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20 June, World Refugee Day: A long way to safety

20 June, World Refugee Day: A long way to safety

Maria Diaz Crego wrote in commemoration of 20 June, World Refugee Day: A long way to safety that :

According to UNCHR, those fleeing their own countries for fear of persecution travel collectively around two billion kilometres per year to reach a safe haven. To honour their resilience and determination and to remind us of the long and tortuous journeys they are forced to make on their way to safety, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched the www.stepwithrefugees.org campaign to mark 2019 World Refugee Day.

Meanwhile, a New paper: Teachers need support to better help migrant and refugee students suffering from trauma Posted on 20 June 2019 by GEM Report reads as follows:

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Image: UNESCO/Seivan M.Salim

The number of migrant and refugee school-age children around the world has grown by 26% since 2000. Eight years on from the beginning of the Syrian conflict, a new paper released today and at an event in the Netherlands looks at the importance of making sure that education systems are set up to address the trauma that many of these children face before, and during their journeys to new countries. In particular, teachers need better training to provide psychosocial support to these children, including through social and emotional learning.

In Germany, about one-third of refugee children suffer from mental illness, and one-fifth suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Unaccompanied minors are particularly vulnerable. One third of 160 unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Norway from Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Somalia suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Among 166 unaccompanied refugee children and adolescents in Belgium, 37-47% had ‘severe or very severe’ symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Rates of trauma among the displaced in low and middle income countries are also high. For instance, 75% of 331 internally displaced children in camps in southern Darfur in Sudan met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, and 38% had depression.

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Image: Anthony Upton/ARETE/GEM Report

In the absence of health centres, schools can play a key role in restoring a sense of stability. Teachers are not and should never be leant on as mental health specialists, but they can be a crucial source of support for children suffering from trauma if they’re given the right training. But they need basic knowledge about trauma symptoms and providing help to students, which many do not have. NGOs, including the International Rescue Committee, iACT, and Plan International, are training teachers to face this challenge through their programmes, but their reach is not enough.

In Germany, the majority of teachers and day-care workers said that they did not feel properly prepared to address the needs of refugee children. In the Netherlands, 20% of teachers with more than 18 years of experience working in mainstream schools reported that they experienced a high degree of difficulty dealing with students with trauma. The vast majority of these teachers (89%) encountered at least one student with trauma in their work. A review of early childhood care and education facilities for refugee children in Europe and North America found that, although many programmes recognized the importance of providing trauma-informed care, appropriate training and resources were ‘almost universally lacking’.

The paper shows the importance of social and emotional learning, as an approach to psychosocial support which targets skills, such as resilience, to manage stress, and is often rolled out through interactive, group-based discussions or role play. It shows the importance of this approach for less acute situations but emphasizes that for more challenging cases trained specialists are needed.

It is also important to involve parents in social and emotional learning so that activities can continue at home. One programme in Chicago looked at addressing symptoms of depression among Mexican immigrant women and primary school children with in- and after- school programmes and home visits, for instance, and improved school work, child mental health and family communication.

Key recommendations:

  1. Learning environments must be safe, nurturing and responsive.
  2. Teachers working with migrant and refugee students who have suffered trauma face particular hardships and need training to cope with challenges in the classroom.
  3. Psychosocial interventions require cooperation between education, health and social protection services.
  4. Social and emotional learning interventions need to be culturally sensitive and adapted to context. They should be delivered through extra-curricular activities as well.
  5. Community and parental involvement should not be neglected.
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People’s Rebellion is the only way to fight Climate Breakdown

People’s Rebellion is the only way to fight Climate Breakdown

There seems to be some race between the USA and Europe with France’s TOTAL that recently signed with Algeria a contract for a polypropylene plant in the country.  There were afterwards two days of public demonstrations in different localities close to the country’s oil bases in the South. Locals were out and about shouting out their frustrations of possibly turning into passive witnesses to fracking within walking distance to their familiar and naturally unkind environment.  Far from being left behind, Exxon Mobil also signed a gas contract with SONATRACH that was immediately followed by more public anger. Far north, along the 1000 miles long shores, Italy with its oil company ENI is rumoured to most probably sign a historic agreement in Algiers that will allow it to officially win the operation of two offshore oil blocks East and West of the capital city. It looks as if the absent and dormant elites, political or business alike got together, and that people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown.

