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Policy Recommendations

The members of the AE-Network participate in working groups dedicated to specific issues hampering the creation of an enabling private sector environment in the MENA region.

Each year new working groups will be established and new recommendations will be made.


  • Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) constitute up to 85 percent of the private sector in the MENA region.
  • There is a need for a more competitive private sector that is more cable of exporting manufactured products to other countries. For this to come true a qualified work force is needed, and to facilitate this, the education system must be transformed.
  • Currently, many industries in the MENA region are suffering because of increased competition from countries such as China and Turkey, but also because of the poor trade relations with the EU.
  • While an individual company might thrive in a non-transparent and poor governance environment ripe with corruption and nepotism, the private sector as a whole can only thrive in an environment that favors free and open markets.
  • Business visas are a substantial financial and time burden. The financial and intangible damage to companies in both the EU and MENA region caused by visa requirements each year are completely disproportionate when compared to the underlying objective of visa procedures.
  • Inspecting trade at borders is both important and necessary, but the way it is performed in the MENA region has significant consequences to trade. Outdated and overly bureaucratic border clearance processes imposed by customs and other agencies are now seen by our member companies as posing greater barriers to trade than tariffs.
  • Unfortunately, the potential of exportations of products in the agro-food sector to the EU from the MENA region is not being fully utilised, which hampers the growth of the sector in the individual countries as well as the possibilities for creating growth and jobs.
  • In order to reap the benefits of improved interregional trade in volumes and value, a dedicated focus on export knowhow is essential, combined with up to date information on the various requirements related to imports and exports, which should be published regularly.
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) estimates that a 45 percent increase in GDP is possible if the regional trade flows are liberalised in the MENA region.
PUBLISHED: 1/25/2013 LAST MODIFIED: 5/29/2017