Tunisia- Different economic entities in Tunisia, in both the private and public sectors, are searching for successful means to enter the promising African markets.
Tunisia is seeking to overcome some obstacles, including political instability, transportation difficulties, and lack of entities representing different state institutions interested in trade and investment in most African countries.
Consequently, Tunisia founded an economic council representing African political parties during a meeting it hosted on March 18-19. The meeting’s attendees elected Tunisia as the chair of the council, Senegal as first deputy, Ethiopia as second deputy, and Rwanda as general rapporteur. The conferees also chose Tunis as the headquarters of the council.
The meeting’s participants agreed on inking an MoU between the African Economic Council and the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA). They stressed the importance of the achievements that could be made via coordination among African countries to grab available opportunities.
The council has been assigned to promote the economies of different African countries, increase awareness campaigns, and attract investors and businessmen through workshops that shed light on investment opportunities and regulations in those states.
The council will push for inter-African investments, encourage global partnerships, and then contribute to achieving economic recovery in the continent.
According to available data, the trade exchange share of Tunisia with African countries does not exceed 11.7%, while it averages 76% in exports and imports with European states.
Concerning trade exchanges with Africa, Tunisia exports most of its products to the Arab Maghreb countries; Libya tops the list of these countries, followed by Algeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Tunisian imports mainly come from Libya, followed by Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and then Ivory Coast.
Tunisia provides African countries with exports such as manufactured papers, cement, and some industrial materials like crystal and ceramic. Imports include food products, raw materials, and some metals like iron. The balance of trade deficit in Tunisia’s raw materials sector has reached USD370 million, and exceeded USD578 million in the food sector.
Tunisia’s limited trade with African countries has been mainly driven by the weakness of the commercial integration among them. According to data, African countries suffer from many problems that stop them from improving commercial integration.
Economic and financial experts believe that the development of trade ties with Africa requires the simplification of investment procedures, provision of all information on the investment climate, simplification of the fiscal system, facilitation of financial processes, support of the private sector, and promotion of labor forces’ skills.
Of note, Tunisia partook in the G20 manifestation calling for “partnership with Africa”, an initiative launched by the German chairmanship of the G20 in Baden during the group’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.
Tunisia also made several proposals in some sectors and programs which can be included in the German initiative “partnership with Africa”, aiming to enhance economic ties with African countries.