Whether it is a legitimate offshore operation with diversification as its goal or merely a costly stunt to divert attention from the potential fracking of those ginormous pockets of shale oil in the deep Saharan south would remain to be seen.
Meanwhile in the UK, George Monbiot’s thoughts dated October 18, 2018, on the same issue of the country’s future being tossed alternatively between the capital’s plush offices and the countryside’s and villages bucolic streets.

As the fracking protesters show, a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown

Our politicians, under the influence of big business, have failed us. As they take the planet to the brink, it’s time for disruptive, nonviolent disobedience

It is hard to believe today, but the prevailing ethos among the educated elite was once public service. As the historian Tony Judt documented in Ill Fares the Land, the foremost ambition among graduates in the 1950s and 60s was, through government or the liberal professions, to serve their country. Their approach might have been patrician and often blinkered, but their intentions were mostly public and civic, not private and pecuniary.

Today, the notion of public service seems as quaint as a local post office. We expect those who govern us to grab what they can, permitting predatory banks and corporations to fleece the public realm, then collect their reward in the form of lucrative directorships. As the Edelman Corporation’s Trust Barometer survey reveals, trust worldwide has collapsed in all major institutions, and government is less trusted than any other.

As for the economic elite, as the consequences of their own greed and self-interest emerge, they seek, like the Roman oligarchs fleeing the collapse of the western empire, only to secure their survival against the indignant mob. An essay by the visionary author Douglas Rushkoff this summer, documenting his discussion with some of the world’s richest people, reveals that their most pressing concern is to find a refuge from climate breakdown, and economic and societal collapse. Should they move to New Zealand or Alaska? How will they pay their security guards once money is worthless? Could they upload their minds on to supercomputers? Survival Condo, the company turning former missile silos in Kansas into fortified bunkers, has so far sold every completed unit.

Most governments, like the UK, Germany, the US and Australia, push us towards the brink on behalf of their friendsTrust, the Edelman Corporation observes, “is now the deciding factor in whether a society can function”. Unfortunately, our mistrust is fully justified. Those who have destroyed belief in governments exploit its collapse, railing against a liberal elite (by which they mean people still engaged in public service) while working for the real and illiberal elite. As the political economist William Davies points out, “sovereignty” is used as a code for rejecting the very notion of governing as “a complex, modern, fact-based set of activities that requires technical expertise and permanent officials”.

Nowhere is the gulf between public and private interests more obvious than in governments’ response to the climate crisis. On Monday, UK energy minister Claire Perry announced that she had asked her advisers to produce a roadmap to a zero-carbon economy. On the same day, fracking commenced at Preston New Road in Lancashire, enabled by the permission Perry sneaked through parliament on the last day before the summer recess.

The minister has justified fracking on the grounds that it helps the country affect a “transition to a lower-carbon economy”. But fracked gas has net emissions similar to, or worse than, those released by burning coal. As we are already emerging from the coal era in the UK without any help from fracking, this is in reality a transition away from renewables and back into fossil fuels.

@GeorgeMonbiot

Read more on The Guardian

SONATRACH will launch offshore drilling

SONATRACH will launch offshore drilling

Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas company SONATRACH will launch offshore drilling with France’s TOTAL (NYSE: TOT) and Italy’s ENI (NYSE: E) on two sites in the east and west of Algeria at the start of 2019, its CEO said on Oct. 7.

“We should start drilling at the beginning of next year,” Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour told reporters on the side-lines of a signing ceremony with TOTAL for a petrochemical plant that will produce 550,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year.

“The potential is huge. We have gas in the east around Skikda, and oil in the west around Mostaganem,” he added.

SONATRACH and TOTAL have also agreed to invest $406 million to boost the output of the gas field named Tin Fouye Tabankort Sud.

“Our partnership with TOTAL is good and it allows us to implement our long-term strategy,” Ould Kaddour told reporters.

TOTAL Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement earlier on Oct. 7 that TOTAL and SONATRACH had signed new agreements, including a contract to develop the Erg Issouane gas field.

