Similarly to the 1929 global crisis that had crawled all over the world and destroyed the economies of many countries, the current global economic crisis has repercussions on every corner of the world. While the direct negative impacts emerged first in the United States, and in Europe that is closely linked to the U.S. economy which is the cradle of the crisis; the Maghreb region will not remain totally immune from the crisis, even if many officials are trying to alleviate it. It is important to outline the three main sectors that are, in my opinion, directly affected by the crisis.
Firstly: The Great Maghreb region attracts remarkable numbers of tourists, and competes with the Mediterranean countries on this front, offering diverse appealing options for holidays. High hopes were thus put on the tourism sector, which is employing an important labor force. However, the sector is currently suffering from a decrease in the number of tourists due to the crisis. If this situation persists, the sector will succumb to the unemployment threat.
Secondly: One of the primary sources of foreign currency for the Maghreb countries comes from the savings transferred by its large community living in Europe. However, some sectors where Maghreb people are employed in Europe have been hit hard by the crisis, thus making certain categories of immigrants unable to transfer funds to their home countries. Some can’t even travel to their homeland to spend the summer vacation, which could have activated a number of seasonal sectors whose workers are now suffering from the scarcity of resources.
Thirdly: Some industrial sectors in Western countries have partially transferred their activities to the Maghreb countries, in order to benefit from lower production costs, but the damages caused to the parent companies in Europe and the U.S. made them cancel some investments that were planned for the region; labor force was the primary victim of this.
When former U.S. President Roosevelt decided to face the crisis in the twenties of the last century, he came up with a new economic plan that involved the State in economic and social fields, by applying a set of reforms, and carrying investments to help launch major projects in order to attract job seekers, and restore the economy’s balance. This was probably a re-consideration of the ideology of the German economist Adolph Wagner, who considered public expenditure an important mechanism to revive the economy, since each public expense has an effect that is larger than its size.
Some Maghreb countries, such as Morocco, have followed the same path, and large projects – such as highways, large ports, airports, and creating whole new towns – had an important effect on the economic and social levels, and helped absorb the impact of the economic crisis, and mitigate its multiple consequences on the job market.
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