COVID-19 MED BRIEF no.17: Energy transition, sustainability, and labour market policies: Implications and recommendations for the South Mediterranean countries

April 16, 2021
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COVID-19 intensifies the urgency for sustainability transition. This energy transition will have a significant impact on the South Mediterranean countries, especially on hydrocarbon producers: Egypt, Libya, and Algeria. They may be faced with abrupt shocks in their primary sectors of production and in their labour markets if no timely action is taken. For a resilient future, the energy transition should be coupled with just and inclusive transition in the labour markets. Scientific analysis suggests taking a closer look at policies that can foster the backward and forward links of the energy sector with other sectors in the economy.

The design and implementation of such policies in the South Mediterranean countries can benefit from the cooperation with countries that share similar challenges (i.e., Middle East, Central Asia, sub-Saharan countries), with regions and countries that develop policies to turn energy projects into an engine of industrial growth and employment creation (e.g., EU, Norway), and with institutions that bring significant knowledge on this matter (like the World Bank).

Recommendations include: i) the well-informed policy design, ii) promotion of cooperation through clusters and regional schemes, iii) emphasis on know-how, technology, and skills transferability beyond the energy sector, iv) timely intervention in the education system, v) priority allocation of public funding and international assistance to education, skills, and technological upgrade of the labour force, that can improve job prospects, resilience, and long-term sustainability.

The recent coronavirus crisis threatens the health, economies and societies of all countries. In Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, the fight against the pandemic is even more complicated. Cooperation and EU-Med strategies in key sectors are needed. Therefore, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and FEMISE join forces and launch their joint series of Policy Briefs called “COVID-19 MED BRIEFS” to pave the way for thematic analyses and policy relevant recommendations.