In the meantime, here is the same event as reported by the francophone local media: Algeria is officially embarking on offshore oil exploitation. The CEO of SONATRACH, Abdelmoumen Ould K, confirmed that the first offshore drilling would be launched in the first half of 2019.

For Algeria, these new drillings have become more than an alternative to oil extracted onshore. It is important to know that the recurring increase in crude oil and technological advances in offshore operations offer more opportunities and margins for petroleum companies.

In all likelihood, it is the Italian giant ENI who as the partner of SONATRACH for the development of its offshore activities. SONATRACH has long conducted negotiations with ENI’s to launch these explorations. These negotiations have advanced considerably since the conclusion in January 2017 of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Italian company Versalis (a 100% subsidiary of the Italian group ENI) to carry out studies on petrochemical projects.

The MoU with Versalis deals with feasibility studies for the realisation of petrochemical complexes in Algeria, and the strengthening of cooperation between the two companies in the field of Petrochemicals.

It is to be noted that offshore oil exploitation has its peculiarities if compared to the conventional oil exploitation. This difference is due to the environment in which it occurs. In fact, up to 200 m in depth, it is possible to fix the operating platform. More than 200 m, pressures are increasing and becoming less sustainable. The control of operations, even though robots, is then more difficult. In these conditions, floating platforms are more appropriate. Most offshore oil farms do not exceed 500 m in depth.

The first offshore drilling will be carried out in the provinces of Oran and Béjaïa, delimited as offshore exploration zones after seismic studies were carried out in their territorial waters. The interpretation of the 2d seismic data of the 1200 km of the Algerian coasts, led the prospecting to these two provinces. In Algeria, offshore areas that are likely to hold hydrocarbons are located between 2000 and 2500 metres in depth, according to the results of the first seismic studies carried out on the Algerian offshore. As for the cost of single offshore drilling, it is close to $100 million.

Abdelghani Henni, back in January wrote that Algeria ranks third globally after China and Argentina in technically recoverable shale gas reserves with 20 Tcm, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Source: Shutterstock.com)
Developing abundant shale gas has become a necessity for Algeria to reverse its declining domestic natural gas production and safeguard its economy.  Shale gas is however not for NOW. The struggle is ferocious between the French and the Americans and it is not over yet.

Meanwhile, it must be said that all the onshore and diminishing conventional oil reserves are located deep in the Algerian Sahara whereas all offshore are obviously in the country’s territorial waters of its northern shores.  Shale gas on the other hand prospected pockets are mostly all located also in the Sahara but close to many inhabited oases whose populations are predominantly and adamantly against any exploration of such fossil resources.

Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity

Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity

People of the Mediterranean countries know only too well that every summer coincides with mighty forests fires that sometime take days to put out. These peoples have always lived within the Mediterranean Woodland and Forest ecoregion stretches from the coastal plains to the hills of northern Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and eventually surrounds of the Atlas Mountains. The variety of substrates and climates leads to a diverse mix of vegetation including holm oak forests, cork oak forests, wild olive and carob woodlands, as well as extensive Berber ‘thuya’ forest. This old, endemic North African conifer species is representative of the great diversity and endemism of both flora and fauna in this ecoregion. This article of Fabrizio Manco, Anglia Ruskin University is about the same phenomenon occurring in the United Kingdom where it is customarily unheard of for Millenia. What is it then? Would it be as put by nature communications, Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity, and recent wildfire surges may signal fire weather-induced pyro geographic shifts. 

How climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires

Fabrizio Manco, Anglia Ruskin University

The army has been called in to help firefighters deal with a huge wildfire on Saddleworth Moor, Greater Manchester, where residents have been forced to evacuate. Wildfires are also blazing across Northern California while the issue of bushfires in Australia calls for constant vigilance from the emergency services there. These fires are becoming more common and one of the reasons for this is climate change.

Warmer temperatures in the summer and associated drier conditions desiccate plant materials and create more vegetation litter, providing more fuel for these fires. Several studies have linked the increase of wildfires with climate change in various parts of the world, such as North America and Southern Europe.

