In the framework of the SwitchMed programme’s support to green entrepreneurship carried out by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), the Blue Economy component has started in September 2021 a study aiming at identifying the Blue Economy sectors offering the most opportunities to eco-entrepreneurs in the 8 countries of the programme (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia).
The objective of the study is to provide an overall and country-by-country view of which sectors of the Blue Economy, both traditional and emerging as defined by the European Commission, offer the most business opportunities for eco-entrepreneurs.
The main conclusions of this study are multiple and shed light on the dynamics shaping all of these sectors, from fishing to coastal tourism, from port activities to wind energy.
It is clear that certain sectors are priorities in a number of countries. Thus, tourism (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia), aquaculture and fishing (Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia) and port activities (Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco) are sectors in which a majority of countries in the region are developing and strengthening tools to encourage the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises (technical support tools, legislative, fiscal, financial, regulatory tools, etc.). All the countries have thus developed or plan to develop a set of tools that encourage the growth of these sectors and in particular the development and support of a specific sustainable sector.
For example, the sectors linked to marine living resources are particularly targeted by several States, which have set up various support mechanisms for a switch to more sustainable modes of extraction, production, processing and packaging. Thus, in Algeria, a National Strategy on the Blue Economy is being developed and is particularly interested in SMEs in the aquaculture sector, notably by relying on the work of the National Commission created in 2021, in charge of revising the legal framework on aquaculture and fisheries. In parallel, in Morocco, the Halieutis Strategy for the upgrading of the fisheries sector, ports and processing units makes sustainability one of its major pillars, promoting, for example, sustainable fishing practices and the preservation of the biodiversity of the marine environment. Tunisia is also developing since 2020 a Blue Economy Strategy based on the revival of traditional sectors, the promotion of emerging sectors with a sustainable dimension and activities related to the protection of the environment and the services provided by marine and coastal ecosystems.
It is important to underline that this report is a preliminary study to orientate the lines of research at the level of each country, in order to concentrate them in the sectors with the highest potential. Based on the consultation of local stakeholders and local expertise in each of the 8 countries, further studies will be carried out in the near future by SwitchMed’s local partners.
Once these studies are completed, the reports will be used to better orient and implement the activities of the business support component of the SwitchMed Blue Economy. The first step is to develop and transfer to local partners an online tool dedicated to Blue Economy which will be included in TheSwitchers.org platform. Its purpose is to guide eco-entrepreneurs in the creation and development of their business in the blue economy. Then, with the support of local partners, training sessions for entrepreneurs will take place to develop sustainable business models and plans in the blue economy. Finally, an 8-month incubation period will take place in each country for the entrepreneurs with the most promising business models. Once the companies have successfully completed their incubation, networking with potential donors, clients and partners will be possible through the various SwitchMed support tools (Switchers Fund, Switchers Community, Switchers Support National Partnerships).
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