The French Prime Minister, Mr Francois Fillon started on Thursday a visit to Tunisia, France’s Ambassador in Tunis, Mr Serge Degallaix said that the Prime Minister’s delegation comprises 100 people including 4 Ministers, 60 business entrepreneurs and 10 University chancellors.
The French Ministers of Higher education, Transport, Industry and Cooperation and Francophone affairs, is part of the delegation.
The main items on the agenda include the signing of cooperation agreements and the granting of a credit line of 40 million Euros (about 75 million dinars) which will be allocated to supporting small and medium enterprises.
The opening in Tunis of a branch of the Paris Dauphine University is also expected , as well as the setting up of a cooperation agreement between a major French engineering school (ENSTA) and the Bizerta engineering school, with the aim of helping Tunisia train 3000 engineers each year.
The signing of a partnership agreement relative to the feasibility study to set up a nuclear power plant in Tunisia is also scheduled. The plant which is expected to become operational between 2020 and 2025, will require at least ten years of feasibility studies.
On the sidelines of the visit, an economic forum gathering the Tunisian union of industry, commerce and trade (UTICA) and its French counterpart the MEDEF, will be held, during which the French Prime Minister will hold a press conference.
France is Tunisia’s first economic partner. In 2008 the financial exchange vomlume reached 7,2 billion Euros.
Mr Fillon’s visit comes a year after President Sarkozy visited Tunisia on the invitation of President Ben Ali.