For example, a study in California from 2004 found that the warmer and windier weather (brought about by an atmosphere with higher levels of CO2) produced fires that burned more intensely and spread faster in most locations. Despite enhanced firefighting efforts, the number of escaped fires (those exceeding initial containment limits) increased by 51% in the south San Francisco Bay area, 125% in the Sierra Nevada.

This image, captured by NASA’s Terra satellite, demonstrates the scale of the Saddleworth fire.
University of Dundee

It has also been demonstrated that increases in rainfall during winter and spring – which are also known consequences of climate change – provide more favourable conditions for plant growth and therefore more potential fuel for the fires later in the summer.

Even though climate change increases the vulnerability of dry environments to wildfires, a source of ignition is still required. In the UK, it can be natural (such as bolts of lightning) or caused by man either deliberately or accidentally. Various studies have shown that the number of recreational visits to “risky” sites, such as the English Peak District, increase the occurrence of wildfire.

Human activities have shaped heathlands and moorlands in the UK over the centuries, keeping them open and slowing down the natural succession towards more closed forest habitats. Despite the human impact on their origin, moorlands represent important ecosystems for numerous endangered species including reptiles, insects and birds.

Moorland management

But historic poor management has caused a lot of damage in moorland habitats. The introduction of non-native species for the moor, such as Rhododendron or planted conifers, has affected biodiversity. Overgrazing and drainage has increased the risks of erosion and flooding by reducing vegetation cover and limiting the ability for the soil to absorb precipitations. This, in turn, as lead to an increase in aridity of the habitat – which is the perfect environment for wildfires.

Nowadays, most of the UK’s moorlands are associated with red grouse shooting and are managed in relation to that activity. Procedures include rotational burning and control of predators. Some of these processes are controversial with some environmentalists claiming it can turn the moorland into a “monoculture” of low heather which can be highly susceptible to wildfires. But the evidence on this is not clear and a report by the RSPB found little proof of the negative effect of grouse moor management on biodiversity, flooding and wildfires.

The ecological role of fire

Landscapes and their plant and animal communities are not fixed in time. They are under the influence of dynamic processes that can be recurrent (such as marine tides and seasonal flooding) or catastrophic (volcanic eruptions or storms). Fire – whether natural or man-made – is an important factor that will drive the structure and wildlife composition of ecosystems.

Some areas, such as the Mediterranean region or the African savannah, have been shaped by fire for thousands of years. Plants and animals have evolved to cope with the periodic perturbations due to it. For example, some seeds can only germinate after they have been burnt.

There are even some plants and animals that are contributing in the propagation of wildfires. In Australia, some raptor birds have been observed picking up burning sticks and dropping them in unburned areas to force potential prey out of their burrows.

Despite its destructive power, fire is an important ecological process that can benefit several endangered species by maintaining their habitat. It is an important tool in the management and preservation of heathlands and moorlands in the UK when used appropriately and in a controlled way.

The ConversationBut climate change and human activities increase the vulnerability of those habitats to uncontrolled wildfires and higher population densities near these areas will potentially put more people and houses at risk. In addition to the global battle against climate change, appropriate management procedures are necessary to maintain those habitats and ensure the risks of uncontrolled fires are minimised and the potential spread of them reduced.

Fabrizio Manco, Senior Lecturer in GIS and Ecology, Anglia Ruskin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation

 

Employment Policy in 2017 – 2020 for Algeria

Employment Policy in 2017 – 2020 for Algeria

Or else Facing Unemployment Increase?

The National Office of Statistics (ONS) has this month announced unemployment that is worrying but predictable is on the increase. Moreover, despite all investment and employment agencies opting for a maximum of projects with financial and tax benefits, it should however be asked if these projects were fit for purpose as per a global vision of the country’s development. And, whether these are promising segments of sustainable growth or just some cosmetic operations for the redistribution of the rentier annuity to calm the social front? This contribution would want to look at Employment policy in 2017 – 2020 for Algeria and here it is as compiled from various write-ups of mine as leader of a multidisciplinary team of economists, sociologists and demographers between 2007 and 2008 on an audit (1) for the Algerian Government on employment and wages (eight volumes 980 pages).
Algeria according to international observers, as reiterated on November 2, 2016 in Algiers by an independent expert with the delegation of the European Parliament in Algiers chaired by Mr. Antonio Panzeri, Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries, has a full potential, subject to far-reaching reforms, to establish a diversified economy responsible for the creation of sustainable jobs and therefore the stability of the Mediterranean region and Africa

