Massimo Sarti, the new director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Valletta, has settled in Malta. The new director – officially appointed on July 23rd was born in Florence where he graduated from the University in 1987 with a thesis in contemporary Italian literature. From 1989 to 1998, he was a professor of literature and history in state high schools in Tuscany and Lombardy. From 1998 to 2001 he worked as Lector of Italian sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto and Jagelloniska of Krakow.
Since 2001 he has joined the Cultural Promotion Area of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. During periods of service at the Farnesina, from 2001 to 2004 and in 2015, he worked in particular on the promotion of Italian cinema, scholarships and the internationalization of the university system.
Before taking up the management of the Italian Institute of Culture in Valletta, Sarti served in Israel from 2016 to 2018 as Director of the IIC in Tel Aviv. Previously, he was Assistant and Interim Director of the IICs of Tokyo (from 2005 to 2008) and of Los Angeles (from 2008 to 2014). He is married to Gloria Novi and has two children, Piero (17 year old) and Margherita Yuki (12).
One of the main objectives that the new director aims at this initial phase of his establishment is “to establish contacts with institutions, bodies and personalities of the Maltese cultural and scientific world to foster an ever greater knowledge of Italian culture and science in the Republic of Malta”.
For this reason, the Italian Cultural Institute “will continue to plan and organize cultural initiatives in collaboration with the Maltese institutions, to be held both in the prestigious location of Piazza San Giorgio in Valletta, and in local academic, museum and performance spaces”.
“Particular attention – ensures Sarti – will be aimed at promoting the image of contemporary Italy, along with the more consolidated tradition, with programmatic choices in line with the priorities identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consistent with the cultural strategy of Embassy of Italy. An important part will be dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language in close contact with the institutions and the local school and university system “. The Institute, concludes Sarti, “will obviously continue to be a reference point in providing information on Italian cultural life and in contributing to the orientation of Maltese interested in studying in Italy. It will also provide collaboration to Italian scholars and students in their research and study activities in Malta”.


Source: medNews


 World Bank is not too alarmed about the Lebanese economy despite its delicate situation and the World Bank official is in Lebanon to assess the economic situation with Lebanese officials.

The World Bank has provided Lebanon with grants to develop the country’s infrastructure, through the  CEDRE conference, held in Paris in April, and that aimed to support Lebanon’s economy and encourage investment. The international community and organizations such as the World Bank have been pressing the Lebanese government to implement badly needed reforms as a prior condition to benefit from billions of dollars of grants and loans.

It resulted in an $11 billion aid package on behalf of Lebanon while Lebanon committed to a series of reforms. The government had already enacted critical political reforms, such as updating the electoral law, which will be accompanied by economic reforms, including initiatives aimed at activating the productive sector. Another step that Lebanon has taken is the passage of two state budgets in less than a year, after 12 years went by without a state budget.

Source: medNews


The new business incubator in Aqaba called iPark, has completed its first bootcamp and business plan, for the formation of 19 start-ups. The subjects dealt with were market penetration, innovation for financial planning and attracting investments. 

The training course was funded by the European Union as part of the “Jordanian Action for the Development of Enterprises” (JADE) project. The activity was born with the efforts of JADE in collaboration with iPark and other important Jordanian incubators to provide further support to companies in Jordan to improve their market links, capacity building and increase their growth and export capabilities.


Source: medNews


The World Bank has recently issued a list of the main African economies, which sees Morocco receding a position compared to the previous year. In fact, the leadership at the continental level is in Nigeria (with a GDP of 375.7 billion dollars in 2017), followed by: South Africa ($ 349.4 billion), Egypt ($ 235.3 billion), Algeria ($ 170.3 billion), Angola ($ 124.2 billion) and Sudan ($ 117.4 billion). Morocco is ranked seventh among the major economies in Africa, with GDP estimated at $ 109.1 billion in 2017. The High Commissioner for the Plan – Moroccan institution responsible for statistical elaborations and economic planning – has announced that the 2018 will see a slowdown in the economic growth of the North African Kingdom. Ahmed Lahlimi Alami, head of HCP, has in fact declared that GDP should increase this year by + 3.1%, registering a decrease of one percentage point compared to 2017 (+ 4.1%). During a press conference, the High Commissioner also stated that inflation estimates for 2018 (+ 1.7%) are appreciably higher than the consumer price dynamics recorded last year (+ 0, 8%). The trade deficit (from 17.9% in 2017 to 18.5% of GDP in 2018) and the government deficit (from 3.4% in 2017 to 3.9% in 2018) are also expected to deteriorate slightly. The total debt ratio will increase slightly (from 82% in 2017 to 82.6% in 2018), while the public debt (of the Treasury) will be about 65.7% of GDP in 2018. According to Ahmed Lahlimi Alami, the slowdown in Moroccan economic growth will lead to a slight worsening in the unemployment rate, which would rise from 10.2% in 2017 to 10.4% this year.


