North Africa Economic Partnership Announced Between Aspen Institute and US Department of State

December 2, 2010

Contact: Vanessa Zuabi
Associate Director, Middle East Programs
The Aspen Institute
Phone: 202.721.5598

Washington, DC, December 2, 2010 – The Aspen Institute announced the launch of the North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), a new effort between the Aspen Institute and the US Department of State. The announcement was made today at the Maghreb Entrepreneurship Summit in Algiers, Algeria, hosted by the US Algeria Business Council and Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez. The Aspen Institute will serve as Secretariat for NAPEO and will work with US and regional partners to help develop stronger engagement between the US and the Maghreb, as well as create economic opportunities in the following partner countries: Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya.

“The Aspen Institute has had a long history of success convening the public and private sectors to develop partnerships that turn ideas into action,” stated Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson. “The North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity, like Partners for a New Beginning and the US-Palestinian Partnership, will build networks of US and regional partners in the Maghreb to generate sustainable change in the region.”

President Obama stated in his address to the United Nations that the United States will “seek partnerships with local governments and organizations to give them a voice in setting their priorities.” NAPEO will build partnerships and networks in the Maghreb that will foster engagement between the US and the region in order to enhance economic opportunity in the region.

NAPEO will work to strengthen low-level, cross-border ties and build targeted cross-border initiatives between business leaders and private sector stakeholders throughout the region. It will also work to encourage innovation, foster entrepreneurship, and facilitate job creation in each of the five countries. The Partnership will also harness private sector and civil society resources in the Maghreb in order to advance the vision President Obama laid out in his June 2009 Cairo speech; to renew engagement with Muslims around the world based on mutual respect and responsibility.

The Partnership will focus on five major initiatives: The Young Business Leaders and Associations Network, The Leadership and Training Academy, the Innovation and Technology Incubator, The Creative Industries Incubator and the Center for Entrepreneurship Excellence.  Each will work with regional partners to develop economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in the region both online and offline through mentorship programs and training academies that focus on areas of education, technology, and the arts.

The Aspen Institute’s partners include Intel Corporation, Education for Employment, Center for Research Development Foundation, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, Creative Leaps International, the Algeria Start-Up Initiative, and the South Mediterranean University School of Management in Tunisia.

The Aspen Institute mission is two fold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.


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