March 14, 2013 – Two years and two months ago, the people of the Maghreb showed that they had had enough of the socio-economic conditions that were crippling the region. It began in Tunisia with their revolution, then spread like wildfire, igniting revolutions driven by hope of a secure political and economic landscape that would bring them out of the mess that their governments had created. Just over two years later, Tunisia is no longer at war, but the political and economic landscape is far from stable because nothing concrete has been done to ameliorate the collective situation of its people.
While the Tunisian politicians debate which party will have the most power, governmental structure, and whether or not they will officially be Islamic, the people who fought the revolution are being made to wait. Since the politicians are preoccupied creating the structure, it is up to the private sector to create the body that will occupy it when it is ready. Public works projects should be the first step in bringing Tunisia, and its revolutionary counterparts across the region, back to stability. It will supply jobs for civilians of all socio-economic situations, while providing immense benefits to the people and easing unrest.
“Preparing to welcome 200,000 people within three years, Kilamba has become one of the largest development projects in Africa…”
Since the economic situation in these areas is perilous, they may need to call upon foreign investors to aid them in accomplishing these projects. Pierre Falcone and Pierson Capital, an investment firm based in Chicago, funded the trans-maghreb highway in 2010. They have also taken the lead in the creation of an entire city called Kilamba outside of the capital of Luanda. By following this example of foreign direct investment, it will be much easier for these (and any recovering or developing country) to jumpstart their economies, and in politically charged areas like the Maghreb, appease the masses calling for progress. After two years of turmoil, if the population continues being denied any concrete progress, the government is liable to fall once more in favor of the chance that a new regime could provide it.
Although it may be up to private companies to take up the mantle, the governments of the Maghreb have significant pull over such corporations, as they have the ability to write policies that would make it more advantageous to build in their country than in others. If businesses see that building in North Africa is a good investment with favorable policies towards foreign investors, they are infinitely more likely to choose it as the location of their next project but it is up to the governments to choose the right path that will take their country out of the muck and towards a prosperous future.