MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders from more than 25 countries, which was held in the emblematic building of the Llotja de Mar on 15 and 16 November, was a great success

MedaWeek Barcelona 2023 concludes with a call for economic development in the Mediterranean in the face of uncertainty and conflict


A total of 1,200 people in person and another 500 by streaming, all of them from more than 25 countries from the Mediterranean region, Europe and Africa, followed the 17th edition of MedaWeek, the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, held at the Llotja de Mar in Barcelona on 15 and 16 November. This is the leading socio-economic summit in the Mediterranean, organised by the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) together with the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, which, despite the current geopolitical crisis in the region, has managed to mobilise and bring together the main Mediterranean institutions.

In the 12 forums held over the two days of MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, the leaders of these institutions, as well as entrepreneurs from different sectors and international experts, debated and provided solutions to the current challenges facing the Mediterranean, such as climate change, the digital connectivity of the countries in the area, female entrepreneurship, sustainable transition and business opportunities in sectors such as Islamic finance, health and tourism. 

All the participants agreed that "all these challenges will not be successfully addressed if we do not find peace through diplomatic channels in our region". As Anwar Zibaoui, General Coordinator of ASCAME, explains, "it has been a great challenge to hold MedaWeek when in some countries in the region there is war and violence". In his opinion, "the great participation we have had from the regional private sector is a commitment to development and the building of bridges of understanding and peace in the region". For his part, Ahmed El Wakil, President of ASCAME, took advantage of this meeting of Mediterranean economic leaders in Barcelona to call for "more protectionism and collaboration, and to strengthen multilateralism and alliances". 

New ASCAME agreements to improve the Mediterranean's competitiveness 

In the framework of MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, ASCAME has announced several initiatives that will have an impact on the prosperity and sustainable development of the region. The first is the holding of a regional council for climate change in the Mediterranean, which will serve to activate the participation of the private sector and collaboration with governments and civil society in this fight, which must be collective and encompass the entire region. 

Secondly, ASCAME is taking a new step forward in bridging the digital divide between companies in the Mediterranean. Specifically, the association has reached an agreement with different organisations and institutions in the region to respond in a multilateral way to the challenge of digital transformation, which affects SMEs in particular. As has become clear in several of the sessions at MedaWeek Barcelona 2023, greater digital connectivity between Mediterranean countries would help to increase the percentage of female entrepreneurship in the area, to improve employability rates in developing countries and to make the necessary sustainable transition possible, for example, by incorporating green technologies in all productive sectors. For example, at this conference, Digital Realty, the largest Carrier Neutral Cloud and Data Centre provider, presented its project for digital interconnection between all the countries of the Mediterranean through submarine cables. By 2027, Digital Realty plans to multiply by 10 times the capacity of submarine cabling for data transfer in the Mediterranean. 

ASCAME has announced the organisation of a Summit of Economic Leaders from the three continents - Africa, Europe and the Middle East - to be held in Egypt in May 2024. It will be a new opportunity to discuss and find common solutions to challenges such as the impact of the geopolitical context on the Mediterranean economy, the latest technological trends that are transforming industries and sectors, and the new corridors planned at global level that will turn the Mediterranean into a key epicentre. 

Finally, ASCAME has made public the agreement with the General Council of Islamic Banks of the world to collaborate jointly in the promotion of initiatives that favour climate finance and the promotion of projects that encourage sustainable development in the region.