Source: medNews


The Algerian Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security, Mourad Zemali, has evoked the imbalances affecting the Algerian National Pension Fund (CNR), stating that without the intervention of the Government, which has transferred 500 billion dinar to the CNR, pensioners were not able to collect their pension in the last two months. Zemali has specified that the expenses of the CNR are estimated at 1200 billion dinars while the contributions do not exceed 600 billion dinars, with a deficit of 50%. The Minister complains that the annual evolution of the rate of social security contributions is only 2%. The deficit is due to the failure to submit the declaration or submission or a reduced declaration of employees by employers. The Director General of Social Security at the Algerian Ministry of Labor, Djaouad Bourkaib, admitted that if all the Social Security departments are currently “in equilibrium”, those of the pension go through financial difficulties. Explaining this situation with a “world trend” characterized by a difficult economic situation, demographic change and a higher probability of life, Bourkaib said that in the face of the deficit in this sector, the Government established “the grant of exceptional balance” and the contribution of solidarity levied for 1% on imports of goods.


Source: medNews


The ministerial committee for privatization approved the privatization of Israel Post. Under the scheme presented by the Authority for Governmental Companies, 20% of the shares will initially be auctioned to an Israeli or foreign strategic investor. This was announced by the Globes business newspaper. In the second phase, after two years, an additional 20% of the shares will be offered to the public, and Israel Post will become a public company listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. The offer will help the company to become transparent, efficient and profitable in the long run. However, the participation of the state in the company will not fall below 60%. Private investors who buy shares in the initial privatization phase will be guaranteed preferential rights. An agreement will be signed between the state and the buyer that grants the latter a say over the selection of the CEO. The buyer agrees to maintain his participation in the company for seven years. The proposal includes the possibility of selling to the public 40% of the company in the event that the sale to a private investor does not materialize.

The president of Israel Post, Hezi Zaieg, said: “We welcome the great confidence that has been given to us by the ministerial committee, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and Labor, the Ministry of Communications and the Administration of government companies From the signing of the collective agreement with employees in 2015, which defined the road to privatization, we have worked tirelessly to improve our service and improve the financial performance of the company. In the last three years we proved that Israel Post has moved from an organization that delivers letters to a logistics giant with a substantial presence in the online trading market, providing services to international trading platforms”.

Source: medNews


National Geographic has included Lebanon on its list of the best summer trips in 2018, particularly due to its food and beverages.

“Often overlooked as a culinary destination, Lebanon crafts the ideal summer mezze table in an equally ideal temperate climate”, said National Geographic.

In 2016, Travel and Leisure ranked Beirut as the best international city for food.

“Selecting the country as one of the best summer trips will boost tourism to a large extent, and will attract more Europeans,” said Wadih Kenaan, Secretary General of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners. The delicious and varied local cuisine is one of the top attributes that attract tourists, said Kenaan.

The number of European tourists is increasing, with 565,000 visiting Lebanon last year. 

Besides the delicious food, the country boasts several touristic destinations, such as the open air markets of Byblos, one of the world’s oldest cities, and the Baatara Gorge Waterfall in Tannourine, National Geographic said. The country is full of history, with several cultural and religious sites. The magazine declared that Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest countries last year.

The Ministry of Tourism and the private sector’s efforts to promote the country abroad are paying off, Kenaan said. Videos promoting the country, shared on social media, also boost tourism. 

“Sometimes tourists ask hotel staff how to visit locations that they saw on social media”, he said.



