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FDI: new DG of FIPA shows optimism

Noureddine Zekri, former senior official at the Ministry of Economic Development, who takes over from Mongia Khmiri at the head of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), the structure in charge of boosting FDI in Tunisia, made his first media appearance at a news conference held on Wednesday, March 16. 

He announced that from a total number of 6,185 foreign companies operating in Tunisia, only 33 have ceased operations. And although this resulted in the loss of 2,400 job positions, most FDIs based in Tunisia resumed their operations quickly after a stop or a disturbance during the early days of the Revolution. This did not prevent their owners to show their intention to restart and continue their activities in Tunisia. 

The new Director General of FIPA tried in this press conference to be positive and convey his optimism to businessmen, stating that “the new climate of democracy will 
certainly help improve the economic climate “and that “democracy and transparency, which  all parties strive to achieve, can have a positive impact on investments in the country. ” His optimism is all the more justified that “foreign investors also affirmed their support and their intention to work in Tunisia while increasing their investment through extensions. 

Regarding communication, on this new positive image that should be given on Post-Ben Ali’s Tunisia, the new DG of FIPA passed the buck to the press and talked about the specific communication and action plan of FIPA. “The national or international media are called upon to value the good side of the Revolution that our Tunisia is going through. Indeed, this change will benefit our economy and attract foreign investors who will be now convinced to locate on our site…”said Noureddine Zekri. 

Before an audience of journalists, the DG of FIPA emphasized the strategic role of the media in the socio-economic reconstruction of the country. He also noted that Tunisia, which is now freed from the weaknesses of which it had suffered at the level of transparency and governance, will see its business climate improve and its potential attractiveness 
increase. 

For now, all stakeholders need to work together to boost the national economy. “A joint communication plan among all economic players will be set up so that Tunisia makes a leap forward and that we can regain the confidence of foreign promoters, “he said without giving further detail, especially financial ones.

 Zekri also focused on the need to “mobilize Tunisian skills abroad by further involving them in the development and implementation of marketing plans to promote the Tunisian site. 
Zekri also stressed the “absolute priority to be given to regions.
“In this connection, he drew attention to the importance of promoting the strengths enjoyed by several governorates among businessmen to attract more FDI. 

This depends on the immediate improvement of the road and technological infrastructure and development of industrial zones to create micro-projects in these remote areas 
which had benefitted from less support in the past. Indeed, there is a will to move towards creating a better regional balance.  Aside from the optimism he showed, all this lack  concrete and measurable actions as to promote the new image of Post-Ben Ali’s Tunisia, to induce FDI to go into areas where there is, also, and especially, a lack of security.

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