U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity
What is NAPEO?
As a follow-up to President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech and his April 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, the Department of State is launching the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), a new public-private partnership to better link entrepreneurs and business leaders in the United States and North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia). NAPEO will operate in close cooperation with Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) as the key regional entity to support PNB engagement in North Africa.
What are NAPEO’s Goals?
NAPEO aims to foster increased U.S. economic engagement in the Maghreb and overall economic opportunity in the region. It seeks to do this by encouraging start-ups through training and improved access to capital and by inspiring youth and budding entrepreneurs of all ages to play a role in job creation in the region. NAPEO also aims to encourage partners from business, universities, and public entities in the Maghreb and in the United States to work more closely together to promote economic opportunity in the region, as well as people-to-people links between the two regions. Increased cross-border linkages in the Maghreb will empower regional entrepreneurs to make better use of available economic tools to address critical socio-economic issues, such as high youth unemployment.
Who Manages NAPEO?
NAPEO is managed by the Aspen Institute, which will serve as an independent Secretariat to ensure long-term commitment to the Partnership in conjunction with a Board of Advisors. The Board of Advisors will be comprised of U.S., North African, and diaspora business leaders who will provide the strategic and financial engine of the Partnership. An annual U.S.-North Africa Economic Ministers meeting on the margins of the semi-annual World Bank/IMF meetings will provide a forum for government-to-government dialogue as part of the Partnership.
NAPEO’s Five Core Cross-Border Business Initiatives
- North Africa Young Business Leaders and Associations Network: This initiative aims to increase cross-border links among young and emerging entrepreneurs in the Maghreb and investors in the United States through a comprehensive social networking platform.
- North Africa Leadership and Training Academy: This initiative will offer an integrated menu of regional leadership, entrepreneurship training, and education-to-employment programs and activities.
- North Africa Innovation and Technology Incubator: This initiative is designed to promote science and math training, as well as start-ups and new cross-border business ventures from young and aspiring Maghreb entrepreneurs in innovative and new technology sectors.
- North Africa Creative Industries Incubator: This initiative is designed to support cultural entrepreneurs who have the potential to contribute to job creation and local development but who require additional business training. This initiative will also facilitate greater professional linkages between artists and cultural professionals in the U.S. and North Africa.
- North Africa Center for Excellence on Entrepreneurship: This initiative will allow teams of regional experts and academics from Maghreb countries and the Maghreb diaspora to conduct regional research and data collection. Partners will also create a regional business school network to link with business schools in the United States.