Western Financing Flows towards the Middle East
babelmed - 22/02/2005
The Conference held in Alexandria (30-31 January 2005) on -"Western Financing Flows towards the Middle East: the potential impacts on the socio-political and economic fields" wanted, mainly, to analyse the flows of money currently directed to the Middle East. It has produced interesting conclusions that we reproduce in this article.
The idea of such a conference is born after the setback represented by the decision -taken last year by the EU and Arab leaders- not to set up an independent, Multilateral Bank for the Mediterranean area and followed by the abortion of the so called “Greater Middle East Initiative”. It was also noted that ten years after the start of the Barcelona Process, its three pillars have produced different results, and the economical one still lacks more involvement. The political pillar has resulted in the establishment of the “Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly” and the cultural pillar has resulted in the creation of the “Anne Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures” headquartered in Alexandria. However, the economic pillar has only increased the capacity of the existent FEMIP (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) in addition to the implementation of MEDA program without establishing a special Financial Institution. The Conference held in Alexandria (30-31 January 2005) on - "Western Financing Flows towards the Middle East: the potential impacts on the socio-political and economic fields" wanted, thus, to analyze the flows of money currently directed to the Middle East, with specific regard and direct presentations from the representatives of major multinational institutions. This is in addition to discussing the socio-political and economic aspects and consequences of the impact that these money flows are likely to produce in the region. These effects were also discussed within a round table made up of a number of highly professional figures from both the Middle East and the West .
The Conference was organised by the London-based UT PHOENIX Foundation, the Center for Economic and Financial Researches and Studies of the University of Cairo, and the Egyptian Investment Authority and the Biblioteca Alexandrina. The participants highlighted and discussed some interesting conclusions that we reproduce hereafter:
1.Taking into consideration that the Region is moving towards s conducive political, institutional and economic reform, the Region, as a whole, has an untapped potential for attracting a higher share of international investments;
2.ODA and Technical Assistance should give due attention to the importance of Human Resources Development and Capacity Building. In this regard the Region should also increase the attention to the issue of women’s participation in development and youth employment.
3.the Region should focus on the opportunity to create a conducive environment for the development of a sophisticated Insurance and Risk Management Industry.
4.the “EuroMediterranean Partnership Fund” initiated by Milan Chamber of Commerce was well received by the conference as it will enable more private equity investments in the Region from the Italian private sector.
5.Examination of different forms of suitable International Financial Institutions, likely to mobilize and channel funds to the Region, would be fruitful to explore. Among the ideas floated to the conference, a proposal was presented to explore the possibility to include the Arab Countries, which have signed Partnership Association Agreements with the EU, as shareholders and beneficiaries of the existing European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Another idea pertained to the examination of a Lender of last resort as safeguard for the flow of funds to the Region in order to protect it from the varying levels of capital flows.
6.Recognition should be emphasised of the importance of the promotion of scientific research, cultural dialogue and project-based development programmes likely to enhance the importance of the Barcelona’s cultural pillar.
7.Awareness should also be enhanced in relation to the continuous changes of the World Investment Map and the adoption of a future vision for investment opportunities in the Region, with special emphasis on new investment sectors (IT Services), as well as promoting the linkages among small and medium companies to promote regional and urban/ rural development and to reduce poverty and unemployment levels.
As the UT PHOENIX Foundation had mentioned in Alexandria and “in line with nature of independent but provocative Think Tank- now intend to pursue some of these issues in order to provide the wider International community with the comprehensive and elaborated information likely to sparkle a constructive debate.” This initiative is, therefore, to be continued... Babelmed Editorial team Babelmed Editorial team