The renewable energy sector and youth employment in the Maghreb

05/10/2016
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“Despite transition contexts, negative impacts of the global economic and financial crises, and important socio-economic pressures, the Maghreb countries should maintain their ambitious objectives of increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. The region should also invest in renewable energy infrastructures, harmonize regulatory frameworks, develop consumer protection, and progress towards efficient and integrated energy markets,” a recent publication from the African Development Bank, entitled “The Renewable energy sector and youth (un)employment in the Maghreb” highlighted.

Legislative framework conditions and regulations are not always conducive to renewable energy development, but the renewable energy sector is accelerating in almost all Maghreb countries. The growing international, national and local interest in investing in wind and solar energy systems can be further fostered by a gradual liberalisation of the renewable energy sector and more financial incentives. Numerous wind and solar projects are still in preparation - their implementation could be accelerated.

The report says that high growth rates especially in worldwide wind energy is expected. This would also be the case for the Maghreb in a mid-term perspective. Renewable energy will become more competitive and depend less on subsidies, due to the expected technological progress in the coming years. The number of green jobs will increase, but expectations should be realistic. The development of new green job profiles or the “greening” of conventional jobs represents an important and innovative motor for education systems, employment strategies and the general economic context.

Further development of interconnected energy systems among the Maghreb countries, their other African neighbours in the South and their European neighbours in the North can push forward the development of the national renewable energy markets, too. The long-term objectives of interconnection, harmonization, integration - both intra-regional and interregional - of the energy markets must be considered as a process that can facilitate the import and export of renewable energy components or the efficient construction and use of transmission grids, or accelerate the convergence of products, commercial contexts and legislative frameworks with international norms.

With regard to the important rising energy demands that are expected for the Maghreb countries in the next decades, the diversification of different energy resources and increase of renewable energy share in the energy mix is crucial, especially for energy importing countries like Morocco or Tunisia. But even for energy exporting countries like Algeria or Libya, the development of the renewable energy sector can represent an important motor for the economy in terms of spillovers on related subindustries, job creation, scientific research and new business opportunities. Despite existing challenges, the Maghreb countries represent very dynamic and emerging markets. The renewable energy sector perspectives will also depend on the developments on a global scale, but more importantly on the successful and effective implementation of the different ambitious national renewable energy programmes, that can definitely open up new opportunities for the creation of highly qualified jobs in the production, exploitation and maintenance of renewable energies and foster sustainable green growth.