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BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A total of 1,200 people attended in person, and another 500 joined via streaming, all from over 25 countries spanning the Mediterranean region, Europe, and Africa, participated in the 17th edition of MedaWeek, the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, held at the Llotja de Mar in Barcelona on November 15 and 16. This event, organized by the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Mediterranean (ASCAME) in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona, is the key socio-economic summit in the Mediterranean. Despite the current geopolitical crisis in the region, it successfully mobilized and brought together major Mediterranean institutions.
Throughout the two days of MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, in the 12 forums held, leaders of these institutions, along with entrepreneurs from various sectors and international experts, discussed and provided solutions to current challenges in the Mediterranean. These challenges include climate change, digital connectivity in the countries of the region, female entrepreneurship, sustainable transition, and business opportunities in sectors such as Islamic finance, health, and tourism.
All participants agreed that "these challenges will not be successfully addressed unless we find peace through diplomatic means in our region." As explained by Anwar Zibaoui, the general coordinator of ASCAME, "it has been a great challenge to hold MedaWeek when there is war and violence in some countries of the region." In his opinion, "the significant participation we have had from the regional private sector is a commitment to the development and building bridges of understanding and peace in the region." Ahmed El Wakil, president of ASCAME, took advantage of this gathering of Mediterranean economic leaders in Barcelona to call for "more protectionism and collaboration, and to strengthen multilateralism and alliances."
ASCAME's New Agreements to Enhance Mediterranean Competitiveness
During MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, ASCAME has announced several initiatives that will impact the prosperity and sustainable development of the region. Firstly, there will be the establishment of a regional council for climate change in the Mediterranean, aimed at activating private sector involvement and collaboration with governments and civil society in this collective fight that encompasses the entire region.
Secondly, ASCAME takes a significant step forward to address the digital gap among Mediterranean businesses. As highlighted in several sessions of MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, increased digital connectivity among Mediterranean countries would contribute to higher rates of female entrepreneurship, improved employment rates in developing countries, and facilitate the necessary sustainable transition, including the incorporation of green technologies in all productive sectors. During these sessions, for example, Digital Realty, the largest provider of Cloud and Data Center Carrier Neutral, presented its project for digital interconnection among all Mediterranean countries through submarine cables. By 2027, Digital Realty plans to increase the capacity of submarine cabling for data transfer in the Mediterranean tenfold.
ASCAME has announced the organization of an Economic Leaders Summit for the three continents - Africa, Europe, and the Middle East - to be held in Egypt in May 2024. It will be a new opportunity to discuss and find common solutions to challenges such as the impact of the geopolitical context on the Mediterranean economy, the latest technological trends transforming industries and sectors, and the new globally projected corridors that will make the Mediterranean a key hub.
Lastly, ASCAME has made public its agreement with the General Council of Islamic Banks worldwide to collaborate in promoting initiatives supporting climate financing and the promotion of projects fostering sustainable development in the region.
About ASCAME: The Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Mediterranean (ASCAME) is a non-profit international organization representing the private sector in the Mediterranean. It brings together Chambers of Commerce and Industry and similar entities from 23 countries on both shores of the region and advocating for the interests of private sector and millions of businesses.
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