Ecomarinvest promotes virtuous circle between Mazara-Mahdia

Project starts in Mazara to create development in Mahdia

19 June, 20:28

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, JUNE 19 - A project called Ecomarinvest is aiming at local and socioeconomic development in the Tunisian region of Mahdia, through job creation for young people in the sectors of artisanal fishing and sustainable tourism. The project begins in the Sicilian town of Mazara del Vallo, a true ethnic urban laboratory for virtuous circles of integration between Italian communities and Tunisians. The project is sponsored by the Italian Interior Ministry's Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration and the City of Mazara del Vallo, which is promoting the transfer of professional skills and techniques aimed at creating job opportunities in the Tunisian coastal city of Mahdia, an important hub for migration to Europe due to its proximity to the island of Lampedusa. Thanks to a network of public entities, social cooperatives, and Italian and Tunisian non-profits, Ecomarinvest will try to create job opportunities for young Tunisians in order to offer viable alternatives to emigration. Italian statistics bureau ISTAT data from 2019 revealed that of the 95,071 Tunisians living in Italy, 20,839 live in Sicily. These official numbers don't include an unspecified number of irregular immigrants who have come to Italy in recent years, with an upward trend in the period following the Tunisian Revolution of 2011. The migratory phenomenon involves Tunisia's young male population, which is socially vulnerable due to the lack of work opportunities. Mazara del Vallo, which has a community of over 3,000 people from the Maghreb, mainly from Mahdia and Chebbah, is a gateway to the Mediterranean. Vincenzo Giacalone, Mazara del Vallo councillor for community policies, said the city is aiming at "developing and strengthening international relationships and friendly relations with other cities". "In particular with Tunisia, we are moving ahead with various cross-border projects that are already financed or in the financing stage. We see our position in the Mediterranean as strategic and it's almost spontaneous to aim for a vision of development that looks to involve all the countries that face each other in this area," Giacalone said. The region of Mahdia, with its four fishing ports, still has untapped potential despite the widespread presence of small and medium-sized businesses tied to the agrofood sector which, however, are limited in terms of technology, infrastructure, technical development and human resources. Even tourism, mainly beach tourism, needs diversification. The Tunisian diaspora in Mazara, which is perfectly integrated into the local economic fabric, distinguishes itself for its elevated specialisation in fishing. Rym Ferchichi, secretary-general of the Maghrebian and North African Farmers Union (UMNAGRI), said Ecomarinvest "has an important strategic value for the region of Mahdia". "The project, on the one hand, contributes to workforce entry for young people through technical and commercial training, taking advantage of ancestral skills and the specificity of the local economic supply chains," Ferchichi said. "On the other hand, it will strengthen the community link with the diaspora in Italy, taking as a point of reference the experience of Tunisians in Mazara, who represent a successful model of social and economic integration," he said. By promoting business creation, supporting socio-economic development, and offering training and work opportunities, Ecomarinvest is positioning itself as an opportunity for hundreds of young Tunisian men and women who are unable to find suitable work and therefore decide to emigrate.(ANSAmed).


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