OCEMO programmes in the Mediterranean Region


OCEMO (office de Coopération Economique pour la Méditerranée et l’Orient)  is a research centre as well as a French think-tank organisation based in Marseille, France.  It was set up in 2011 with the objective to encourage a constructive dialogue between the various economic players in the region.  It also aims to consolidate the regional perspective focusing all reflection, action and projects on issues for the future, i.e. : youth, employment and entrepreneurship.

The original ‘DNA’ of the OCEMO makes it a unique institution, because most of its members are networks.  Thus, the vocation of the ‘Office’ is to gather these actors, in order to promote their cooperation highlighting the complementary nature of their missions.  The ‘Office’ relies on more than 180 research laboratories, 100 schools and training institutes.  In total the OCEMO gathers more than 550 institutions and represents 100,000 contacts.  It plays a role of animator between these different networks and provides the engineering to projects.  OCEMO is not limited to a particular focus on a geographical area or sector, and expands the scope of its programmes, when required.

Intermediate between the economic actors of the West Mediterranean and the East, the OCEMO accompanies and implements actions to promote social and economic development in all around the Mediterranean Sea.  It also provides integrated expertise streams from strategic inceptions to operational implementation of projects.

Young people, employment and entrepreneurship

Linking different worlds

Linking different worlds

The aim of OCEMO’s programmes in this area is twofold, with both a theoretical and practical components.

On the one hand, OCEMO serves civil society by organising and sharing an improved understanding the specific characteristic of the Mediterranean populations and their particular regions.  It then supports local policymakers and provides recommendations that could strengthen their public policies.

On the other, it (OCEMO) helps create ways to improving employment and entrepreneurship, by carrying out, supporting and coordinating several programmes that promote the integration of unqualified young people who are facing exclusion, but also qualified young people who are unemployed.

Economic development

Making the Marseille-Provence and Euro-Mediterranean regions an attractive destination requires multiple partnerships.

Important examples include Marseille-Provence region partners, who work with OCEMO on actions to make the region more attractive, and to optimise its influence. Using large events or more specific working groups, OCEMO coordinates and manages tools to promote the region’s advantages, ensuring that they are given the attention they deserve.

More generally, partnerships with Mediterranean institutions, training organisations and businesses help extend programmes and export French know-how.

OCEMO implements various programmes:

When OCEMO was launched, it seemed appropriate to conduct an extensive survey into the expectations of young people in Mediterranean countries.

This work needed to:

  • Let young people from the Mediterranean and Middle East express themselves and their aspirations.
  • Facilitate the decisions made by public and private policymakers.
  • Help implement suitable policies.

The added value of this Mediterranean survey is to obtain objective information about the experience of young people, both in terms of their family situations and feelings.

An initial survey was carried out in the Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz region in Morocco and OCEMO has started to draw out and share the initial lessons learnt.  OCEMO is now looking to repeat this survey in other regions or countries around the Mediterranean Basin.

The MedNC Network project

Med NC

The MedNC programme is coordinated by OCEMO, in partnership with the Second Chance School (E2C) in Marseille and the French Development Agency (AFD), and certified by the Union for the Mediterranean.  It consists of developing a network of employment access initiatives, with “Second Chance” certification, with a view to helping young people across the Mediterranean access employment.

The programme has been designed as a multi-national knowledge sharing platform that seeks to promote local initiatives such as “Second Chance schools”, with an educational model that has been tried and tested in France.

This programme aims to:

  • Help improve the employability of young people, particularly young women, in order to reduce the youth unemployment rate in Mediterranean countries.
  • Support the development of local businesses by providing them with a workforce specially trained to meet their needs.
  • Improve awareness among public authorities of the major challenge of accessing employment, even for young people, in order to strengthen existing relief and support measures in target countries.
  • Strengthen cooperation across the Euro-Mediterranean region between stakeholders who work to promote the social and professional integration of young people via experience feedback and knowledge transfer.

The JEY project

The creation of student associations under the JEY project – “Jeunes Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurship for Youth”.  This project offers a system that brings together students, their teachers and partner businesses/organisations, in order to offer unemployed young people support in starting businesses.  It is led by the ‘Réseau des Ecoles d’Ingénieurs et de Management’ (RMEI-RMEM) and jointly coordinated by OCEMO.

Other OCEMO Mediterranean programmes

These are :

  • The EDILE project


The EDILE project aims to improve governance mechanisms and build the capacity of local authorities and economic organisations, in order to maximise the positive impacts of investment projects and promote sustainable and inclusive economic development in Mediterranean countries.

  • The Mediterranean Economic Week (SEM)

The Mediterranean Economic Week is a partnership initiative which aims to encourage networking between businesses, institutions and civil society representatives for a week in Marseille, in order to discuss and debate the major economic issues facing Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.  OCEMO has coordinated this event since 2012

  • OCEMO Workshops

OCEMO seeks to distribute the work of all its members and share their experience. In order to boost projects as best as possible, OCEMO serves its partners by organising workshops in line with their current situation.  This may involve a seminar, round-table meeting, workshop or other event.

Further reading of the original blog could be found at VILLA MEDITERRANEE.  OCEMO publishes a magazine with an Arabic version that could be found at La Revue.