A partnership meeting was held recently in Tunis. It aimed to enrich the legal framework governing relations between Tunisia and the UAE through economic and trade conventions.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Bukhatir expressed, in an interview with African Manager, UAE’ s willingness to contribute to the realization of investment projects in Tunisia and strengthening bilateral cooperation, particularly in light of the confidence that marked relations between the two countries.
1. What are the overall results of the visit of UAE businessmen to Tunisia?
Our visit to Tunisia helped identify ways to strengthen cooperation. We are here to confirm the continued implementation of our mega-project of the Sports City, at the “Berges du Lac.” Thus, we are committed to boosting the ties binding the two peoples for many years.
2. Have you encountered problems of investment in Tunisia when it was ruled by the former president?
No. At present we are willing to invest more in Tunisia where the environment is good and suitable and we have no obstacle to ensure success of projects and expand our partnerships with Tunisian businessmen. This is a good opportunity to strengthen the socio-economic relations.
3. How do you assess the nature of relations between the Republic of Tunisia and the state of the UAE?
Tunisian-Emirati relations are characterized by depth, richness and mutual trust as well as similarity of approaches to development and convergence of policy positions.
They are a model of what is needed to boost Arab joint action and bolster its credibility in all areas.
Moreover, these relations have continued to evolve and go crescendo, as reflected, in particular, through the exchange of visits and political consultation between officials of both countries, in addition to the continuous development of bilateral cooperation in the field of investment, which makes now the State of United Arab Emirates one of the best Arab and foreign investors in Tunisia.
The United Arab Emirates is, at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a leading partner of Tunisia in terms of economic investment with an estimated amount of $ 50 billion.
4. Is it possible to consider an expansion of bilateral cooperation and consolidation of partnership relations in the economic, political and cultural areas?
I remind you again that the state of the UAE is one of the best Arab and foreign investors in Tunisia. So the two countries are called to make an extra effort to expand and diversify the areas of joint investments by extending them to promising sectors with high added value and high cognitive content in Tunisia, which is a privileged destination for UAE capital, thanks to the climate of security and stability that prevails there.
We are striving, in Tunisia and the UAE, to promote our relations of cooperation and partnership in various sectors such as tourism, real estate…
For instance and in terms of cooperation, our Group will continue its investment and its settlement in Tunisia after a shutdown attributed to global economic conditions and especially after the meeting held in recent weeks between the prime ministers of both countries and following studies conducted on the Group’s projects in Tunisia.
Works of the Sports City mega project started in recent months, with the landscaping.
The Tunis Sports City project is one of the mega-projects to be carried out over the next years in Tunis, which should accelerate the momentum of the Tunisian economy through the creation of new jobs.
The amount of the total investment for this project is estimated at nearly $ 5 billion, which will be disbursed by the UAE Group to build one of the greatest sports cities in the region in an area of nearly 257 hectares in the “Berges du Lac.”
Indeed, we have launched, in recent months, a large recruitment of executives and labor for the realization of the project whose plan provides, inter alia, for the creation of nine sports academies, three golf clubs, a mall and nearly 10,000 residential units. The project should create about 40,000 new jobs.
5. What message would you send to the Tunisian people at the historic turning point experienced by Tunisia?
The Tunisian people are creating their own path of economic and political development. Both countries share the same values of freedom and justice. I am confident about the future of democracy in Tunisia. I also want to say that Tunisia is a friendly country and it will need support for economic recovery, investment and financial aid. I can not conclude without pointing to Tunisia’s transition to democracy and especially the fact that it keeps liberal economic policies and continues to be open, tolerant and multicultural.