Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria were already in crisis long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. All three countries are marked by rising socio-economic inequalities, lack of public services and widespread corruption. Political elites have been largely unresponsive with no demonstrated interest in genuine reform.
Tunisia, once regarded as the only success of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, is now on the verge of bankruptcy while its political class is accused of amateurism and inconsistencies leading to growing protest. In Morocco, despite many pledges by the king and the government to fight corruption and boost transparency, little has been achieved to date and like many governments worldwide, the Moroccan authorities have used the COVID-19 pandemic period to enforce increased restrictions on civil society, further limiting freedom of expression and assembly. After a brief period of hope in 2019 with the emergence of the Hirak movement in Algeria, the demands of the protest movement have not been answered. Furthermore, the authorities are seeking to silence every critical voice in the country.
Citizens in all three countries have little trust in public institutions and in their elected officials and democracy activists have long called for genuine political and economic reforms that respond to real needs. To date these recommendations have gone unheeded. Youth has been particularly badly hit by this reality as young people have little hope for the future.
In this online event, EED has invited experts from the region to discuss possible scenarios for real change and how think tanks can still influence those who are making decisions to adopt policies that address the consequences of the current socio-economic and health crisis.
OUR PANEL EXPERT
Zied Boussen, Research Fellow at Arab Reform Initiative will moderate the discussion.
Mohammed Masbah, Founder and President of the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA)
Mohammed Masbah is the Founder and President of the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA). He is a political sociologist whose work centers on public policy, democratisation and political Islam, with a focus on North Africa. Dr Masbah is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London and adjunct professor at Mohammed V University. He was previously a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, and a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin. Dr Masbah obtained his PhD in Sociology from Mohammad V University in Rabat with a dissertation on the processes of radicalisation and deradicalisation of Moroccan Salafis, since the Casablanca bombings in 2003.
Tin Hinane El Kadi, Associate Fellow at Chatham House
Tin Hinane El Kadi is a political economy researcher. She is the co-founder and co-director of Institute for Social Science Research on Algeria (ISSRA). Tin Hinane is currently pursuing her PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), looking at China’s Digital Silk Road in North Africa. She is also an associate fellow in the MENA department at Chatham House. Her research interests include the knowledge economy and development, China in Africa and China in the Middle East, and contemporary Algerian politics. Before starting her PhD, she was part of a research team working on questions relating to North-South knowledge production, and data-driven innovations at the LSE. She was a consultant for several agencies, including the World Bank, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and Carnegie Endowment.
Hakim Ben Hammouda, President of Global Institute for Transitions (GI4T) and former Minister of Economy and Finance of Tunisia
Hakim Ben Hammouda was the Minister of Economy and Finance of Tunisia (2014-2015). Before that, he was special adviser of the President of the African Development Bank (2011-2014), director of the Institute of Training and Technical Cooperation with the World Trade Organization (2008-2011). Previously, he was director of sub regional office in Central Africa and then director of the Trade and regional integration division and Chief Economist with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. For many years, he has dealt with Africa’s development and has contributed to the implementation of major programme of actions such as NEPAD. He is founding member of GI4T (Global Institute for Transitions). Hakim Ben Hammouda has a PhD in international economics and teaches economic development at several universities.
Final remarks by Rosamaria GILI, Head of Unit, Maghreb Unit – EEAS