Structure of employment and unemployment between 2013 / 2017

The Algerian population has grown to 41.30 million on January 1st, 2017 and in April 2017, according to the ONS, the workforce reached a total of 12.27 million people with 2.52 million (20.60%) of women, against 12.12 million in September 2016, and a positive balance of 160,000 people, or an increase of 1.3%..

By the end of 2015, the active population was 11.93 million and unemployment for the same period, according to the ONS, was 11.2% with a 29.9% of youth unemployment.

According to the ONS, quoted by the Algerian Press Service (APS), the active population, was in April 2017 estimated at 10.769 million against 10.845 in September 2016, registering a negative balance of 76,000 people as compared to September 2016 where six out of ten people are on average long-term unemployed, which means 62.2% are looking for a job for 1 or over a year.

The unemployed population reached thereby 1.50 million, or 12.3% nationally, an increase of 1.8 point compared to September 2016. Youth unemployment rate for the 16-24 years was 29.7% and the distribution according to education, it was found that 787,000 unemployed had no degree , or more than half of all the unemployed population (52.2%). Thus, unemployment without qualification rose from 7.7% in September 2016 to 10.1% in April 2017, whereas that of graduates of vocational training increased from 13% to 14.8% between the same periods.

On the other hand, unemployment amongst university graduates declined slightly from 17.7% in September 2016 to 17.6% in April 2017. Still according to the ONS, the decline in the volume of employment between September 2016 and April 2017 has affected the sector of the construction industry with a negative balance of 91,000 people, and that of trade, services, and public administration a negative balance of 84,000 whereas, a positive balance was recorded for the sector of agriculture (63,000) and industry (36,000) compared with September 2016.

The preliminary report of the International monetary Fund (IMF) on the global economic outlook for Algeria shows that if in 2016, the growth of real GDP was 4.2%, the situation is expected to significantly deteriorate in 2017 and 2018. Indeed, the IMF expects growth of 1.4% of GDP in Algeria in 2017 and 2018; the Algerian economy should know stagnation, with a growth rate of GDP of only 0.6%. A direct result of the economic slowdown, the unemployment rate should substantially increase over the same period up to an estimated 13.2% in 2018 with an inflationary trend always according to the IMF that we are trying to compensate by creating jobs to very low value added.

An April 2016 investigation of the ONS confirmed that services sector were the trend of the economy with its correlation in employment. But these services sector are basically small trade and services representing 83% of the economic area with very low productivity and not comparable to those of the developed countries where the services sector notably through the information and communication technologies create opportunities for economic growth and generate productive employment.

Indeed, in April 2016, the structure of employment by sector of activity highlights market and non-market services to absorb 61.6% of the total work force, followed by construction (16.8%), industry (13%) and agriculture (8.7%). In a more precise way, on administration, according to the public service, the number of staff on January 1, 2015 is of 2,020,172 officials including 1,608,964 full time (79,64%) and 411,208 (20.30%) contractual agents.

State central administration is represented by 313,171 agents or 15.50% and 813,725 of decentralised national authorities officers or 41.57%, 312,009 local authorities administration agents or 15.4%, public administrative bodies 449,268 agents, or 22.24%, and all public scientific and technology 105,999 agents, or 5.25%. the young represent 274,074 agents, the 30 to 40 year old 735,756 agents, the 41/50 year old 668,725, the 50 to 59 years 92,580, and the more than 60 years only 20,944.

By sectors, the Interior represent 29,22%, education 29,34% with 592,831 of which 297,394 female agents, public health 13.19% with 138,581 out of a total 266,525 agents, higher education with women’s 8.50% of a workforce of 95,118 out of 171,761 total agents, finance with 4.15% vocational training with 2.80%, justice with 2.16% and other sectors 10.64%.

