EED Quarterly Newsletter

29/03/2021
April 2021

Recent events at EED

Can dialogue foster real change? How think tanks and civil society can influence decision-makers in North Africa

For this online event, held on 24 February 2021, EED invited experts from North Africa to discuss possible scenarios for real change and the role of think tanks in policy-making in times of socio-economic and health crisis.

2021.02.26 North Africa Event 9

Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria were already in crisis long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. All three countries are marked by rising socio-economic inequalities, lack of public services and widespread corruption. Political elites have been largely unresponsive with no demonstrated interest in genuine reform.

Tunisia, once regarded as the only success of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, is now on the verge of bankruptcy while its political class is accused of amateurism and inconsistencies leading to growing protest. In Morocco, despite many pledges by the king and the government to fight corruption and boost transparency, little has been achieved to date and like many governments worldwide, the Moroccan authorities have used the COVID-19 pandemic period to enforce increased restrictions on civil society, further limiting freedom of expression and assembly. After a brief period of hope in 2019 with the emergence of the Hirak movement in Algeria, the demands of the protest movement have not been answered. Furthermore, the authorities are seeking to silence every critical voice in the country.

Citizens in all three countries have little trust in public institutions and in their elected officials and democracy activists have long called for genuine political and economic reforms that respond to real needs. To date these recommendations have gone unheeded. Youth has been particularly badly hit by this reality as young people have little hope for the future.

For our online event titled "Can dialogue foster real change? How think tanks and civil society can influence decision-makers in North Africa", held on 24 February 2021, EED invited experts from the region to discuss possible scenarios for real change and how think tanks can still influence those who are making decisions to adopt policies that address the consequences of the current socio-economic and health crisis.

More information about the event and the speakers can be found here.