The EU-funded ODYSSEA project’s Algerian partner, Nord Sud Ventures (NSV) CEO Arslan Chikhaoui, highlighted the project’s regional contributions in his presentation to the 15th North Africa Business Development Forum (NABDF) held in Barcelona on Nov. 21, 2018.
This presentation was part of the 12th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders (MedaWeek Barcelona), titled “One Sea, Three Continents – Sharing Common Goals”. The event, which is a joint initiative principally of the Association of the Mediterranean Chambres of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, European Institute of the Mediterranean, and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), is touted as the “largest economic event in the Mediterranean.”
In his presentation, “Building trust and confidence for an emerging integrated North Africa”, Chikhaoui devoted attention to the example of the ODYSSEA project and its innovative platform for the collection and real-time processing of marine date and information by integrating satellite data platforms and creating observatories in various parts of the Mediterranean basin.
ODYSSEA will “undoubtedly contribute to the development of blue growth necessary to strengthen ties of friendship and build up trust and confidence [in] the region,” he said, and emphasised that ODYSSEA aims to “fill the capacity and skills gap between the northern and southern regions of the Mediterranean area.”
The NABDF session focused on the economic climate in North Africa and impacts on society and politics, as well as on relations between the ten countries of North African and European coasts of the western Mediterranean (France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain in Europe, and Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia on the African side), under the influence of economic developments and current trends.
Bringing together representatives of the political leaderships, business communities and NGOs from all ten countries, the NABDF provided a framework for exchanges and discussion among a wide variety of stakeholders, including bankers, investors, multilateral organisations, institutions, public bodies and government ministries.
Other MedaWeek 2018 forums focused on the Blue Economy, Halal Industry, and various projects and issues of concern were discussed. In the MedaWeek Barcelona 2018 Declaration. Organisers summed up the event, and, among other things urged “the new gas producing countries of the Eastern Mediterranean to promote cooperation strategies. In the same way that the trade of ‘olive oil’ served to unite the people of the Mediterranean region in antiquity, the exploitation of new gas-offshore deposits on the coasts of the Mediterranean countries could be a fundamental engine for development and economic growth of the entire region. The existing gas on the seabeds of the Mediterranean Sea can help to unite the region.”
“Walls cannot be built inside the Mediterranean Sea. The wealth and future development of the region goes through cooperation and union between all the countries of the two shores of the Mediterranean,” MedaWeek organisers declared.