The Mediterranean region is undergoing major social, political and economic changes which place unprecedented pressure on governments and international organisations in the region to urgently provide solutions for a better future. The conclusions from the MENA-OECD High Level Consultation held at the OECD in Paris on 16th May 2011 identified skills for employment and skills for entrepreneurship and SME development as key themes for the region to tackle the high unemployment, particularly for youth.
Economic objectives can not be reached without delivering services that foster jobs, the development of SMEs and the integration of women in socio-economic development. Targeted solutions tailored to the characteristics of each country are needed, as well as better horizontal coordination of government departments and alignment of different levels of government – the local level is a key area where national strategies and services are deployed.
Within this framework, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme, in collaboration with the City of Barcelona, co-organised an expert meeting to discuss pathways for employment, skills and entrepreneurship strategies in the Mediterranean region. The expert meeting brought together Ministries of Labour, Ministries of Education and practitioners to discuss local skills development and its link to local job creation and sustainable growth, especially in the numerous SMEs in the region.
Countries had the opportunity to join forces to discuss skills availability, skills upgrading, skills mismatch, skills for new areas of employment growth and the integration of skills and employment plans for solid employment strategies at the local level. The meeting discussed operational pathways to address high youth unemployment as well as skills development for women’s integration in local labour markets and developing the best environment for SMEs to thrive.
The event was organised as an experts’ discussion. Participants in the meeting discussed strategies and actions for skills for employment and entrepreneurship in Mediterranean countries drawing from the experiences and the best practices of the OECD and countries in the region.
Theme I: The 3 ‘Es’ for fostering jobs for youth: Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship
As countries around the world emerge from the financial crisis with slow employment recovery, Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Algeria are mobilizing efforts to address high youth unemployment and foster job creation. How can Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship be combined and fostered for integration of young people in the labour market? Is there enough autonomy and capacity in the education and training sector? What examples of initiatives exist in the Mediterranean and OECD countries?
Youth Migration Intentions after January 25 Reham Hussain, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Regional Office for the Middle East - Egypt
The Danish experience of integrating youth in the labour market Jan Hendeliowitz, Director, Employment Region Greater Copenhagen & Zealand, The Danish National Labour Market Authority and Chair of the OECD LEED Committee
Barcelona Employment Strategy for Young People Lorena Ventura, Director of Employment, Barcelona Activa
The Social Economy in the Mediterranean: impact on job creation for young people Carlos Lozano, Coordinator, Euro-mediterranean Network of Social Economy (ESMED) / Spanish Business Confederation of Social Economy (CEPES)
Theme II: Innovative approaches to foster entrepreneurship and SMEs
The Mediterranean region is rich in entrepreneurs and small firm formation. Innovative approaches to skills and talent development can foster a high-growth business environment with higher potential for job creation particularly in SMEs. How can entrepreneurship skills policies best contribute to sustainable employment creation? In which areas of business growth? What experiences exist for fostering entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean?
Preparing Mediterranean Entrepreneurs Joseph Mifsud, Professor, President of University EMUNI Dominique Chesneau, Professor, Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Risk Science (IEMSR) Tatiana Krylova, Head of Division Investment & Business UNCTAD (Empretec Programme)
Entrepreneurship Development in SMEs in Turkey Ayşegül Çelik, KOSGEB, Turkey
Fostering Youth Entrepreneurship Rashad Bibars, Senior Director, BDC Business Development Centre, Jordan
Innovative approach to foster entrepreneurship and SMEs Michele Dau, Deputy Secretary General CNEL; Vice-chair, LEED Directing Committee; Chairman of the OECD Trento Centre
Theme III: Skills development to empower Mediterranean women
Integrating women in the labour market and empowering them to reach their full potential through entrepreneurship will bring significant talent and innovation to business activity in the Mediterranean region. Skills programs and initiatives from the region can be contrasted with those from OECD countries. In what areas are women’s business talents concentrated? What are the barriers for skills development participation? What are the challenges for career development and entrepreneurship? What experiences and best practices exist from Mediterranean countries?
Women’s employability in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Outi Kärkkinen,, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Unit, Geographical Operations Department of the European Training Fundation (ETF)
Palestinian female labor market participation Hilda Awwad, President, Ramallah Club Business and Professional Women (BPW)
Theme IV: From theory to practice: Tools for developing employment and job-rich entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean
The design of skills and employment strategies and programmes should respond to local conditions and challenges, and should involve a wide range of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to optimize the relevance and impact of such strategies. How can we forge better partnerships for skills for employment and entrepreneurship with such stakeholders? What are the obstacles to a joined-up approach? How can investments and talent from the Mediterranean Diaspora be better utilized? What are the key proposals and ideas discussed today? What operational pathways can be proposed?
Diasporas: gateways for investment, entrepreneurship and innovation in the Mediterranean Samir Abdelkrim, ANIMA Investment Network, Marseille
Local employment, skills and entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean Rym Ayadi, Head, Financial Institutions, Mediterranean Prospects, Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
Barcelona strategy to foster Entrepreneurship and Business growth Anna Molero, Managing Director, Barcelona Activa
Policy makers from education and employment ministries, government employment agencies, and local government bodies, from Mediterranean and OECD countries. Relevant employers, technical and vocational education and training institutions, SMEs associations and bodies, community-based organizations and institutions actively involved in labor, employment and entrepreneurship issues across Mediterranean countries.
Watch several interviews to Ministries of Labour, Ministries of Education and practitioners discussing pathways for employment, skills and entrepreneurship strategies in the Mediterranean region.