Investment between 2000 and 2017 allocation

Knowing that the industrial sector represents less than 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and on these 95% are SMIs/SMEs making up the Algerian productive fabric today going through difficulties because of bureaucratic, sclerotic financial system, socio-educational system not adapted, land disorganisation, in addition to competition from an informal sphere that controls 40 to 50% of the money in circulation. It must be asked if the young developers approved by programs such as the National Agency of Investment Development (ANDI), “Agence Nationale de Soutien a l’emploi des Jeunes” (ANSEJ) and other agencies responsible for the promotion of employment, have the qualification and above all the experience necessary to manager projects, like what is happening everywhere in the world, running a business in a competitive environment in order to have competitive prices.

Is there not a risk of wastage of oil revenues related financial resources and the use of Treasury towards the reorganization of public enterprises? As this is currently the case for El Hajar real financial chasms despite its public euphoric promises of the resolution of all problems between 2014 and 2015.

Because the current political  industrial, without coherence is based on the material age (iron-cement) of the 1970s believing it to be the silver bullet.

Was it not a reasonable path meanwhile a real revival of non-hydrocarbon segments, to invest in the acquisition of knowledge by additional training and internships so as to prepare seriously for insertion in active life permanently?

How can we not forget that, according to official data in terms of the distribution of projects by sectors is transport that has attracted the most investment, closely followed by the building, public works, followed by far less than 15 to 20% of the industry and agriculture sectors with a low foreign direct investment FDI.

Large firms choose to settle in the neighbouring countries and trade with us mainly because of the 2009 Finance Act with its widespread share ownership rule of 49 / 51% is considered too protectionist by all foreign investors hence slowing the momentum of the IDEs towards the SMIs/SMEs. In General, the results of employment of the ANDI, the ANSEJ and the CNAC agencies with reference to projects and not in intention are mixed despite many benefits.

As according to some sources, more than 50% of the projects are abandoned after receiving benefits and the many disputes with banks about non refunds attest to this.

However, before any costly operation without analyzing its profitability in terms of dynamics in the light of the new technological changes and global managerial systems, a serene balance would mean to answer the following questions and this in a way specific and quantified:

  • What is the assessment of the ANDI, “Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Chomage” (CNAC) and the ANSEJ since their existence in the effective realisation of these projects and not those filed in and their legal status;
  • What is the time limit for projects carried out between the time of the deposit and the actual realization knowing that time management is of the essence;
  • For those realised projects how many got bankrupt according to the rules of the commercial code;
  • What is the share of hard currency vs. Dinars of these projects;
  • What is the level of bank debt of projects with the amount of bad debts;
  • What is the breakdown of bank credit per projects;
  • What is the exact amount of tax benefits for both the realised projects and those not carried out;
  • What is the breakdown of the jobs with the level of qualification per projects and those created insofar as the development of the 21st century is based on the development of knowledge;
  • What is the contribution to the country’s real added value of these projects;
  • Are these projects notably those realised up to international values insofar as with globalization, that despite the crisis, we have an open economy due to the fact to Algeria’s international commitments.

Also, to get an idea of the necessary balance and in order to go beyond the current entropy, it is necessary to assess the impact of public spending thus:

  • On the rate of growth, the unemployment rate and the purchasing power of citizens
  • Conducting surveys so as to highlight the distribution of income and consumption by strata model and determine the concentration index in real and not fictitious terms, and according to a dynamic medium and long term vision
  • The share of markets granted to national (public and private), distinguishing also self-financing and borrowing from banks and especially their production capacities,
  • Clearly distinguish within the investment part of hard currencies and part in Dinars;
  • The share of contracts awarded to foreigners;
  • Have these contributed to the accumulation of the organizational and technological know-how or was it turnkey contracts ;
  • What is their equity contribution and the share covered by Algerian banks;
  • What has been the amount of the flow of foreign direct investment and transfers of capital to Algeria;
  • What is the amount of currency outflow (goods – services often ignored of 10 to $12 billion dollars per year between 2010 and 2016) and legal capital transfers and finally analyze the impact of the implementation of the import licenses that must be part of a strategic goal of boosting without complacency the national productive fabric, being transitional and granted in total transparency to avoid pension situation and respecting international agreements.

