Coproduction in the Mediterranean

The economic development of the Mediterranean basin is a strategic economic issue requiring a better knowledge of European companies’ strategies in the Mediterranean and, conversely, of Mediterranean companies’ in Europe.

Yet, new investment dynamics are developing in the Mediterranean area: while the European production system is expanding to Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries (PSEM), Mediterranean companies, especially that from North African and Eastern Mediterranean, are increasingly willing to invest in both the North and the South. This new paradigm is setting up by relying on the main assets of PSEM, that is skilled and highly-skilled workforce, the presence of industrial partners well established on their respective markets, a strong infrastructure basis that keeps modernising, access to emerging markets, in the Mediterranean and beyond, a dynamic youth and political regimes in transition that must focus on strengthening their economies. From then on, it is no longer about keeping activities requiring a high-skilled workforce in the North and relocating activities requiring a cheap and numerous workforce in the South. It is about combining the southern skilled workforce, cheaper than the northern one, with high added-value activities. It is not about replacing skilled jobs in the North by skilled jobs in the South either, it is about integrating partners or localised activities in the South as part of a common growth project on the European market (500 million people) and on the broad emerging African market (2 billion people by 2050).

This new coproduction, or colocalisation, model favours regional integration by contributing to the development of a more fair and sustainable economy. Thanks to the works of the Coproduction Observatory, we can define coproduction as follows: “the joint development of a value chain, integrating at least one southern partner, favouring long-term investments”.

In our context, this definition comprises 4 strong and inseparable ideas:

  1. the development of a value chain, in order for coproduction to generate a locally added value at each step of its cycle, and therefore for all stakeholders;
  2. the notion of partnership, rather than subcontracting, for a balanced sharing of benefits;
  3. the integration or at least the presence of a southern partner. Then, South/South, South/North or North/South cooperation can be carried out;
  4. sustainable investments, involving long-term planning, implemented jointly with no intention of making “fast money” in the short term.
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