Some of the economic challenges that countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are currently facing have been deeply rooted in the region for decades. To tackle these longstanding issues such as the slow progress in economic transformation and the relatively high and often growing levels of unemployment and poverty, some countries like Egypt have recently embarked on historical economic reform processes. In order to complement these mainly macroeconomic and social safety net reforms, it is important to also (re)consider policies that help unleashing job-creating economic growth and reduce poverty at the sector level.
As a step in this direction, this seminar will examine the role of agriculture and related agri-businesses for transformation and development in MENA, with emphasis on Egypt and Tunisia. Specifically, the seminar will provide answers to the following questions: What role does agriculture and agro-industries play for MENA countries’ economies, employment, and poverty and how have their roles changed? What is the role of agriculture and agro-industries for local development, household incomes and poverty reduction? Going forward - what are the opportunities, challenges and policy options to enhance the role agriculture and agri-business for development?