Source: medNews


The 234 migrants on board the MV Lifeline will be distributed among eight European Union member states. This was confirmed by the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat while addressing a press conference in Valletta. The countries are Malta, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. The agreement was reached last Sunday during an informal summit in Brussels.

The Maltese Prime Minister said that the number of migrants to be taken by the eight European countries will be determined once all investigations were done, including the right to apply for asylum. Those who would not qualify for protection, will be send to their country of origin with the assistance of EU institutions.

The MV Lifeline is expected to arrive in Malta late this evening. The Prime Minister of Malta confirmed that the Maltese authorities will also investigate the crew on board and the vessel will be impounded after the ship’s captain ignored orders from the Maltese and Italian authorities to hand over the migrants to the Libyan coast guards. The Maltese Prime Minister said that the ship should not have been involved in sea rescues because the MV Lifeline is registered as a pleasure boat.

Joseph Muscat said that despite Malta having no legal obligation or responsibility in this matter and despite the fact that events took place in the Libyan Search and Rescue Area between Libya and Lampedusa – where it was neither the competent nor the coordinating authority – the Maltese government took the lead to seek a two-facet solution before the situation escalated to a humanitarian crisis.


Source: medNews


From Beirut to Tangier, from Venice to Tripoli, the Mediterranean has returned to the center of history. A social laboratory that includes 26 countries with a population that in 2050 will be 650 million people, triple the 214 million in 1950. Stopping the boats of desperate people is a political solution. Intervening to improve the social entrepreneurship of this area is an opportunity, in which Italy already excels. Since 2012, the Crt Foundation of Turin and the United Nations Agency for Industrial Development (Unido) have in fact developed the Entrepreneurs for Social Change (E4SC) program, which through an international selection forms and supports 25 under 35 social entrepreneurs in their countries of origin.

The call for the 2018 edition will close on July 1st, and is open to all 26 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area. At the center of the program the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include food security, water management, waste treatment, access to clean energy systems, quality education, fight against climate change, promotion of a dignified employment for all. In six years the Entrepreneurs for Social Change program has selected over 2,000 applications and trained 85 social entrepreneurs.

Among the winners of 2017 is the Alep Studio of the Syrian architect Yanal Wattar, who aims to grow startups and innovative companies in his country. The Egyptian Alyaa Nour Abdelgawad, on the other hand, founded Jereed, which converts waste wood palms with low environmental impact. The Tunisian Ayadi Radhouan with his Biofire focused on alternative energy sources. The Italian Danilo Mirabile founded Beentouch, which aims to improve the communication possibilities between inhabitants of the areas with low quality internet connections and low performance devices.

As in previous years, the winners of the 2018 call will participate in ten days of intensive training in Turin next October, through a unique learning experience, rooted in the values of peer exchange and the construction of a community. Subsequently, and for a year, the 25 participants will be provided with the most effective tools to open or expand their business through experts and tutors at various levels. Focus on training, oriented not only to technology, but also to personal growth, through social business, fundraising, marketing, leadership and intercultural dialogue.

In addition to developing their businesses, real ambassadors and promoters of positive change are formed, combating the set of factors that are also at the root of the migratory waves and social tensions in the Euro-Mediterranean area. A mission that belongs to the rich countries of the Mediterranean to develop. “Millennials want to be protagonists of change and want to create sustainable and decent jobs for themselves and for other young people. With Entrepreneurs for Social Change, Unido provides them with the right platform to succeed”, explains Unido’s director of Agri-Business’s department, Dejene Tezera. “It is our duty to train a new generation of entrepreneurs able to interface with colleagues all over the world, looking at the Sustainable Development Goals as a compass”, adds the president of EFC-European Foundation Center and general secretary of the Crt Foundation, Massimo Lapucci.



Source: medNews


Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela was hosted at the Italian Foreign Ministry by his counterpart Minister Enzo Moaveri Milanesi. The two ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to intensify the excellent and historical bilateral ties on various levels between the two countries. They underscored the opportunities for the further strengthening of such relations, in particular with regard to close coordination in the field of migration, both on a bilateral and well as a European level, in the context of the revision of the Dublin Regulation.Malta and Italy also reaffirmed their common will to deepen collaboration on matters of mutual and longstanding interest.


Source: medNews

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