Three people wearing coats speak over a counter.

Promoting employment, trade and investment in the Mediterranean region

UfM Hub for Jobs, Trade and Investment


High unemployment is a major challenge for the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region. In 2022, the region had a 9.6 per cent unemployment rate. Youth unemployment was 25 per cent and the rate of youth not in employment, education or training was 29 per cent in 2021.  

At the same time, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in North Africa is very low, worth only 15 billion US-Dollars in 2022, of which Egypt alone absorbed 11.4 billion US-Dollars.  

Only 3 per cent of trade in the Mediterranean occurs between the Southern Mediterranean countries. Low intra-African trade limits MENA countries’ integration into regional and global value chains.  

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is pivotal for regional exchange and cooperation between its 43 Member States. Its diverse membership makes the UfM the prime platform for dialogue and knowledge-sharing among policymakers, private sector and civil society.


Regional cooperation in the areas of employment, trade and investment is improved within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean.


In cooperation with numerous national and regional stakeholders, the project strengthens the capacities of the UfM in the areas of employment, trade and investment. Many of the support measures are dedicated to gender-focused initiatives (in particular women employment and women in trade), digital solutions as well as support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Additionally, the project offers trainings to the UfM Secretariat and its staff. It also supports the coordination of the development cooperation by the European Union (EU) and EU Member States under the Team Europe Initiative ‘Jobs through Trade and Investment in the Southern Neighbourhood’.

Last update: October 2023

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