Energy cooperation in the Mediterranean Countries

  • 28 July 2014

The problems related to increased demand in the energy sector in the Mediterranean area are undoubtedly influenced by population growth, economic development and urbanization. A harmonious development of the countries of the two shores passes for effective co-operation between Europe and the Mediterranean countries.

The increase in the use of clean energy and sustainable solutions, however, requires a substantial investment in infrastructure and energy efficiency, but also reforms in the sector, from transparent regulatory frameworks, programmable and sustainable. Energy safe, sustainable and cost-effective-in fact-is a priority for the countries on both shores of the Mediterranean (Europe, North Africa and the Middle East) and is a key factor of stability and prosperity in the region.

In accordance with the above, therefore, the euro-Mediterranean integration in the energy sector is a prerequisite for development in the north as in the south.

Analyzing the situation in particular it’s clear that in the northern shores of the Mediterranean energy demand has decreased (due to the crisis), while it is growing in the south. The largest gaps are found in the area of ​​integration: in fact, trade between the countries of the southern Mediterranean do not represent more than 5% of the total (according to data of the Union for the Mediterranean), and even less between the Maghreb countries (3%). If, therefore, in the past it was possible think about a renewable energy production in the south for consumption of the north, now it’s necessary a trading system more complex and articulated, able to meet changes in demand both on the north-south on that of the countries of North Africa.

Appears -beyond doubt- that the need for greater regional integration, in terms of energy infrastructure and transport, both on the euro-Mediterranean north-south on the south-south between Africa and the Middle East. “Energy and Transport, in fact, are the key words for the future of the area and are also at the center of the Italian Presidency of the EU – said Enrico Granara, coordinator of the euro Mediterranean policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

In the general landscape there is an increased interest of the countries of Southern Africa (from Morocco to Algeria, from Tunisia to Egypt) to develop renewable energy sources, to allocate production of oil and gas exports but also to find their own in ‘energy’ green ‘a driving force for economic growth and creating new jobs.

Two Italian associations (Med-Tso, an association that brings together the 17 countries of the euro-med and Medreg, a union of 24 regulators) are convinced that Italy can coordinate a strategic issue for the entire region, as well as Italy would have much to say in terms of renewable energy development and regulation of the energy flows.

Surely this issue is not just an Italian or European problem. A recent conference organized by the Arab League in Hurghada, Egypt, showed how the Arab countries are open to all forms of international cooperation and look to partners in Asia – from China to Japan and Malaysia – and forms of co-financing very diversified. The economies of the Gulf -obviously- are increasingly active in investing in that Africa towards northern Italy which also looks naturally.

In any case, it is observed at the Minister of Foreign Affairs, also the role UFM is expected to grow. It’s demonstrate by the conclusions of the meeting in Athens last May of Environment Ministers of the 43 EU countries, which have created a regional group of experts on climate change for cooperation in the Mediterranean, whose work should be completed in October, just in time for the energy conference in Rome. As noted then, the European Commissioner Janez Potocnik, in fact, “the Mediterranean region is particularly sensitive to climate change, and at the same time has a great potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the consumption of resources.”



Fishing industry in Morocco

  • 18 July 2014

Equipped with a coastline of 3,500 km of high biodiversity in the marine environment, Morocco has a high potential for fishing, which plays an important role in the economic and social development of the country. Similarly, the processing industry and exploitation of fish products occupies a privileged place in the Moroccan economy, providing 50% of the agro-food exports and 12% of the total exports of Morocco. Processing plants in Morocco treat more than 70% of fish landed by the fishing fleet, and the products are distributed in more than 100 destinations around the world.

With the support plan for the fisheries sector, called Halieutis, the new country’s strategy is aimed at four main goals for 2020, namely:

  • Increase the sector’s turnover to 22 billion dirhams (€ 2 billion).
  • Increased exports to 17 billion dirhams (1.5 billion euro).
  • Move the local consumption at 16 kg per capita / year (from ten current)
  • Increase direct employment of 115,000 workers on the ground.

Business opportunities for Italian companies, manufacturers of systems and equipment for the industry, are present in the following areas:

  • Production of canned fish, especially canned sardines
  • Freezing of fish
  • Processing and packaging of fresh fish for export.
  • Treatment of algae and the production of Agar-agar.


