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Tunisia: foreign investment down over 29% in 2011 (FIPA)

The volume of foreign investments in Tunisia went down by 29.2% in 2011, compared to 2010.

According to the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) CEO Noureddine Zekri, the total value of these investments fell from 2417.7 million dinars (MTD) in 2010 to 1711.3 MTD in 2011.

The official said this decline was relatively the result “of the suspension of the privatization operations and of major projects scheduled for 2011.” During a meeting with the press held at the Prime Ministry on Friday, Mr. Zekri explained that 148 new firms started their operations in Tunisia in 2011 and that other foreign companies already settled in the country expanded their activities. These new investments offered 10,839 jobs, including 9,464 industrial ones, against 15,329 jobs in 2010, i.e., down 29.6%.

In return, 182 foreign companies operating in the country ended “for good” their activities, resulting in the loss of 10,930 jobs, he said, specifying that they are only small and medium enterprises. FIPA CEO also added that about 50 foreign companies “were facing huge difficulties due to the post-Revolution events, leading to unstable social conditions in these companies.”

“This number of ailing firms declined during the last period in Tunisia, thanks to an improving business climate,” he further elaborated, pointing to the “broader range” of foreign investors in Tunisia after the Revolution, which is the expression of an “international burst of sympathy” with the country’s democratic transition.

“The Tunisian site interests, henceforth, investors from such new countries as the U.S.A., the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain and the Gulf countries,” Mr. Zekri asserted, calling to make the most of this sympathy to attract more foreign investments.

For 2012, FIPA expects to attract foreign investments worth 2,400 MTD.

Moreover, it is also planning to stage a large promotion campaign abroad to make known the preferential advantages and business incentives on offer in Tunisia. On the regional level, an action is underway to identify the regions’ preferential advantages and their potential for investments attraction.

Tunisia counted had, by the end of 2011, a total of 3,102 foreign companies employing some 321,000 workers, according to FIPA’s last figures.

France remains the leading investor in Tunisia, with 1,259 companies; Italy is second (745 firms); then come Germany (266 companies) and Belgium (208 companies).

The total number of Arab firms settled in Tunisia stands at only 220, while the number of Asian companies is of 23.

Among the 3,102 foreign firms in the country, only 402 are operating in inland regions and employ 57,000 persons.


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