Innovation ecosystems and start-ups in the Mediterranean as a means of recovering from the COVID-19 crisis
The ability to innovate and to make use of new technologies and techniques is indispensable for economic diversification and sustainable development. It is not easy to define innovation, as it is a much broader concept than just capacity to devise new high-tech products and solutions. Indeed, “innovation is as much about culture, leadership, finance, governance and people as it is about technology and data” (OECD, 2019). In particular, in the public sector, innovation is geared towards addressing the needs of citizens by creating value added and making an impact (Hartley, 2005). In the present report, following the Oslo Manual, innovation is defined as “a new or improved product or process (or combination thereof) that differs significantly from the unit’s previous products or processes and that has been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the
unit (process)” (OECD, 2018).
Against this background, the aim of this report is to identify the main obstacles and challenges to the creation and development of innovation strategies, ecosystems and start-ups, and solutions – in particular those to which local and regional authorities (LRAs) can contribute – in the following countries that are ARLEM (the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly) members: Albania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco (case study), Tunisia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine1, and Libya, which has observer status within ARLEM. The final section of the report contains proposed solutions and policy recommendations on how innovation ecosystems and start-ups can be enhanced.
The report was prepared for the European Union and the Committee of the Regions.