February 18, 2019

Tunisia: creating new perspectives.

By H.E. Mr. Elyes Ghariani, Ambassador of Tunisia to the Kingdom of the  Netherlands.

Since 2011, Tunisia is going through a radically transformative moment of its History. The Jasmine revolution has resulted in huge changes and led to the irreversible move towards the implementation of a fully-fledged secular democratic system in the country.

Over the last years, Tunisia has faced a multitude of political challenges and disparities but hopefully, succeeded in overcoming these difficulties thanks to the positive commitment of all the constituency of the Tunisian Society in engaging in franc talks and dialogue and finding compromise and common ground agreement for the best interest of our nation.

Pursuant to this process of dialogue and compromise, we succeeded, in January 2014, in adopting a new constitution followed by both legislative and presidential elections.

Nevertheless, and beyond the achievements reached in the fields of democracy, Human Rights and freedom of expression, Tunisia is nowadays facing greater challenges in terms of economic growth and social development: a challenge that all constituents of the Tunisian society are willing to meet to make of Tunisia a real success story.

Subsequently and in order to allow our economy to recover its vigor and accelerate the pace of reforms, the successive Governments achieved commendable progress on this path with the adoption of new bills for restructuring the banking system, for encouraging transparent and competitive functioning of market practices, for the impulse of investments and for setting a transparent, reliable and modern tax and customs structure. 

Moreover, more bills related to the economic activity are currently under consideration by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.

Further to the advantages afforded by the investment code and the subsequent decisions in favor of national and international investors, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed announced on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018, the launch of a government program to better the investment climate in Tunisia. The program is based on two main pillars: The revision of the system of authorizations required (from the beginning of February 2018, a definitive list of authorizations required for the creation of a project will be ready) and of administrative procedures capable of reducing bureaucracy.

These measures will also affect logistics and more specifically all the commercial ports. Further, it will allow better handling and customs clearance times by simplifying several procedures which recall and bolsters the objective of the National Export Council which consists in doubling the Tunisian exports by 2020.

It is worth reminding in this respect the solid baselines and comparative advantages that are worth taking into consideration when intending to invest and work with Tunisia. In fact, Tunisia enjoys a unique geostrategic position making it a natural gateway to Europe, the MENA region, and sub-Saharan African countries. Tunisia is also dotted with numerous factors of success which characterize its hopeful future and make room for optimism, especially its relatively sound economic foundation, its ethnic and cultural harmony and unity in addition to the level of the national elite and the abundance of skilled human resources.

Undeniably, being among the most competitive economies in Africa and the Arab world, the Tunisian economy offers businesses an environment of high quality. The education level of the active population, the sound macroeconomic management and the quality of public institutions are particularly favorable to business competitiveness.

To state a few, Tunisia is ranked 1st in North Africa in terms of:

  • Talent Competitiveness “Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017, INSEAD”
  • Entrepreneurship Ecosystem | “Global Entrepreneurship Index 2017, GEDI”
  • The “Bloomberg Innovation Index 2018 ‘’ names also Tunisia as the most innovative country in Africa.
  • Besides, Tunisia is worldly competitive in some specific sectors. In fact, Tunisia ranks:
  • 1st worldwide exporter of dates
  • 2nd African producer of car components
  • 2nd exporter of organic produce in Africa
  • 3rd worldwide producer of olive oil for the 2015-2016 harvest season

Since 2011, we have opened on new horizons and we are proceeding with strong resolve and steadfastness on this irreversible path relying in the first place on our own capacities and fully committed to achieve the process that we subscribed to, with the support of the international community.

This support was indeed witnessed during the International Conference on Investment, Tunisia 2020, organized in Tunis in November 2016, when 40 official delegations and 1500 economic partners from 70 countries attended to show support to Tunisia.

As a follow-up to the Tunisia 2020, the “Tunisia Investment Forum 2017” gathered, in November 09th 2017, about 1,500 international investors, entrepreneurs and project promoters in order to stress out the fact that Tunisia is and will remain an attractive economic destination with high competitiveness capabilities.

Still, The Netherlands and our allies and neighbors of the European Union are called upon to play a major role in gathering support, a role they have always fulfilled with a strong will, and which we hope will pick up momentum and play out in the indicated direction.

We are confident that, in light of the political support shown repeatedly by Dutch high officials to my country, the business community in this vibrant and dynamic economy would have their say in further strengthening the partnership and cooperation ties existing between the two countries on the basis of a win-win principle.

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