For a new political job and wages policy

There is a universal law; the employment rate is a function of the rate of growth and of the structures of the productivity rates of competitive value-added enterprise. Jobs are not created through decrees or State voluntarism; the solution of ease is creating jobs in the administration.

The official unemployment rate of 12.3% for April 2017 is heavily biased including overstaffing in both Governments as in public companies, the fictitious temporary jobs and jobs in the informal sphere.

Paradoxically, because of the sectoral allocation of investment through public spending, strongly biased emphasis on jobs with very low qualifications such as the construction industry, graduates are more likely to be unemployed. This sector will create between 300,000 / 400 000 jobs a year between 2017 and 2020, which are in addition to the current unemployment rate underestimated due to demographic pressure, the entry on the labour market of women underestimated in the statistics, in order to solve the nagging problem of unemployment.

What will become of the 2 million students out of universities between 2018 and 2020? In general, foreign exchange reserves are only a monetary sign to stabilise the currency against the Dollar and the Euro and no sign of development.

Inflation and unemployment that we might artificially be compressing through the rentier revenues of hydrocarbons are the consequences of the disease of the social body, i.e. of the inconsistencies of the socio-economic policies. Without widespread subsidies, non-targeted, combined with the slippage of the Dinar, in the case of non-increasing production and real productivity, of the decline in foreign exchange reserves that sustain the Dinar value by up to 70%, the inflation rate could, in the coming years, reach double-digit with inevitable social tensions.

With the decline in receipts from hydrocarbons, this situation of widespread subsidies, tax benefits and subsidized interest granted in many areas without impact analysis, is untenable.  Without the unproductive jobs and more in case the reduction of public expenditure, the growth rate being pulled to 70 and 80% directly and indirectly by public expenditure through hydrocarbons related revenues, including the construction industry, with the risk of a property bubble, with the decline in purchasing power, the unemployment rate beyond the official rate.

While not having a mainly negative view, there were lots of achievements, perhaps with many deficiencies but there is urgent need for a strategic vision to move beyond the current situation in this world in perpetual motion and a discourse of truth would be required. The fact is that Algeria still in 2017 in transition, is neither a State-controlled economy still very far from a true market economy that is characterised by a productive and competitive economy.

During this difficult period of transition from a State to a competitive market economy and the rule of law is that the reforms are timidly initiated despite speeches that contradict daily social practices, and always restrained especially as the price of oil increases. Banks or rather rentier pension distributers continue to operate as administrative shops, and often by doing so delay reforms issues through attacking the technical more than the organizational aspects, whilst they are the driving reforms; with privatization and partnership as a means of investment and value-added trampling due to lack of consistency and transparency; food bill is high despite the famous agricultural program (NADP) which should take stock of the fact of several billions of dollars in spending and bureaucracy and corruption continue to plague.

As consequence of the inconsistency and lack of visibility of the socio-economic policy and practice for many decades not only for the current period, the currency, we are witnessing the dizzying fall of the Dinar in the official market and on the parallel market with the return to inflation that is compressed by widespread unfair subsidies via the rentier pension whereas the targeting is necessary, in the speculative activities, the discouragement of knowledge and the enterprising creator of wealth, to the extension of the informal sphere, to social tensions through the various local governorates that reflected the difficulties of the economic system to generate growth away from hydrocarbon, only condition to deal with this social unrest.

Summary

Facing inevitable budget tensions between 2017 and 2020 and the price of oil being down for a long time, it will be as based on the results quantified and dated a matter to implement both economic and social strategies on adaptation and solidarity policy, assuming a broad national front, taking into account the different sensitivities of all local and international, the mutations at the dawn of the fourth world economic revolution with geostrategic upheaval (1).

