Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

"The Mediterranean is today a crossroads of investment for the whole world"

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Wednesday, December 18th 2019 à 12:55 | Read 95 times

Emmanuel Noutary, general delegate of Anima investment network, presents, exclusively for, the main conclusions of his white paper "Investing for a sustainable Mediterranean" which will be published in February 2020. According to this analysis, four countries attract 90% of the investments made in the South of the Mediterranean.

Emmanuel Noutary presented the first elements of his white paper on foreign investment during Act III of the Mediterranean of the Future in Marseille (Photo: Anima)
Emmanuel Noutary presented the first elements of his white paper on foreign investment during Act III of the Mediterranean of the Future in Marseille (Photo: Anima)
MEDITERRANEAN. "The Southern Mediterranean attracted 4% of the world's FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) flows in 2018, which is also their share of the world's population," Emmanuel Noutary points out. "This is all the more welcome as foreign investment is slowing down on a global scale. Four of the eleven countries studied attract 90% of these investments: Israel, which is experiencing strong growth in activity, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco", comments the general delegate of Anima Investment Network.

The strong regional disparities in this matter constitute one of the main lessons of the white paper "Investing for a sustainable Mediterranean" of this cooperation network for the promotion of investments and the development of companies between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean countries*. Currently being finalised in Marseille, Anima's headquarters, it will only be published in February 2020. A few extracts had already been unveiled at the Mediterranean of the Future event (Marseille, 26 November 2019) to serve as a plea for the emergence of investment projects generating more impact for sustainable development. In an interview with, Emmanuel Noutary lifts some of the lid.


Half of the Top10 investors are not European

This white paper, coordinated by Anima's senior expert Zoé Luçon, brings together articles by Anima's experts and contributions from experts invited to share their analyses, such as Kamel Nasser, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), or Mihoub Mezouaghi, Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Morocco.

"These converging and complementary views all share the same observation: the Mediterranean is now an investment crossroads for the whole world. This was not the case ten years ago. In the top 10 investors were eight European countries. Before, the South Mediterranean was the garden of Europe. This is still the case, but now half of the countries in the top 10 are not European," says Emmanuel Noutary. Anima's General Delegate notes that China has been in the Top 5 since 2016 and that it remains there. "It is wrong to say that the Chinese only come to sign contracts. They invest and co-invest. This goes against the theory of the Europe-Mediterranean-Africa verticality. The Mediterranean is becoming a star open to the world. The figures confirm this.

What is more, the southern Mediterranean countries are in turn becoming significant external investors. In Africa, Egyptian and Moroccan investments have reached one billion euros.

From quantity to quality of investments

Another observation is the diversification of investments. "If we look at the evolution over the last ten years, we can see that they are diversifying and contributing to the sectoral diversification and sustainable development of the countries: renewable energies, transport and logistics, agriculture and food, software and electronics, automobiles and aeronautics," emphasises Emmanuel Noutary. According to him, "this is good for the desired economic diversification in these countries, it is good because these sectors create more direct jobs and more quickly than the infrastructure sectors that have dominated FDI in these countries until now, and it is also good for sustainable development in these countries, because energy or food security, transport, are issues for which these new investment projects provide answers.

"In the Mediterranean, we must move from the quantity to the quality of investments," notes Emmanuel Noutary, for whom "there is not enough job creation and concern for sustainable development." However, he does have one caveat: "If the leaders of countries have to pay more attention to sustainable development when announcing investments, it is not possible for a single country to embark on this policy, otherwise all the investments would go to its neighbours. Anima's CEO therefore advocates "launching a continent-wide initiative to promote sustainable investment in Africa."

The Impact Invest programme, currently being developed by Aurélien Baudoin, director of development for the Anima network (18 countries) with the Réseau international des agences francophones de promotion des investissements (RIAFPI - 15 countries) and Business France (present in both networks), thus aims to promote investments for sustainable development in twenty-nine countries in the Mediterranean and French-speaking Africa. "For the moment, Anima is mobilising partners, other networks, local authorities and investors around Impact Invest. In April 2020, we will hold a workshop on this subject with the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona", reveals Emmanuel Noutary. He will indeed present his white paper on this occasion and intends to take advantage of it to advance, or even launch, this initiative.

* In the meantime, he has a team of 70 member organisations in 18 countries, more than 400 experts who can be mobilised and 15 employees based in Marseille.

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