Egypt and Morocco's GVC Integration in a Changing Global Economy

in collaboration with The American University in Cairo

LSE PI: Dr Shamel Azmeh
Co-PI: Dr Abeer Elshennawy
Duration: August 2016 – July 2019

Jared Kelly,, 2007.

Integration in global value chains (GVCs) has been promoted as a key route to achieving diversification and sustainable economic and social development in non-oil countries in the MENA region. Over the last two decades, countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and Egypt have focused on integrating their economies in such globalised networks of production and trade. As a result, exports in products like textiles, agro-food and electronics, amongst others have increased substantially from a number of countries in the region.

However, the developmental impacts of this increase have been relatively limited. MENA countries largely failed to upgrade their economic and technological position in GVCs and remain specialised in low value-added activities in these chains leading to little overall developments in terms of type of employment and income levels. Most of their exports are also highly concentrated in a small number of export markets.

In this context, taking Egypt and Morocco as case studies, this project examined the integration of non-oil MENA countries in GVCs and explains the limited economic and social upgrading in GVC-integrated industries. The project sought to measure the impact of global economic shifts on the position of the two countries in GVCs and on GVC integration with the advanced economies. The research focused on three main sectors: automobile, business services offshoring and readymade garments. 

This project forms part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, funded by the Emirates Foundation.

Research Team


Shamel Azmeh | Principal Investigator

Shamel is Lecturer at the University of Bath and Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre.



Abeer Elshennawy | Co-Principal Investigator

Abeer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the American University in Cairo. 

Sunduss Hamdan

Sunduss Hamdan | Research Assistant

Sunduss is a BSc International Relations student at the LSE.