The characteristics of hydro – climatic Atlantic coast of Morocco make the region one of the most productive in the world in terms of fish.

The important biological potential in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Morocco and the increase in global demand for sea products offer sound investment opportunities for operators Moroccans and foreigners. These two elements have changed the practices and structures of the sector at all levels, from management to marketing, through the exploitation of new technologies, institutional organizations and professional development.

Over the past forty years, this activity has evolved from artisanal and semi-artisanal fishing, which aimed primarily to pelagic species in most industrialized activity, which focuses on species with greater added value, export-oriented.

In view of his vocation as a major exporter of fish and to meet the needs of the market, Morocco has a modern infrastructure and has implemented a policy of development of the sector, in which the key words are “quality – competitiveness.”

With 412 processing plants on the ground, 319 fishing vessels and about 62,600 industrial direct jobs, the Moroccan fishing industry generates an average turnover of 1.4 billion euro. According to the National Federation of Industries Products Processing and Enhancement of Fisheries (FENIP), the sector occupies a privileged place in the Moroccan economy, producing 50% of food exports and 12% of the total exports of Morocco.


With regard to the consumption of fishery products, within the same Morocco, is currently around 10-12 kg per inhabitant per year, lower than the average level recommended by FAO. In this context, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has launched a promotion campaign in favour of the consumption of seafood products. This operation, conducted by the National Fisheries (ONP), was designed to inform and sensitize the public on the benefits of marine products on human health. The objective is to create an increase in the regular consumption of fish products. The transaction fits in line with the new policy of institutional marketing for the promotion of national and international of all the products of the sea Moroccan, announced in 2013 by the Department of Fisheries of the sea.

At the national level, a major effort was undertaken to improve the quality of fish products. However, the domestic consumption of fish for Morocco is hard to take off because of the relatively high prices of different varieties of fish. The length of the chain (commercial intermediaries between the fisherman and the consumer) weighs heavily on the final price. The vast majority of sea products (about 70%) are exported.


The potential for the export of seafood Moroccan is remarkable in light of the growth in global consumption of fish and its derivatives, despite a progressive scarcity of resources globally.


Processing industries in Morocco treat more than 70% of fish landed by the local fleet and its products are exported to more than 100 destinations around the world. Morocco is now a key platform for the export of fish products to the most demanding markets.

The chain of Moroccan preserved (boxing) of the fish is the result of a long evolution and accumulation of know-how. It currently includes more than 30 units of active treatment, which offers annual processing capacity of 300,000 tons of raw material and employing 21,000 employees between permanent and seasonal.

The chain of semi – preserves, however, focuses on the treatment and salting anchovies and marinated seafood products. This sector consists of approximately 20 units of production. It provides 6,000 direct jobs, including 1,000 permanent and 5,000 seasonal workers.

The chain of freezing occupies an important place in the fishing industry. Most of the units freezing are concentrated in the southern part of the country due to the development of fisheries and pelagic cephalopods. It employs around 6,000 employees.

The chain includes about 50 fresh-conditioning units, which employ about 2,000 permanent employees and 1,000 seasonal workers. The industry turns annually about 42,000 tons of white fish, destined mainly for European markets, including Spain occupies a share of nearly 73%.

With regard to the industry of flour and fish oil, this sector is active in Morocco from the 40s and has been a significant development in the last twenty years. The business is conducted by approximately 30 production units located primarily in the ports of Agadir, Safi, Tan Tan, Essaouira and Laayoune. The industry of flour and fish oil occupies nearly 1,000 jobs and caters to fishermen sardines, about 8,000 sailors.

Processing industry of algae (agar extraction industry) has over 50 years of business in Morocco. During this half-century of existence, the industry has sought to develop a maximum exploitation of this renewable natural raw material of the coast that has algae. This sector in Morocco has managed to climb to second in the world in exports of agar.

It is worth noting that, on the Moroccan market, the fish has not adequately assessed the extent to which more than half is devoted to fishing industries-product (oil and fish meal), while the transformation for human consumption is based on only three types of products, namely: canned, frozen and fresh. Similarly, a significant part of the catch is exported without any processing (90% of the catches of pelagic fish and white). Moreover, fishing in Morocco is dominated by pelagic fish (sardines and mackerel) that totals 800,000 T, out of a total of 1,116,650 T, 70% in quantity and less than 27% in value. If the statistics show an overall increase of fish, what ‘is mainly due to better management of data and the gradual emergence of fishing “informal” (economic activity not declared to the tax authorities). The industries of fishmeal transform more than 206,512 tons per year, corresponding to 26% of the catch, which is devalued by the protein layer on a less noble.

