Tunisia- Government in Tunisia, on Tuesday, announced that technical studies have commenced for a project on establishing a free trade zone at Ben Gardane, located near borders with Libya. It is noteworthy that the border adjacent area over the past few days has witnessed mass terrorist attacks perpetrated by tens of extremists.
The project is an effort spent by the government in hopes of pushing development at the region further, countering terrorism, and curbing the recruitment of youths by extremists. Tunisian Minister of Commerce Mohsen Hassan said that the project’s due date was expected sooner than next year, and would cost up to 120million Tunisian Dinars (TND), approximately 60 million U.S. dollars.
Ben Gardane is considered to be the principal economic gateway between Libya and Tunisia, and a highly strategic zone for commercial trade between the two countries. Unofficial records show that up to 80 percent of the area domiciles live on off-board trade. Ben Gardane also has the major slice of the off-board exchange market.
The anticipated project aims at regulating border commercial trade and shutting down opportune terrorist trafficking portals. Furthermore, the development endeavor is expected to create an economic headway for areas close to Libyan borders.
President of the coalition of the Tunisian Popular Front (a leftist and national political alliance) Ahmed al-Sadiq said that Ben Gardane awaits the establishment of a logistic zone (free trade area) which will provide its youth with employment opportunities and contributes to finding and developing resources.
The government expects the free trade zone to provide up to 2500 direct employment opportunities and six thousand indirect employment opportunities. Moreover, the project is meant to diminish youth’s connection to off-board trade and later fight each of trafficking, off-board trade in general and the dangers of terrorism.