The international investment conference that many hope will kick-start the Tunisian economy is due to start in Tunis tomorrow.
Despite democratic gains since the revolution, Tunisia continues to struggle with widespread unemployment and poor or barely existent infrastructure development. According to the government’s news agency, TAP levels of foreign investment in Tunisia has fallen by 7.6% since the revolution. The unemployment rate currently stands at 15.5%, doubling in some areas within the country’s interior. The inflation rate is estimated to be 3.9%.
“Tunisia has suffered from this image of a country in political transition,” Africa News reported the Minister for Investment and International Cooperation, Fadhel Abdelkefi as saying, a perception the country was looking to dispel, “this transition is over and today all the focus is on investment, (and) growth which we want to simply consolidate this transition”.
Abdelkefi continued, “Tunisia is an extremely competitive site south of the Mediterranean” as it has “attracted more than 3500 companies that produce in Tunisia for export using Tunisian logistics”.
Tunisia 2020, (named after the expected completion date of many the projects under discussion) will bring together some 2,000 participants, from forty countries at the Palais des Congrès including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Over the course of the two days, the Tunisian government will present 140 public, private and joint public-private projects valued at nearly 30 billion euros to investors from 20 different sectors. In total, it is hoped that the conference will attract up to$60 billion in foreign investments into Tunisia over the next five years, creating 400,000 jobs nationwide.
This will be the second international investment conference that Tunisia has hosted since the revolution, after the 2014 “Invest in Tunisia, Start-up Democracy” failed to live up to expectations.