Published : Friday 12 December 2014
The Mediterranean is confronted with a paradox and a necessity: strong economic growth in SEMCs, combined with massive unemployment among young people and women: 19% of young people are unemployed in Morocco, 25% in Egypt and 42% in Tunisia (World Bank).

At the same time, Mediterranean countries, already faced with more intense urbanization and a rising population in coming years, will have to deal with a sharp increase in local energy demand coupled with scarcer hydrocarbon resources and the need to combat and adapt to climate change. Energy consumption could triple by 2030 in southern Mediterranean countries. Plan Bleu estimates the need to create 42 million new dwellings in SEMCs by 2030.

The governments of Mediterranean countries, in particular Morocco and Tunisia, have therefore worked on creating new economic channels that create direct jobs like the energy efficiency industry, as a priority to boost their social and economic fabric and ensure the sustainable development of their territories.

The development of new large-scale production lines for renewable energy is already central to SEMC policies. Energy efficiency measures have also featured in a series of agreements over the last decade, with the aim of establishing a genuine energy-efficient market, which creates jobs.

In addition, energy efficiency can also indirectly work towards creating employment. For example, a company leader who invests in energy efficiency increases profits and productivity and thus opens up the possibility of acquiring new market shares, which indirectly create jobs.

Job creation comprises three different types that must be differentiated, i.e. transformation of jobs/trades, indirect job creation (via for example reducing the industrial sector’s energy bill), and the creation of new jobs.

About ten years after setting up these measures, results are mixed but the potential is indisputably great. Although the energy efficiency industry can be a source of employment, its development can, like any process that introduces a new technology, ultimately result in transforming or deleting jobs, and this point deserves closer attention.

Important steps to take:

•    Accompany SEMCs in upgrading their legislation or devising incentivising laws for both consumers and energy suppliers, in terms of reasonable consumption and energy efficiency;

•    Disseminate and share, via seminars and round tables, the good practices required to maximize this industry’s socio-economic impact. Energy efficiency should, like any innovation, be understood as a new economic model of sustainable and responsible production that requires citizens to consume differently. Companies and energy suppliers should also be required to integrate this new “stance” by committing not so much to supplying “equipment” as “performance”.

•    Remove the remaining obstacles to its development, including by redirecting compensation funding destined for energy towards energy efficiency strategies.

•    Support those involved in accelerating this momentum, on national and regional levels.

•    Launch a deeper debate on the actual quantitative impact of developing the EE industry on the labour market in the different geographical areas considered.


Coordinator: Philippe-Cyrille BERTON, Director, AFD Tunisia
 Nadine ADRA, International Development Manager, Transenergie
Samir CHERIF, Head of Energy Efficiency Department, STEG
Christian TRAISNEL, Director of the CD2E Centre for Excellence

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