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Maghreb employers stay the course

The dream goes back to the independence of the main components of this entity, yet theoretical, which is the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). Aimed initially but without success, at uniting peoples, the desire of unification was then diverted to the economic unity. Efforts have achieve that goal even through soliciting the European Union which concluded various partnership agreements separately with each of AMU countries, hoping that this  would shorten the way to  the economic union against the will of each of the five AMU countries . This seems not yet work. The last attempt to create this economic entity that should be the Maghreb economic market, was the setting up, on 17 February 2007, of the Maghreb Union of Employers (EMU), whose chairman is the Tunisian Hedi Djilani, and whose headquarters are in Algiers. Being for two years at the head of the EMU, he has no illusions, despite his optimism. “I am not here to advocate the idea that my two years at the head  of the EMU have  been a success,” he said during a meeting with the Tunisian press. “But I think that no other could have done better,” said Hédi Djilani.
It is true that long before and despite this union of employers, the record of trade between the Maghreb countries have never been so poor. With a rate of 2.6% of their trade, they remain very far from the 8% set by the World Bank.  Businessmen cannot reopen the borders between Morocco and Algeria. Some of them have, at one point, on the contrary, have  been somewhere behind the commercial cold snap  recorded several years ago between Tunis and Algiers due to misuse of certificates of origin.
Any way, the First Maghreb Businessmen’s Forum is due to be held next May 10-11 in Algiers, at the initiative of the Arab Maghreb Union . The Forum will be attended by 300 businessmen from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya.
This event, which is to be held annually in the different Maghreb countries, aims to look at means to improve competitiveness of Maghreb enterprises and help them join consortia.
The Forum will be an occasion to better introduce the investment and partnership opportunities existing between the Maghreb promoters, and boost co-operation and co-ordination between the Maghreb economic structures.
The Forum is also meant to provide the favourable conditions to the emergence of a new generation of innovative enterprises, facilitate transfer of capitals and movement of merchandises, and optimise the exchange of expertise between economic players.
The event includes the organisation of six workshops on the international financial crisis, its fallouts on the Maghreb countries’ economies, the possible solutions to transcend it, and the obstacles and prospects of the Maghreb integration.
Emphasis will be laid on the issue of small enterprises, tourism, land sector, Maghreb projects and new information and communication technologies (NICTs).
Hedi Djilani described the economy of AMU member countries as “first victim of non-Maghreb,” and said that it is necessary to create a Maghreb grouping in order to immunise the economies of AMU countries and protect them against the pernicious effects of the international financial crisis.
Secretary-General of the Maghreb Employers’ Union (MEU) Rabeh Bousebha asserted that AMU aspires to make of this Forum an annual meeting to exchange expertise, information and ideas, and to co-ordinate between the Maghreb economic operators in order to identify investment and business opportunities.
The Maghreb Employers’ Union, set up in 2007, gathers employers from the five AMU member countries, namely UTICA, the Libyan Employers’ Council (CPL), the Algerian Employers’ Confederation (CAP), Morocco’s General Enterprises’ Confederation (CGEM) and the Mauritanian National Employers’ Union (UNPM).

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