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France to create a €100m fund to help its companies develop in the Maghreb


Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, February 8th 2022 à 17:35 | Read 180 times



Mediterranean youth as guest of honour at the Mediterranean Worlds Forum (photo: F.Dubessy)
Mediterranean youth as guest of honour at the Mediterranean Worlds Forum (photo: F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. "Divisions and misunderstandings in the Mediterranean basin are not inevitable. France wants to advance the agenda for peace and stability." Speaking via recorded video at the opening plenary of the Mediterranean Worlds Forum (Marseille, 7-8 February 2022), Emmanuel Macron reiterated "France's very strong Mediterranean ambition" as well as "the role of diasporas." He insisted on the contribution in the reflection of "civil society, in particular our youth who have the capacity to take the steps that our politicians are unable to take."

Speaking of "a new vision to be built", the French President said that "we need to get out of the civil wars in the Mediterranean and the divisions between the North and the South.

Emmanuel Macron took advantage of this event, which follows on from the Summit of the two shores (June 2019 in Marseille) to unveil three measures proposed by France: a call for projects for civil society initiatives on the southern shore, the launch of an academy of Mediterranean talent and the creation of an impact fund for entrepreneurs living in France who wish to develop on the other side of the Mediterranean. "We must succeed in reinventing our Mediterranean role," Emmanuel Macron emphasised.

Creation of a travelling talent academy

Karim Amellal has chosen "subjects on which we can make progress" (photo: F.Dubessy)
Karim Amellal has chosen "subjects on which we can make progress" (photo: F.Dubessy)
The call for projects will be organised by the French Development Agency (AFD) and endowed with €3 million. Civil society actors will benefit from subsidies to set up an action in line with the Mediterranean themes.

The academy of talents "will be itinerant and will start in Marseille with a Mediterranean campus and through the Emerging Mediterranean event ", explains Karim Amellal, ambassador, interdepartmental delegate for the Mediterranean at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. "The idea is to build capacity and ensure that skills are developed with mentors and modules. "A first class will take place by the end of the year and will include 15 young people," he says. This structure will be joined by a programme of grants to support identified talent, announced Emmanuel Macron.

Finally, a €100 million fund will enable entrepreneurs based in France to come and work, create, expand and hire in the Maghreb. Supported by the Public Investment Bank (BpiFrance), it will "accompany or initiate entrepreneurial initiatives from France for the Maghreb", emphasises Karim Amellal. It will be open to French and foreign public and private financing. "The closing should take place during the year so that the fund is operational by the end of 2022. It is a financial instrument, we will not wait until we have reached €100 million to start", the French ambassador added.

A plea for a Mediterranean 2030

Emmanuel Macron welcomed the proposals made in the plea of young Mediterranean people (photo: F.Dubessy)
Emmanuel Macron welcomed the proposals made in the plea of young Mediterranean people (photo: F.Dubessy)
Before the Forum of Mediterranean Worlds, the French President received, in the form of a white paper, a "Plea for the Mediterranean 2030" from 200 young Mediterraneans of twenty nationalities. They worked for six months on several common issues concerning the countries of the Mediterranean basin. "These are not consensual subjects, but subjects on which we can make progress", Karim Amellal explains. The day before the Forum, still in Marseille, fifty young people, selected from among the most active, were able to exchange views with Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and the Jordanian princess Rym Ali, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation. Eight of them also intervened to present their conclusions on Monday 7 February 2022 during the plenary.

"This is a concrete example of what can be achieved through dialogue and exchange. The paths you outline represent hope. Your proposals put us against the wall," Emmanuel Macron replied in a recorded video, holding the white paper in his hands.

This plea will now be addressed "to the States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the 5+5, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the European Union to see how we can implement it," explains the inter-ministerial delegate for the Mediterranean at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.



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