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The financial crisis affects the real economy of Mediterranean countries


The global financial crisis and the Arab Spring - how have Mediterranean countries been affected by these two simultaneous phenomena? FEMISE has just published a study following a business survey conducted with SMEs and SMIs in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Comparative analysis and recommendations…



Sami Mouley, Professor of International Finance at the University of Tunis and coordinator of the FEMISE research report (FEM34-09). (Photo D.R)
Sami Mouley, Professor of International Finance at the University of Tunis and coordinator of the FEMISE research report (FEM34-09). (Photo D.R)
Unlike Western economies, the global financial crisis has had a greater effect on the real economies of the Maghreb, than on the financial system itself. Depending on the country, this has led to a mix of a slowdown in international trade, an impact on income transfers, a loss of foreign exchange reserves, a balance of payments deficit and an increase in public debt.

The crisis has led to difficulties in accessing bank financing and stock markets. Credit represents no more than 19% of funding sources for SMEs and SMIs. 51% of companies use their own cash flow and the stock market barely reaches 2%! The most affected country has been Tunisia, which had strong inflationary pressures. The consumer price index rose 2.2 points in one year. However, economic dynamics in Morocco was supported thanks to a drop in payable collateral (secured by mortgage). These three countries are bearing the brunt of the crisis in the euro zone”, says Sami Mouley, Professor of International Finance at the University of Tunis and coordinator of the FEMISE research report (FEM34-09), available on the FEMISE  website.

Entitled “Economic outlook for Mediterranean Countries in the Post-Global Financial Crisis: Business Survey of SMEs/SMIs in Tunisia and comparative analysis Algeria – Morocco”, the FEMISE  report points out that SMEs/SMIs in the area represent 95% of the economic fabric of the companies. With the extension of credit based on mortgage guarantees and not on the profitability of projects, companies lacking credit have had to forego their investments, slowing growth. “We have conducted a field survey by industry sector. Paradoxically, it turns out that the sectors most affected by the crisis are those governed by the dismantling of tariffs with the European Union, such as, for example, manufacturing”, added Professor Mouley.


A significant impact on the textile and engineering industries

In Algeria, the post-financial crisis climate has led to the development of anti-competitive practices. (Photo NBC)
In Algeria, the post-financial crisis climate has led to the development of anti-competitive practices. (Photo NBC)
The post-crisis period has had a significant impact on the textile and engineering industries. In Algeria, the post-financial crisis climate has led to the development of anti-competitive practices related to corruption, especially in granting licences and patents. 

The future? Sami Mouley believes that new operational terms for Euro-Med cooperation must be set up, over and above the Union for the Mediterranean. Crisis-management mechanisms, to be set for countries in the euro zone, should be extended to Mediterranean countries. “We should consider introducing a common exchange rate system between the euro and these three countries, with sustainability mechanisms for external positions (protection of the balance of payments),” suggests Sami Mouley, to prevent future financial crises.

version française

Download the report FEM34-09

Nathalie Bureau du Colombier


Monday, October 22nd 2012



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