Connectivity is the backbone of the MENA region’s economic prosperity and is crucial to relaunch growth in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Enhancing connectivity and strengthening participation in global value chains is key for many economies of the region, as they claim to play an increasing role as gateway to African, European, and Asian markets.
It is crucial for governments to invest in transport, energy, and digital infrastructure to improve overall competitiveness and raise GDP potential in the long term. Near-shoring processes as well as progresses made in attracting FDI to establish export-oriented industries are important steps to ensure deeper economic integration across the region and with the rest of the world. Today, MENA participation in global value chains is still lower than other regions in the world because of an overall weak infrastructure endowment – although with great differences among MENA countries. This infrastructure gap cannot be bridged through public spending alone; it must be underpinned and blended with private resources. Development Financial Institutions could have a pivotal role in attracting more private investments and reducing perceived risks for private investors. Coordination is also crucial for the harmonisation of standards and rules and in tackling the challenge of infrastructure decarbonisation policies.
Dialogue and cooperation around infrastructure investments and the enhancement of connectivity between the two shores will play an increasing role in fostering the economic development and integration of the region, to ensure the future prosperity of the broader Mediterranean, and to open the region to the rest of the world.