It is also interesting to analyse how the contribution of aquaculture to the total production of the fisheries sector still remains modest, with only 330 tons in 2013 this production is practiced mainly in the Bay of Dakhla, which helps with a volume of 280 tons of oysters, 84% of the total volume. The Regions of M’diq, respectively F’nideq and Oualidia collect 37 tons of sea bass and sea bream, 13 tonnes of mussels and 3 tons of oysters. The Moroccan government intends to make aquaculture an essential branch of the fisheries sector. This activity contributes to the reconstruction and regeneration of stocks that are overfished and helps to ensure food safety. The plan for the sector provides for an annual production of 200,000 tons by 2020.

For this reason, Morocco has signed, on April 14, 2014, ten conventions concerning the development of aquaculture projects in the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Dakhla) and the Mediterranean, for a total investment of 1.3 billion dirhams (116 million euro).


In recent years, the fishing industry and fish processing sector has begun an ambitious strategy called HALIEUTIS. With major budget, this plan aims to modernize the sector, improve the competitiveness of its various components and promote the consumption of fish.

The plan Halieutis aims to increase the production of the Moroccan fishing and to triple production by 2020 this strategy also aims to modernize the various segments of the industry and set up a system of sectorial governance, which allows a gradual transfer of power regions and the private sector, promoting an effective dialogue between the government and the fishing industry professionals.

The new strategy is based on three main areas:

  • Sustainable use of resources and the promotion of responsible fishing;
  • The development of efficient fishing activities in order to improve the chain of manufacture of the product;
  • The strengthening of competitiveness to conquer new markets
  • The strategy will be pursued through:
  • Traceability
  • Reduce the informal economy for better traceability. To do this, we plan to implement the spaces in ports dedicated to fishing and to ensure better quality control of the products of the sea and the price mechanism.
  • Access to raw material
  • Support access to raw materials and to facilitate their introduction on the market. To achieve this goal, it is planned to create competitiveness clusters, in Morocco, in order to promote the improvement of the products and to extend their range.
  • Improve working conditions. The objective is to stabilize the amortization schedules of the vessels (10% minimum) and equip them with 100% cold storage. The new strategy aims to improve the living and working conditions of fishermen. It is organized professional representation and a transparent dialogue between the government and the industry, through the gradual transfer of power to the regions and the private sector.
  • Consolidate and share scientific knowledge. This measure is aimed at developing an inventory of fish stocks and a classification of the different species available for Morocco. In addition, this information will help to develop an integrated information system of fishing.
  • Labelling strategy. The national strategy for the fisheries sector has set up a label to better differentiate the Moroccan offer. In fact, the labelling which is intended to be implemented product differentiation in the industry, offering specific strengths to give confidence to the consumer at the time of purchase. The measure is available at national and international level on main product groups:
    • small pelagic fish,
    • large pelagic fish,
    • cephalopods,
    • white fish
    • shellfish

The brand chosen for the internal market is “Hout bladi, bladi min khir”, which means “the fish of my country, the wealth of my country,” while the slogan that has maintained an international level “Fish Moroccan approved quality”

  • In parallel, a comprehensive institutional marketing campaign around the concepts of health, diversity, sustainability, authenticity and tradition of the Moroccan fish is disseminated through communication channels. The total cost of public awareness that will be taken is estimated at 30 million dirhams in over two years (2.6 million euro).

The tax incentives granted to marine fisheries include the deduction of the cost of fuel on the turnover generated by the sale of the fish. Moreover, fishing exempted import, VAT and VAT to the “inside” of certain products or transactions. The exemption from VAT, however, is not automatic. Finally, the 2009 Budget Law establishes a trust fund called the Development Fund of sea fishing that will be used, among other things, for the support of scientific research; modernization of the fleet; strengthening the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing; support programs for sustainable fisheries management and the promotion of quality development.




