabil Barkati

Nabil Barkati is a researcher at the Maghreb Economic Forum working on the research study “Tackling Youth Radicalization in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia Through Inclusion”. He has worked in several initiatives related to mitigating and preventing Violent Extremism in Tunisia since 2012. For instance, he worked on advocating alternative messaging as a tool to prevent and counter Violent Extremism. He, also, has been part of an initiative that promotes youth leadership to reinforce community resilience to radicalization. Additionally, Nabil worked on a project that worked on measuring youth susceptibility to violent extremism in vulnerable areas in Tunisia in order to reinforce youth resilience to radicalization and extremism.


Imen Al-Nighaoui

Research Assistant

Imen Al-Nighaoui

Imen is a Research Assistant and Data Analyst at the Maghreb Economic Forum. In her free time, she is an activist blogger for UNICEF Voices of Youth as well as Climate Tracker, a global network of young journalists publishing works on climate change. She holds a Master’s degree in Translation Studies from Le Faculté des Lettres et des Humanités de la Manouba. Imen speaks Arabic, English, French, and Turkish

Nizar Ben Salah

Lead Researcher

Nizar Ben Salah

Nizar is a Lead Researcher at the Maghreb Economic Forum. He has worked on several youth empowerment and positive youth development projects in North Africa with organizations such as Badr, iDebate, and UNESCO. Formerly an engineer, Nizar is interested in how technology can impact social change in the Maghreb.

Roland Gillah


Roland Gillah

Roland is a Researcher at the Maghreb Economic Forum, where he studies the deradicalization and disengagement of returning foreign fighters. Before joining MEF, he worked as Senior Analyst at BMNT Partners, a civil-military relations firm based in Silicon Valley, where he focused on identifying risks faced by military personnel in conflict zones and rapidly fielding technological solutions. Roland graduated from Tufts University where he studied International Relations, French, and Arabic.

Chourouk Amouri

Lazord Fellow

Chourouk Amouri

Chourouk is a Lazord Fellow at the Maghreb Economic Forum. She is currently studying for her Master of Entrepreneurship at Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales Carthage. She has volunteered with the feminist art festival “Chouftouhonna” in Tunis and was a participant of the Study of the U.S. Institutions Exchange Program, where she focused on women’s leadership. Chorouk speaks Arabic, French, and English.

Francesca Romana Russo

Executive Assistant

Francesca Romana Russo

Francesca is the Executive Assistant at the Maghreb Economic Forum. She holds a Master of Science degree in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and she has been trained in policy analysis of Euro-Mediterranean Relations at the International Affairs Institute in Rome. Her Master’s thesis was entitled “The Evolution of Hezbollah’s Stance on Lebanese Confessionalism and Sectarianism: An Intra-Shi’a Political-Economic Perspective”.  Francesca speaks Italian, English and Arabic.