Policy Brief

Elevating Digital Talent Partnerships between the Southern Neighbourhood and EU13 Countries

February 2022


As EU13 countries aim to recruit highly-skilled, foreign information and communication technology (ICT) experts to meet the needs of their aging and highly mobile societies, a pool of tech-savvy youths across the Mediterranean is actively seeking out international opportunities to apply their digital skills, as North African countries grapple with high youth unemployment. The potential of young ICT talents to help spur growth and shared prosperity in the Euro-Mediterranean market is therefore sizable. In order to unleash this potential, a mutually-cooperative migration policy that champions new legal labour mobility and innovative upskilling and reskilling schemes is more urgent than ever. The good news is that the groundwork has already been laid. The 2015 Valletta Summit on Migration paved the way for numerous migration governance initiatives between the European Union (EU) and partner countries around the globe. To strengthen cooperation against irregular migration across, the European Commission launched the Mobility Partnership Facility (MPF), a programme that co-funds innovative pilot initiatives that offer legal alternatives for migration. To date, ten projects are in operation. Under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the European Commission launched the Talent Partnership, which are expected to initially pair up European and North African countries, before gradually branching out to include the Sahel and Sub-Saharan African regions Similar priorities have also been intriduced by the New Agenda for the Mediterranean.

This policy brief provides a review of the digital ecosystems in the EU13 countries and identifies opportunities and challenges existing for talent matchmaking with countries of the EU’s southern neighbourhood. It provides recommendations to the European Commission on ways to incentivise EU13 governments to explore possibilities for digital talent partnerships with North African counterparts.

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