While some major projects have been postponed or even lack clarity due to the impact of the financial crisis, others are currently under consideration in Tunisia. Some of these projects are already at an advanced stage of completion. In this context, the Tunisian-French Chamber of Commerce of Commerce and Industry ( CTFCI ) took the initiative to gather Tunisian and French businessmen as part of a seminar on French companies and major real estate projects, tourism and infrastructure in Tunisia. Though attendance did not meet expectations, some of the projects presented seem to have interested some French businessmen.
Overall, three key projects have been outlined to participants. This project Tunis Sports City, the “Cap 300” Bizerte Marina and Taparura project in the city of Sfax.
CTFCI Chairman Foued Lakhoua pointed out, in his address, that this two-day event consists in business to business (B to B) meetings between French and Tunisian enterprises operating notably in the building sector, with a view to creating large-scale property and infrastructure projects in Tunisia in the coming years.
He said that this event provides the opportunity to make better known the investment opportunities offered by the Tunisia site, notably in the sectors of processed food industry, medical equipment, hotels equipment and building materials, as many sectors that are less tapped by French companies.
He specified that Tunisia was the first Arab exporter to Algeria in 2008 with over 27% of the overall volume of the Algerian imports, according to the latest Algerian foreign trade statistics.
He asserted that “the Tunisian market is not as limited as it is thought to be,” pointing out that Tunisian-French trade exchanges are currently estimated at 7 billion Euros (12,6 billion dinars), for a population of 10-million inhabitants, which equals the value of exchanges between France and Morocco, for a population of 30-million inhabitants.
Some 12,000 French enterprises are bound by trade relations with Tunisia, compared with 4200 for Brazil, 3,000 for India, 7,000 for Turkey and 8,000 for China.
Addresses made, on the occasion, focused on the large-scale real estate and infrastructure projects to be achieved in Tunisia in the coming period.
These projects will touch upon the environment field, namely the building of two purification stations in Tunis at expenses worth 61 million Euros (109.8 million dinars), the national programme of coastal protection against sea erosion at a cost of 25 million Euros (45 million dinars), drinking- water supply projects (construction of a sea-water desalination station in Djerba by means of 36 million Euros, 64.8 million dinars and in Gabès, at 38 million Euros, i.e. 68.4 million dinars), reinforcement of water storing and treatment capacities in the Sahel and Sfax areas at investments worth 57 million Euros, that is 102.6 million dinars.
As regards the energy sectors, projects include the construction of a combined-cycle power station in El Haouaria by means of 526 million Euros (946.8 million dinars) and another in Ghannouch (263 million Euros=473. million dinars), the Skhira refinery worth 842 million Euros (1,515.6 million dinars) and the Tunisian Solar Plan whose cost is estimated at 2 billion Euros, i.e. 3.6 billion dinars.
Other projects were also presented, on the occasion: the project of the Tunis-based Offshore Financial Centre, worth 2 billion Euros (3.6 billion dinars) and the information and communication technologies project, the “Tunis Télécom City,” whose cost is estimated at 3 billion dollars (3.9 billion dinars).
As to real estate and tourism projects, it is worth citing the project of the Bizerte Marina “CAP 3000” by investments worth 160 million dinars, the Taparura project in Sfax (the cost of fitting out the Northern coast of the city estimated at 140 million dinars) and the Tunis Sports City project, which is worth nearly 5 billion dollars, i.e. 6.5 billion dinars. In infrastructure, a deep-water port and logistics activities zone will be set up in Enfidha, by means of investments worth 1.4 billion Euros (2.5 billion dinars), the development of a motorway network for the cost of 1.4 million Euros, that is 2.5 million dinars and the setting up of an express railway network whose first stage’s cost is estimated at 124 million Euros, i.e. 223 million dinars.