With a coastline of 3500 km and a high diversity of marine resources, Morocco has a high potential for fish. Fishing plays an important role in the economic and social life, is a true engine of economic and social development of the country. Similarly, the processing industry and enhancement of fishery products occupies a privileged place in the Moroccan economy, providing 50% of the agro-food exports and 12% of global exports of Morocco. Processing plants Moroccans treat more than 70% of fish landed by the fishing fleet, and the products are distributed in more than 100 destinations around the world. Morocco now has a modern regional platform for the export of fish products to the most demanding markets.


The fisheries sector in Morocco is very little industrial. In fact, the transformation and exploitation of fish resources remain undeveloped due to the lack of industrial investment, but also and above all because of a serious lack of technical expertise to develop the sector.


With the plan Halieutis, the new strategy of the country regarding the industry has four main objectives for 2020:

• Increase the total turnover of the sector to nearly 2 billion euro.

• Increase in exports to 1.5 billion euro.

• Bring local consumption of 16 kg per capita.

• Increase in direct employment land for 115,000 jobs.

Business opportunities for Italian companies are presented in the following areas:

• Tools and industrial equipment for the production of preserved foods, especially canned sardines

• Tools and equipment, industrial, freeze the fish.

• Tools and industrial equipment for the packaging of fresh fish for export.


The local consumption of fish products is still limited, because of the cost to the detail, determined by the chain too long of intermediaries.












Tunisia: start of the selections of the 18 entrepreneurs SEED EURO MED

  • 10 July 2014

Under the new European program SEED EURO-MED – Lab’ESS, Laboratory of Social and Solidarity Economy (the selected structure in Tunisia to host the new European program) launched on July 8, 2014, the first session of the selection of candidates for the exchange program for social entrepreneurs.

The program plans to send 18 social entrepreneurs Tunisians in one of the five selected countries (Britain, France, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) and at the same time accommodate the foreign ones in Tunisia.

The main purpose of the project Social Entrepreneur Exchange and Development for the Euro-Mediterranean Region (SEED EURO-MED) is to strengthen the social entrepreneurship in North Africa and support the learning peer-to-peer communication between entrepreneurs and would-be in EU countries and in the countries of the Mediterranean. It also aims to develop the political scenario in order to allow an appropriate environment for the development of entrepreneurship (social) at regional and national level in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

The SEED EURO-MED program allows, through mutual learning and intercultural dialogue, to create exchanges of experiences between social enterprises of the two sides of the Mediterranean, but also among the neighboring countries of the South project, which started in March 2014, will have a term of two and a half years and can count on a co-financing from the European Commission of € 277 thousand, out of a total budget of 300 000, thanks to the new ‘Euro-Mediterranean Initiative for Youth Employment Promotion’ EuropeAid.

The countries involved in the experience IMMIGRATION SEED pilot are the European Great Britain and France along with Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

The spokesman dell’Euclid Network – the main partner of the consortium participants, who will coordinate the work and ensure the achievement of the objectives of trade and the political process that leads to overcoming barriers to entrepreneurship in the region – said: “SEED EUROMED arises two objectives: to disseminate knowledge and strengthen ties between the two sides, to strengthen the company and reduce unemployment on the one hand, try to minimize the barriers to business creation in the target countries. The project is open to social enterprises, which are not for profit, but only to bring benefits to communities, for example by creating greater social integration involving minority of the population in an economic activity, or giving jobs to people living in difficult contexts. The sectors may be many, than agriculture, that the lives of the critical crisis, with technology, energy, as well as the creative and cultural. In this way – he added – is given the opportunity for participants to learn and stand side by side, for a period of one to three months, with another entrepreneur who has more experience in the same type of activity. The ultimate goal – he concludes – is creating new businesses from the development of a business plan and contacts in a country other than their own, perhaps finding business partners in the long run”.

During this period, the entrepreneurs receive financial support, information, preparation, and coaching staff to realize their project. Développement Sans Frontières Tunisie (project Lab’ESS) and Comptoir de l’Innovation (France) launched the project in Tunisia with three other partners: Euclid Network (UK), Jeunes et Leaders Marocains MEDAFCO (Algeria) with the support of the Commission European Union. Applications are available until Friday, September 26, 2014.