A broad social front is necessary to accelerate all structural reforms. Algeria needs to avoid the lethargy and sterility that all of its children in their diversity join forces in a same economic and social development objective. Because, a multidimensional crisis in today’s Algerian society is fundamentally systemic, beyond the strictly economic scope, referring to political aspects involving renewed governance and therefore the reestablishment of the State would be the wisest. Moreover per all international observers, Algeria having all the required potential, it is only a matter of far-reaching reforms, that are aimed at establishing a diversified economy that will in the end be the guarantor of stability not only in the country but also in the Mediterranean region and the African continent.  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

 

Europe – North Africa Cooperation in High Education

Europe – North Africa Cooperation in High Education

Europe – North Africa Cooperation in High Education comes in as education in the MENA generally and more specifically in its western half of North Africa has been for some time prioritised with various efforts being made to improve it through notably innovation with a view to creating job opportunities for the youth.
Illiteracy however remained and is still rampant although varying from country to country and from cities to rural areas within each country.
Historically, education systems of the Maghreb countries having within the last 50 years undergone since independence, reform processes whose main objectives was to prepare for the nationalization take over through European inspired education curriculums while stressing the need to respond as closely as possible to the aspirations of the indigenous cultures by providing teachers in re replacement of the predominantly European body of educators.
The situation nowadays is best described by an article on University World News Issue No. 456 of April 21, 2017 by Wagdy Sawahel who elaborated on Europe and North African higher education cooperation plans for the future.
It is well known to all around the Mediterranean basin that education and innovation are mechanisms of progress in the 21st century, whilst all ideas related to that goal resonate as being somewhat impossible to attain in most capital cities across North Africa without as it were, a hand from Europe.

Europe-North Africa HE cooperation plan unveiled

In efforts to promote cooperation in science, technology, innovation and higher education, five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union and five European countries have approved a two-year cooperation plan aimed at stimulating economic growth, job creation and social cohesion in the Western Mediterranean region.

The 10 countries are known as member states of the “5+5 Dialogue initiative: A sub-regional forum for dialogue”.

The five Maghreb countries involved are Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The five European countries include Western Mediterranean nations, namely, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

The new two year plan (2017-18) was announced at the third conference of the ministers of research, innovation and higher education of the member countries of the forum for the dialogue in the Western Mediterranean, held under the theme “Promotion of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to Achieve Social Stability and Economic Development”, in Tunis, Tunisia from 30-31 March.

Institutional network

According to a dedicated website for the 5+5 Dialogue initiative launched in Tunis, the plan encompasses several initiatives and projects, including the setting up of a network of higher education institutions, the formation of teams of researchers and engineers around joint projects, the development of a rectors’ network, along with the promotion of exchanges of best practices in quality assurance and governance.

The network of higher education institutions within the Dialogue 5+5 will focus on encouraging cooperation between higher education institutions in the Western Mediterranean Basin.

Based in Tunisia, the regional network will focus on strengthening existing university linkages and developing newer partnerships around novel cooperative projects.

The network will participate in the construction of ‘Mediterranean spaces’ dedicated to research, innovation and higher education approved and outlined in the 2013 Rabat Declaration and endorsed at the first conference of ministers of research and higher education of the 5+5 Dialogue states, held in Morocco.

Free movement

Mediterranean spaces will be based on the principle of free movement of researchers between the two western shores of the Mediterranean and on a connection to regional and global scientific networks to facilitate the exchange of scientific data and development of skills.

It will also focus on intellectual property, patenting and exchange of students, academics and research between countries.

The network will also support initiatives that promote institutional partnerships, including scientific networks, the mobility of students, faculty and administrators, multi-diploma or thesis co-supervision, and the development of online training and research

Collaboration with researchers in the region will be enhanced under the Horizon 2020 programme known as PRIMA – Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area – that will help bridge the gap and regulate the brain drain through the creation of poles of excellence in member countries.

The proposed Dialogue 5+5 rectors’ network will focus on specific initiatives including organising regular encounters between rectors and presidents from all Dialogue 5+5 countries, with visits to universities and polytechnic institutes as well as international meetings of students and researchers, and the holding of conferences and seminars on mobility and academic interchanges.

Enhancing quality

Besides sharing quality assurance practices, the plan will enhance exchanges on governance with a focus on the organisation of teaching, research and innovation in order to improve the management, efficiency and financial autonomy of institutions.

At the opening of the conference, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said that a national conference on higher education reform will take place in Tunis in the period from 30 June-1 July to present a higher education reform plan that will focus on five major axes, including university training, employment, human resources, governance and innovation, according to a local press report.