Second round table on ‘Business environment in Tunisia & European Cooperation’ held at the European Parliament

We organised our second round table at the European Parliament in June, accompanied by our guests Karim Ahres, Chouaieb Amine, Khaled Ben Jilani and Faten Kallel, our partner from KLL ADVISORY.

Alongside the experts mentioned above, we developed the theme “Business environment in Tunisia & European Cooperation” through a discussion rich in experience with MEP Salima Yenbou.

The current business environment, which has become deleterious, fails to satisfy economic players, including Tunisian innovators, and even curses certain companies with a thirst for good growth.

So it’s time to think about genuinely innovative solutions to the problems facing society, where European cooperation would enable a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership, a far cry from the current short-termism!

Since the 2011 revolution, many voices have been heard, wrongly or wrongly, sometimes distorting vital information. From now on, we need to get the real information on the ground, rather than skewing our thinking through fanciful and populist visions.

Spreading and transmitting the right information, especially to our partner institutions, is vital for the stabilisation of the southern shore of the Mediterranean!

Ten years of democratic transition have led Tunisia, this “open-air laboratory”, to some convincing failures. However, a number of forces aspiring to change have emerged from these failures. But these same forces are suffering from a lack of space, and are gradually being suffocated by increasingly persistent factors of failure…

The solutions lie in the establishment of a network that listens both at home and abroad, and in the sense given to private society and the civil sector! Building bridges, not walls, with our partners is vital for the future of the nation. (Faten Kallel)

Our first guest, Karim Ahres, focused on the creation of spaces where new economic models can be tested, to curb the departure of Tunisian talent. We need to make proposals, in conjunction with the private sector, that will not become political projects. In his opinion, it is very difficult to act with an administration that has been stripped of its competencies.

« We need to change our model. We are entrepreneurs, we have this commitment to get results, employability and value creation! »

Our second guest, Chouaieb Amine, spoke of the fact that Tunisia’s problems are indirectly linked to Europe. « As long as the countries of the South do not move towards development, the problems of the North will only get worse. »

Chouaieb Amine also drew attention to the importance of Tunisian youth and the brain drain and talent drain in a context where Tunisia no longer offers them the hope of crystallising their energies and desires. The Tunisian dream no longer exists, and many of us want to leave!

Khaled Ben Jilani, for his part, developed the problems of the financial sector on 8 key points:

  • The financial sector is crucial as a diversified private infrastructure, but banking lobbying can limit financing alternatives outside the banks’ control.
  • There is a need to revitalise the financial sector with strong political will, recalling that there have been financial inclusion projects, but the next steps have not been completed.
  • Low-value mobile payments (less than €5) are widely adopted in Africa to foster financial inclusion.
    The private sector can become a driver of development if it is adequately financed.
  • Tunisian companies have national and international competitive advantages, but they need to open up internationally by following strategies in various fields (electronics, aerospace, education, health, agriculture) with sectoral support to strengthen their resilience.
  • Most of the funding for young innovative companies in Africa comes from the United States.
  • Young companies face obstacles linked to discriminatory prejudices.
  • Visa problems hamper mobility and the realisation of promising projects.
  • To stand out on the Tunisian-European market and compete with other regions (Middle East, America), efforts are needed in a perspective of global competition.

Thank you for reading this report, and thank you to all the guests who attended this round table! We look forward to seeing you at the end of October for the next round table.

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