Development of youth employment in the euro-Mediterranean region: a Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica initiative

  • 9 July 2014

The Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica promotes youth entrepreneurship in the euro-Mediterranean and international relations, in support of the Expo Milano 2015. Indeed, the project plans to select 115 entrepreneurs (or aspiring), under 35, for internships quarterly in accordance with the partner companies from Italy, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia. Collaborations are also planned as part of Expo 2015 and subsidized financing for projects in favor of developing countries for 60 graduates under 35.

Central ItalAfrica, in fact, is the assignee, by the European Commission, of a measure of training under the project Enpi/2013/5 – “Euro-Mediterranean young entrepreneurs – Emye ‘for the promotion of youth in the euro-Mediterranean and for the activation of training courses aimed to integrate employment of young entrepreneurs and qualify the sector by promoting the placing on the market of specialized professionals in the wake of the announcement ‘EuropeAid/134 – 491/C/ACT/Multi – New Euro -Mediterranean initiative for Youth Employment Promotion “.

The measure aims to encourage and support the creation of new businesses and entrepreneurial initiatives in the area through the interaction and the exchange of experiences and expertise between operators included in the context of production of the two shores of the Mediterranean; to contribute to the inclusion of young professionals in the labor market to combat the unemployment rate in the Mediterranean area and to contribute to social security also to prevent the socio-economic instability.

The project leader is the Chamber of Commerce Central ItalAfrica who has signed cooperation agreements with several institutional partners of reference for entrepreneurs in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya: Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Rabat; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tripoli. Also include such entities associated with the Moroccan National Agency for the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, the National Agency of Morocco for the promotion of employment and skills, the regional center investment in Rabat.

“The challenge – said the president of the Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica, Alfredo Cestari-is to encourage and support the creation of new businesses and entrepreneurial initiatives in the area euro-Mediterranean through the interaction and the exchange of experiences and expertise between operators on both sides of Mediterranean. It is a training open to all those who, even if animated by a simple idea, speculate entrepreneurial development based on the involvement of the productive fabric of the countries identified”.

“Central ItalAfrica in the field of formative offer of vocational education and training has implemented a strategy that allows the best expertise in the field of youth entrepreneurship interface with the reality of the emerging countries of North Africa, all with the anticipation of a path exchange that also allows young entrepreneurs of the countries involved to benefit from a formative period in Italian companies, so in order to enhance the individual experiences through the acquisition of a different know-how and strengthen the collaboration between those working in similar fields but on two different sides of the two continents. ”

For selection 115 young people (from start to placements aimed at the creation of new productive activities in the euro-Mediterranean) may apply for participation in young entrepreneurs or would-be – under 35 – who meet the following requirements: excellent knowledge of English and / or French; excellent interpersonal skills; good computer skills; enjoyment of civil and political rights; no criminal convictions.

At the selection of 60 young people (from start to apprenticeships aimed at collaboration and support-Expo 2015 to be incurred at the headquarters of the Milan Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica station) and concessional financing projects in favor of developing countries (to be supported at the company Finance & Planning International Group of Brussels), will be able to participate under 35 who, in addition to the above requirements, have attained a bachelor’s degree (university degree, bachelor old system, three-year degree, specialist, or one cycle) in economics, humanities and law at universities and colleges legally recognized.

At the end of the start apprenticeships, the Central Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica will select 40 young Italian entrepreneurs (or aspiring) which will be introduced at some selected companies operating in the territory of Morocco, Libya and Tunisia, all in order to gain new skills and to make connections appropriate for the development of their business realities.

And yet 75 young entrepreneurs from Morocco (25), Libya (25) and Tunisia (25) which will benefit from a period of training in companies ItalAfrica central Italian partners; 30 young Italian graduates who will carry out training at the Milan headquarters of the Central Chamber of Commerce ItalAfrica in support of the actions of involvement in Expo Milano 2015 of those, among the 19 countries in which the institution has institutional skills that require it; 30 young Italian graduates who will carry out an internship at the International Finance & Planning Group in Brussels, specialized design assistance from subsidized loans (African Development Bank, World Bank, European Investment Bank, EU) in favor of third countries.

The internships will be made on the basis of special agreements between ItalAfrica and companies, which will be attached to specific projects and orientation. For each placement there is a lump-sum reimbursement, not analytical, amounting to EUR 600 per month for the benefit of the trainees.