Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Works of the African Economic Forum will kick off on Tuesday in Tunis and will run till Wednesday with the participation of 38 African states, 140 African senior officials from the public and private sectors.

Ministers, special advisors to the Head of the State and heads of financial institutions (the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa-BADEA, the African development bank-AfDB, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation-ITFC, the European Investment Bank-EIB, and the French Development Agency-AFD), in addition to heads of major private groupings will also take part in this forum.

800 participants are expected in this forum during which B2B meetings as sector-based workshops will be held under the following themes: “Build in Africa: A market in expansion,” “ICTs for sustainable development in Africa,” “Health, towards new models,” “academic education and employability,” and “Agro-business”.

“This Africa-Africa meeting aims to strengthen the bases of the Tunisian-African partnership, jointly create wealth and employment and investment opportunities,” Chief Commissioner of the Forum Radhi Meddeb said.

Speaking during a press conference held Monday in Tunis, Meddeb estimated that Tunisia will regain its position in the African market which prospects are promising in spite of the difficulty to access this market and its high cost.

“Even though we are African, Mediterranean Maghreb and Euro-Mediterranean, we failed to contribute enough to setting up African regional groupings such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who are considered as growth generators in Africa,” Meddeb regretted.

“One of this forum’s goals is to announce that Tunisia had adhered in COMESA and is currently discussing with ECOWAS and that it had recently inked in Kigali agreements for the creation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA),” he added.

“It will also reveal to Tunisian operators that Africa is neither difficult nor far and that growth opportunities in this continent are enormous. Today, will we bring Africa to the Tunisians while hoping that it will make them want to visit Africa from Tunisia; and not to export but also to create solid and sustainable relations,” he pointed out.

Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Hichem Ben Ahmed stressed, for his part, that co-operation between Tunisia and African countries are part of a win-win approach aiming to develop trade between them. He further highlighted the State’s role in implementing the appropriate laws to facilitate the private sector’s integration process.

According to him, the forum will also provide an opportunity to step up partnership between the public and private sectors with the aim to identify adequate solutions.

The education component will also be discussed during this forum through the intervention of representatives of the Honoris United Universities (set up in Tunisia, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire and in South Africa) that seeks to reach 100,000 students in the African continent.

Representatives of the Algerian Cevital groupings (agro-food industries) and Condor (household appliance and electronic field) and Tunisian groupings active in Africa: Soroubat (building) and Comete engineering will partake in this forum.

This event will be co-held by the Trade Ministry, the (BADEA), the German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ) and the ITFC.