1- Is there a middle Income trap?
Economic history shows that it takes a long time for a middle income country to move up to high income status and that only a few lucky ones managed to do so. It took countries that reached a high income status before 1950 about 95 years to make the transition. In the last 65 years (1950-2015), only a handful of economies were able to do the same, although it took them only an average of 32 years. As such, countries that are currently in the middle income stage include those that have been there for a long time and those that have arrived recently. This session will aim to answer the question “Is there a middle income trap?” drawing on economic history and examining different countries experiences.
• Is it a coincidence that the domestic production and exports of the few countries that succeeded after 1950 in making a rapid transition to high income are dominated by manufactured goods instead of raw materials and commodities?
• Did globalization and vertically specialized industrialization make it more difficult for newly emerging middle income countries to transition to a high income status?
• What are the policy options for middle-income countries to accelerate their transition to a high- income status?
• How can governments support this transition through effective national industrial policies? Should governments favor sector specific policies?
2- Natural resources and political power in fragile states
The fate of several resource rich countries is taken as ground for the argument that resource abundance can weaken governance and create increased risk of state fragility. Indeed, many fragile states generate their income from natural resources while neglecting other productive sectors of the economy. Moreover, rents from natural resources create increased incentives for corruption, criminality and conflict – which undermines the legitimacy of the institutions managing these revenues.
This session will look at the role of government in resource management and invite participants to share examples of how some countries of the Atlantic space have been addressing “The Resource Curse”.
• How can resource rich fragile states better harness their resource wealth?
• Does democratic accountability improve resource management in fragile states?
• What policy instruments can help prevent that resources do not result in a decline in governance?
• What would be a global solution to improve income traceability?
• What is the role and responsibility of agents outside the country (e.g. countries where resource extraction companies are based)?
3- Labor demand and migration across the Mediterranean
Questions about the effects of migration on the labor market of host countries have intensified in recent years amidst growing global refugee crises. While aging societies in European countries need immigration to shore up their declining labor forces in order to sustain their economies, countries on the South shore of the Mediterranean and those further South are in the midst of a youth bulge and experiencing high youth unemployment rates. Many economists believe that immigration can fill labor shortage, help increase investment and accelerate economic growth in receiving countries. Yet, no issue is more divisive politically than immigration, especially that across the Mediterranean. The inability of the European Union to craft a common and coherent migration policy, consistent with the freedom of movement within the Union, adds to the complexity. The resulting tensions fuel the spreading fire of populist and nativist politics across Europe. This session will discuss the labor market effects of immigration and refugee inflows to both host countries and countries of origin in the Atlantic space.
• Will the migration pressures abate or increase in the future?
• Can economic development contribute to less migration?
• What are the elements of an appropriate European migration policy?
• What type of policies generate positive labor market effects from immigration?
• Are detention centers in North Africa the answer?
• How should the countries North and South of the Mediterranean collaborate on migration?
4- Agribusiness and agritech in emerging economies
Agribusiness and Agritech are considered key to help develop the agricultural sector in emerging economies. They play a major role in the livelihood and well-being of populations, agricultural growth improvement, and the establishment of new organizations in Africa and South America. Not only do they contribute to ensuring food security in those countries, but they also provide them with the opportunity to integrate their supply chain into the global food market. Agribusiness and Agritech promote value addition by using high-level technologies and organizing agricultural value chains. In emerging economies - particularly in Africa and South America -, there is a real need to improve the existing agricultural systems in order to overcome choke points, reduce costs, enhance agricultural productivity and add more value to final products. This session will seek to address the guiding questions:
• What are the challenges faced by agribusiness and Agritech adoption in the Atlantic space?
• What are examples of new processing technologies that should be adopted?
• What policy shifts should accompany this transformation?
5- Is the future of multilateralism at stake?
The multilateral system established in the aftermath of the Second World War to ensure international peace and security and free trade is increasingly challenged by both defenders and detractors.
For the former, the institutions and rules of multilateralism must be reformed to claim to represent fairly the entire international community and contribute to the socio-economic development of the less nourished among its members.
For the latter, multilateralism is relevant only if it serves their national interests or does not thwart them.
Recent decisions to withdraw from the International Agreement on Climate Change or Disarmament or the adoption of unilateral acts restricting free trade raise important questions about the future of multilateralism.
• Does multilateralism need saving from populist forces?
• How can proponents of multilateralism show why international cooperation is not just valuable, but necessary?
• Is it possible to deepen the existing system of global governance without the support of the USA?
• How could the EU address its internal divisions to make the case for a strong multilateral system?
• What does the growing geopolitical weight of emerging countries such as China mean for the future of the multipolar system?