Maghreb-Sahel Dialogue on Economic Cooperation - Regional Programme Political Dialogue and regional Integration in the Southern Mediterranean
Despite the geographic contiguity between the Maghreb and Sahel and the intertwined challenges they have to address commonly, the level of cooperation between the countries of these two sub-regions remains astonishingly low at all levels. Similarly, there is lack of platforms that enable the elites from the two sub-regions to exchange and discuss the pressing challenges in order to better inform public policy at a regional level.
Conscious of this fact, the Regional Programme Political Dialogue South Mediterranean of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS PolDiMed) and the Regional Programme Sahel of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, gathered together Maghrebi and Sahelian economic experts, including former Ministers and diplomats, to discuss the most challenging economic issues. In this regard, the experts discussed thoroughly, over four panels, the economic performance of the Maghrebi and Sahelian countries, the main obstacles hindering their economic growth, as well as the reality of regional economic integration. Moreover, the question of food security and how governments in this region deal with current global disruptions in food supply chains, has been largely discussed during this conference. The interesting technical and socio-economic data provided by the experts with regard to agricultural sectors in Tunisia, Morocco, and Niger, illustrated that the structural vulnerabilities characterizing these countries go beyond the current global food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Furthermore, the experts shed light on some realistic opportunities that could connect the two sub-regions and foster regional integration. In this respect, the viability of three ongoing projects that constitute real game changers for the Maghreb-Sahel region have been discussed in depth: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), The Trans-Sahara Highway, and the ambitious renewal energy projects launched by some countries in the region such as Morocco, Algeria and Burkina Faso.