Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

“The Multi-Institutional Task Force on Value Chain and Cluster Development (TFSCVC)” was launched on Wednesday, said head of the implementing agency of this project and acting CEO of the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) Samir Azzi.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the agreements on the launch of the TFSCVC, held in Tunis, he added that the platform’s mission is to technically support the Tunisian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to strengthen their competitiveness in value chains, not only for products with high potential for job creation but also for other sectors of the economy with high employment or growth potential.

Funded by the World Bank (WB), with a budget of 70 million dollars, this Task Force will provide support for the development of 12 to 16 value chains and clusters.

Samir Azzi explained that this “Task Force” takes the form of an inter-agency technical committee and brings together a team of six national development agencies namely: the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII), the Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency (APIA), the Tunisia Investment Authority (TIA), the North West Development Authority (ODNO) and the Central West Development Office (ODCO) and the structures of five ministries, namely investment, development and international cooperation, trade, agriculture, water resources and fisheries, vocational training and employment and industry and energy.

He also pointed out that this initiative was born in 2016 to ensure support for private sector development and regional development.

Minister of Industry and Energy Slim Feriani said the creation of the “task force” is a very important milestone in the path taken by the different ministries to develop value chains.

“Our goal is to perpetuate this approach, so as to make it the backbone of our institutional action for the development of the industry…,”the minister added.

World Bank (WB) Country Manager for Tunisia Tony Verheijen said this platform is designed as a center of excellence within the Tunisian administration allowing to harmonize the supply of high quality services and advice for the development of value chains in Tunisia.

He added that this centre of excellence will work in the coming years to mobilise public and private actors as well as national and international experts and researchers to identify the investments and reforms needed to eliminate the constraints to competitiveness and freeing up the strength of Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and supporting them in their efforts to reach growing markets.

“The choice of value chains and clusters targeted is also part of Tunisia’s strategic objective of meeting the challenge of economic transformation and increasing the value-added in an inclusive and sustainable way,” he added.

Chief of Staff of the Minister of Investment, Development and International Co-operation Lamia Ben Mime said in order to engage the task force, a pioneering initiative in the Arab and African countries, a pioneering

For his part, the Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Investment Development and International Cooperation, Lamia Ben Mime emphasised that in order to engage the task force, a pioneering initiative in the Arab and African countries, the WB has financed the completion of four projects amounting to $ 350 million (equivalent to 1 billion dinars).

Four agreements were signed between the CEPEX and the project management units financed by the four loans of the WB to determine the role, contributions and obligations of the signatory parties and to establish the operational links between resulting from them. They also provide for defining their relations in order to strengthen the competitiveness of a certain number of value chains.

The first agreement was signed between CEPEX and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, the legally responsible part of the Integrated Landscape Management Project (IFMP).

The second agreement was inked between CEPEX and the Ministry of Agriculture, for the implementation of the Irrigation Intensification Project in Tunisia (PIAIT).

The 3rd agreement was signed between the CEPEX and the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, legal responsible for the Economic Inclusion Project (PIE).

A fourth framework agreement has been signed between CEPEX and the Ministry of Industry, SMEs and Energy.