Tunisia defends its role as a meeting platform between Africa and Europe

The Tunisian delegation at IMEX-Madrid 2022 explained some of the economic reforms that facilitate the entry of Spanish companies into the country and called for increased trade cooperation between the two countries

GUILLERMO LÓPEZ/PHOTO  -   Ibrahim Medini, FIPA-Tunisia Director for Spain and Portugal

Despite the political and social instability that the State of Tunisia has had to face in recent months, the North African country has taken advantage of the space that the Internationalisation Week IMEX-Madrid 2022 has provided to defend the commercial advantages of investing and entrepreneurship in its territory

This was the main purpose of the Tunisian representatives during the round table "Investing in Tunisia, taking advantage of new opportunities", a round table in which the Tunisian ambassador to Spain, Fatma Omrani; the economic counsellor of the Tunisian embassy, Akrem Elaatar; and the FIPA-Tunisia director for Spain and Portugal, Ibrahim Medini, took part. 

GUILLERMO LÓPEZ/PHOTO - Speech by Ibrahim Medini, FIPA-Tunisia director for Spain and Portugal, at the round table "Investing in Tunisia, seizing new opportunities", which was also attended by Fatma Omrani, Tunisian ambassador to Spain, and Akrem Elaatar, economic counsellor at the Tunisian embassy

The Tunisian delegation, during its fifth consecutive year attending the IMEX-Madrid Foreign Trade Fair, wanted to highlight its strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea as an enclave halfway between the European continent and the great African continent. He also underlined its Arab identity. "Tunisia is a meeting point between Africa and Europe, with close ties to Arab culture," said Ambassador Fatma Omrani.

The ambassador based her presentation on four main points: the country's political future, for which a new political agenda is being worked on to guarantee participatory democracy and the rule of law; the reforms of the new economic programme, in pursuit of an economic model of integral development; relations between Spain and Tunisia; and the importance of Tunisian territory as a meeting point between continents and cultures. 

GUILLERMO LÓPEZ/PHOTO - Ibrahim Medini, director FIPA-Túnez para España y Portugal, durante su ponencia en la mesa “Invertir en Túnez, aprovechar nuevas oportunidades”

In its relations with the European Union alone, Tunisia has already established itself as a pioneering trade partner on the African continent, as in 2008 it became the first country in the region to sign a Free Trade Agreement. But as far as Spain is concerned, and despite representing the "fourth largest international client for Tunisian exports and the same position in terms of foreign investors", Akrem Elaatar insisted that "the potential for economic relations is still much greater". Along these lines, the Tunisian Embassy's Economic Counsellor praised Spanish-Tunisian cooperation in trade in agriculture and the agri-food industry (with examples such as olive oil and dates). 

However, the most technical advisory presentation at the table came from the Director of FIPA-Tunisia, Ibrahim Medini, who explained the economic liberalisation processes that the Tunisian market is currently undergoing. Thus, after Akrem Elaatar praised the strong credit line of the Fund for the Internationalisation of Enterprises (FIEM), which already amounts to two million euros and which was promoted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, for SMEs in Tunisia, Ibrahim Medini addressed issues such as the Investment Law of 2017. A regulation that introduced total freedom of foreign participation in investments in the country, in addition to a reduction of the necessary authorisations and permits, and the streamlining of entrepreneurship. 

GUILLERMO LÓPEZ/PHOTO - Ibrahim Medini, FIPA-Tunisia Director for Spain and Portugal, during his speech at the round table "Investing in Tunisia, seizing new opportunities"

"Tunisia aims to facilitate the creation of companies", Medini stressed, referring to the new Transversal Law for the improvement of investments and business; and highlighting, in this same area, the "Start Up Act" reform to simplify administrative procedures for investment and business entrepreneurship initiatives. In this regard, the FIPA-Tunisia director pointed out some of the sectors that are experiencing gradual growth, such as infrastructure, aeronautics, agri-food, etc., for which he called for a greater trade partnership. "We have to work to improve this cooperation," he stressed. 

The round table "Investing in Tunisia, seizing new opportunities" came to an end with the showing of a promotional video of the socio-cultural and business wealth of Tunisia, and a final recorded intervention by the President of the TABC (Tunisia African Business Council), Anis Jaziri, who highlighted the historic Spanish-Tunisian trade relations.