PAM meeting on “Alternative Capital Markets for economic growth in the Mediterranean – The critical role of parliamentarians” 4 – 5 July 2019, Milan, Borsa Italiana, Italy

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An Alternative Meeting for Alternative Capital Markets
The Borsa Italiana hosts PAM’s 2019 Trade and Investment Panel

Thursday, 4 June, 2019 marked the beginning of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean’s (PAM) Economic Affairs Panel: : “Alternative Capital Markets for Economic Growth in the Mediterranean: The Critical Role of Parliamentarians”.

Co-organizing and hosting this important yearly event as a new member to PAM and co-chair of the panel, was a great, great honour. Not only did the session mark the first time the imperative topic is discussed collectively among members, but the two-day event also took place in my home town Milan –– the national financial hub, a Global Hub and a bridge between the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe –– providing manifold opportunity for Italy to become a example of economic development and growth in the region. The Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange) is also a rather emblematic location, especially considering recent budgetary measures and active initiatives put in place to attract and support start-ups and SMEs ready for growth.

We are currently living in a time of global disruption and uncertainty, with Brexit and the trade war between the US and China as obvious examples. The OECD predicted that this year, developed economies will experience less than half the growth they did in 2017. It is therefore a very crucial moment to come together around the Mare Nostrum (Latin for Mediterranean Sea) and discuss how to take advantage of this uncertainty and use it to our collective advantage through coordinated policies and agendas. We need to take immediate action to turn these possible liabilities into assets.

The Mediterranean is an important resource that has continuously provided ample opportunity for growth. It is also located at the heart of international interests which is why it is imperative that parliamentarians devise new scenarios, policies, regulatory and legislative frameworks to build human and financial capital to increase trade and collaboration across the region. Through strong and complementary economies we can create true stability and give the Euro-Mediterranean region a central role in the global economy.

The PAM conference brought together parliamentarians with experts from various fields in order to begin building and implementing the instruments to achieve this vision. Over 160 participants from more than 25 countries registered to attend the conference. In addition to members of parliament and parliamentary delegations, key figures and players in the field of finance and over 40 firms and companies, federations and associations from the private sector participated alongside partnering organisations, the UN, financial institutions and academics. The ability to bring such a diversified assembly of stakeholders to the table to analyse such important economic issues is one of PAM’s greatest strengths and most important assets.

As a result, the event was game changing. The agenda was rich, dense and rigorous.

PAM has continuously given particular attention to SMEs and youth, representing the core of the Mediterranean economies. The first day panels and talks focused on disruptive technologies that are shaping the map of trade and investments and unlocking unprecedented opportunities for SMEs, self-employment, young entrepreneurs and e-commerce platforms, in addition to FinTech and various other forms of funding and growth development (minibonds, IPOs, crowdfunding). The second day sectoral groups engaged the more socio-economic aspects such as security, economic transparency, political accountability, sustainability and employment, to name a few. The side meetings, collaborations and overall excitement was paramount, giving birth to many new initiatives and an eagerness to continue working towards a solution together.
It is crucial to harness this momentum! The resulting security, economic stability and rule of law would undeniably attract more investments and create more jobs, and would also positively impact political stability and social security in the region.

Stay tuned for more highlights of the full two-days.

Fun fact:
Did you know that the Emperor Hadrian declared the Lebanese Cedar forest imperial domain in order to stop deforestation for ship making? This historic ecological gesture shows that business sustainability has deep roots on both sides of the sea. The Mediterranean region has always been vanguard!

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