Policy Session: Social Inclusion Post COVID and War in Ukraine:
Towards a Regional Safety Net?

16th of December 2022, 5:00pm – 6:15pm (CET)

Amidst the war in Ukraine and after the Covid-19 global pandemic, calls building a more resilient, sustainable, inclusive and equal world are increasing. The EMEA-EMANES research published during the last two years shows that countries that have built a resilient system via macro, fiscal, financial and social buffers, could better respond to the pandemic and rebound.

The current Russian Ukrainian conflict is aggravating socio-economic vulnerabilities in the Mediterranean and in Africa with increasing pressure on energy and food prices.

Several pillars, including social inclusion, social protection and safety nets offer economic policy answers for better resilience. In addition, Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the Mediterranean and in Africa, are crucial for job creation and social. In these countries there is however evidence that safety net systems are either not developed or inexistent.

EMANES policy session is dedicated to the debate on the policies that will have to support social inclusion, social protection and safety nets in the Mediterranean region and Africa.


Cinzia Alcidi

Director of Research at CEPS, Brussels

Dr. Cinzia Alcidi is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Economic Policy Unit at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels and LUISS- School of European Political Economy- research fellow.

Prior to joining CEPS, she worked at International Labour Office in Geneva and she taught International Economics at University of Perugia (Italy). Her research activity includes international economics, macroeconomics, central banking and EU governance.Since 2015 she is the coordinator of CEPS Academy Activities. She has experience in coordinating research projects and networks. She has published extensively on the economics and governance of the Euro area crisis and participates regularly in international conferences.

She holds a Ph.D. degree in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (Switzerland).



Raja Almarzoqi

Raja Almarzoqi

Chief Economic Advisor at Ministry of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia

Raja Almarzoqi is former IMF advisor. Faculty member in economics Division at Institute of Diplomatic Studies, and also, was adjunct professor at Thunderbird Global Business School and King Saud University. He has a teaching/lecturing experience of 16 years at (Institute of Diplomatic Studies; King Saud University; MIT; IMF; Thunderbird Global Business School) in several subjects in economics. He was a president of Gulf Monetary Council. In addition, Raja worked as a consultant to many government and private organizations (World Bank, ARAMCO, Ministry of Economics & Planning, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Supreme Commission for Tourism, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and KACST…etc). Also, he was a board member in several organizations and Funds. Mr.Almarzoqi is specialized in policy modeling for impact assessment and scenario analysis, Money and Banking, international finance, and Finance. He presented research papers at major international conferences and published papers in major Middle East journals.

Mr. Almarzoqi holds a BA from King Saud University in economics, M.A. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in economics, and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater in economics and finance.

Aboubaker Benslimane

Entrepreneur in the health management business & agribusiness sector

Aboubaker is a French-Moroccan entrepreneur who is passionate about innovation and places it at the center of all his projects.

He is currently owning and managing companies in the health management services and agribusiness sector, but is also a member of the executive board of various companies in different sectors, ranging from impact entrepreneurship to development project consulting.

Following the completion of a masters’ degree in International Business with a specialization in International Management of New Technologies at the University of Paris Dauphine, Aboubaker moved into consulting where he advised corporates, public institutions, and start-ups on their development and innovation strategies in Europe and Africa. An entrepreneur at heart, Aboubaker has applied his skills to developing and advising several digitally focused start-ups in different sectors, leveraging synergies between complementary start-ups and peer-to-peer learning. Aboubaker gained extensive expertise in the African entrepreneurial sector as the Global Synergies Lead at JokkoLabs, a pan-African initiative that aims to create connectivity between local and global ecosystems to promote local ideas to a global stage.

Aboubaker grew up in Morocco in a family where agriculture and science has been anchored for centuries, live between Morocco and France and speaks English, French, and Arabic.

He is passionate about cross-cultural collaboration which he firmly believes will provide to the pathway to tomorrow’s solutions.

Najat El Makkaoui

Professor at University Paris Dauphine-PSL, LEDa DIAL

Najat El Mekkaoui is a senior economist and professor in economics at the University Paris Dauphine. Her research focuses on the economics of aging, demographic changes in developing countries and social security programs. She is distinguished visiting research fellow at Oxford.

University (Smith school of Enterprise and the Environment) and research fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and NETSPAR. She published and took part in the publication of several works, chapters or papers in her research fields.  In addition to teaching and research, she has been involved with the World Bank, the ESCWA, the Moroccan (CNDH, CDG) and the French institutions (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment Center) in studies about households savings, pension reforms and the expansion of social protection programs. She is engaged with the National Council of Human Rights (Morocco) to study the elderly situation in Morocco, to work closely with the institutions dedicated to old-age people (public, private and Ministry) to promote and to protect the rights of older persons.

Yeganeh Forouheshfar

Researcher at EMEA

Yeganeh Forouheshfar, is an economist and a researcher at EMEA, she holds a PhD in economics from Université Paris-Dauphine. Her research interests are economic modeling, entrepreneurship, digitalization, sustainable transition and demographic change. She is also an affiliate researcher at DIAL and a Member of EMANES network.

Yeganeh is involved in the implementation of EMEA’s EU-funded projects: CREACT4MED and INVESTMED and in charge of mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) as well as blue and green economy in the South Mediterranean countries. In parallel, Yeganeh is currently working on several research projects and development of data observatories.

Tarik Yousef

Director of the Middle East Council on Global Affairs and non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution

Tarik M. Yousef is Director of the Middle East Council on Global Affairs and nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

His professional career has spanned the academic world as a faculty member in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; a Senior Fellow in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School; and as the Founding Dean of the Dubai School of Government. His involvement with public policy includes working as an economist in the Middle East Department at the International Monetary Fund, and a Visiting Senior Economist at the Middle East and North Africa region of the World Bank.

He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University. His research has focused on the economic development and the political economy of policy reform in the Middle East. He has contributed more than 75 articles, chapters, and reports, and co-edited several volumes including most recently Public Sector Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons of Experience for a Region in Transition (Brookings Institution Press, 2020) and The Gulf Cooperation Council at Forty: Risk and Opportunity in a Changing World (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).