November 02, 2009
ESDi at 6th Forum of Business Development for North Africa

In 2005, coinciding with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona together with other economic and business organisations launched an initiative to create a meeting place that would serve to boost the role of the private sector in the creation of an economic space for the Mediterranean: THE MEDITERRANEAN WEEK OF ECONOMIC LEADERS. Currently in its third edition, seeks to be a key annual event providing business people and decision making centres from both shores of the Mediterranean with the opportunity to discuss their experiences and interests with companies from the public sector and multilateral institutions. Over the course of the week, an analysis will be made of the interests and difficulties faced by SMEs -essential components of the region’s industrial fabric- since the development, prosperity and future stability of the region depends on the will and ability of SMEs to establish their businesses on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. The challenge is clear: an increased flow of private investment is one of the prerequisites for a higher economic growth rate in the region. The creation of millions of jobs represents the only hope of reducing the ever increasing gap in standards of living and education that exists between both sides of the Mediterranean. Another key element will be the capacity of Mediterranean countries and the EU to create a space of common economic integration. Why Barcelona? Because for the past one thousand years this city has been a great manufacturing and trade centre in the Mediterranean. This year the city is celebrating the 14th anniversary of the Barcelona Conference that in 1995 provided confirmation that the EU intended to work for the future of the region together with its southern partners. Today we are confident that Barcelona will become a strategic centre and the ideal destination for any venture. The director of the Foundation for ESDi, Mr. Antoni Garrell i Guiu, addresses an issue in a unique context, mainly characterized by a global crisis that is unprecedented in contemporary world history. The financial crisis is leading to a significant decline in world economic activity. More than ever, this situation underscores the need for deeper cooperation between the countries on the two shores of the Mediterranean in order to face the new challenges of our time, a time of globalisation and "deglobalisation".