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President of CCIT: “A national strategy should be put in place to enter the African market”

President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis (CCI Tunis), Mounir Mouakhar, stressed the need to create a shock to meet all the challenges faced by Tunisia.

He on the other hand said that the current business fabric is unable to absorb the mass of workers. Hence the importance of improving competitiveness, logistics services and simplifying administrative formalities to encourage more exports.

On another level, Mounir Mouakhar believes that a national strategy should be put in place to enter the African market, while ensuring better synchronization between the various stakeholders.

Interview:

What are the recommendations of the Chamber to the new government of Youssef Chahed?

We must act effectively on some productive areas to ensure the revival of these strategic sectors, like phosphates, tourism, etc.

The Chamber stresses the importance of quickly implementing the investment code and improving the business climate in order to restore the confidence of domestic and foreign investors.

The Chamber also calls for the consolidation of the national effort in the fight against smuggling and informal trading. It is time to develop a new vision capable of transforming the sector in a legal sector, able to create wealth and spur development. This is very important insofar as informal trade currently accounts for over 50% of the GDP of Tunisia and more than 40% of the Tunisian private sector jobs depend on it.

The Chamber calls for law enforcement with the necessary rigor vis-à-vis all citizens and in all areas.

It is more useful than ever to promote the work and fight against attitudes that may affect the freedom of work. Because we are not in the culture of improved productivity and business competitiveness; we are rather facing a resurgence of the culture of demands in recent years.

For CCI Tunis, achieving these goals will also require the contribution and mobilization of all stakeholders in order to overcome the crisis faced by Tunisia in recent years.

How to act to revive our economy?

The enactment of the investment code is necessary but not sufficient.

Improving competitiveness is still useful since it has declined considerably. This will, in my view, hinge on improving the competitiveness of logistics services and the simplification of administrative procedures to further encourage exports. Add to this the development of promotional campaigns, not to mention the use of advanced technologies.

Starting from this idea, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis launched an innovative new project called Tunisia Trading. To date, 3,600 entrepreneurs have joined Tunisia Trading, considered a 100% Tunisian virtual marketplace, created as part of collaboration between the CCIT and the Embassy of the United States in Tunis. The main goal is to help Tunisian companies expand internationally, through a package of value-added services…

Our goal is to reach 5,000 firms before opening up to foreign companies.

Do you think the government of Youssef Chahed is able to meet these challenges?

We hope so and this for the good of the country. This government made up of politicians, talents and skills, with a better representation of Tunisian women, will meet the challenges.

But it is also the responsibility of all stakeholders and interveners. We need to see the civil society, intermediate structures and the Tunisian people getting into. Because we are still in a delicate and even morose situation.

In the same vein, the government is required to adopt painful measures in order to meet the challenge.

What is the role of CCI Tunis in this process?

Our role is to ensure the attractiveness of investment, encourage entrepreneurship and especially to create new projects. Because the current fabric is unable to absorb the mass of workers.

Such a situation urges us to create new projects and to promote investment, develop the digital economy and the green economy. We must create a shock to meet these challenges…

Where things are with the African market?

Many attempts were made to enter the African market. Similarly, increased interest is expressed by African customers compared to Tunisian products.

Therefore, we have a respectable position, especially as the Tunisian products are of good quality. On this basis, we must work with our means and our same constraints.

In such a condition, we must coordinate our efforts to enter the African market by ensuring better synchronization between the different stakeholders, chambers of commerce, diplomats and intervening structures.

For this purpose, a national strategy should be put in place to make a joint effort. This is crucial approach insofar as many opportunities remain to be exploited. Indeed, several markets including the Gulf countries are very important and the reputation of Tunisian products is very good there.

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