President Beji Caid Essebsi continues his US visit aimed at fostering improved international relations and attracting further investment into Tunisia.
President Béji Caid Essebsi met with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry on Monday, ahead of today’s US Africa Business Forum and the 71st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations being held in New York this week. President Essebsi has had other important meetings including a meeting with members of the Qatari royal family.
High on the agenda were issues concerning security and counter-terrorism. According to TAP, Mr. Essebsi said that: “the Libyan crisis is the top priority for Tunisia.” Mr Kerry focused on the issues of terrorism and said that the end of 2016 will see the introduction of electronic controls for Tunisia’s borders.
Speaking to Tunisia Live, Political Analyst, Youssef Charif said that: “Everyone is interested in supporting Tunisia in protecting itself from the threat of Islamic State and other terror organisations.” He also commented that Tunisia was strategic, as it is also Europe’s “front door” when it comes to the issue of migrants. In this light Cherif predicts that President Essebsi will “firstly ask for more military and security aid in terms of weapons and machinery and technical aid,” adding that the President may also call for the ratification of the free trade agreement with the US to help boost Tunisia’s economy.
The African Business Forum held in New York’s Grand Plaza Hotel yesterday is intended to foster closer economic and business ties between the US and African nations. During the conference President Essebsi spoke about the country’s economic and democratic changes and why Tunisia represents an opportunity for foreign investment and growth for global businesses.
The President also met with leading members of the Qatari royal family in order to attract further investment by Qatar into Tunisia. Tunisia has been reported as having proposed the establishing of a 2billion dollar joint investment fund with Qatar to boost business in Tunisia. Tunisia’s economy has been struggling and in need of substantial inward investment. This summer the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided what has been called a “bail-out loan” of $2.9billion dollars aimed at developing the economy and creating new job opportunities in the country.
Following these meetings in New York the President is expected to continue what Cherif termed “a world tour,” travelling to Europe and Asia in advance of an international investment conference to be held in Tunisia in November. Cherif commented that investment conferences like this were: “often described as the last chance for a country to get as much funding as possible”