Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister, is paying, on Tuesday, a working and friendship visit to Tunisia.
According to Tunis Afrique Presse Agency, This visit takes place in a context marked over the past years by a significant dynamic in different political, economic, social and cultural areas, in particular after the signing of the Friendship, Neighbourhood and Co-operation Agreement concluded in 2003 which has given a fresh impetus to the already strong, rich and diversified relations between the two countries.
Italy is the second commercial partner of Tunisia with a volume of 10 billion dinars in 2008, and also ranks third in terms of foreign direct investments as well as in the number of Italian tourists who visit Tunisia.
Moreover, 554 Italian joint ventures, including 253 in textile, 112 in mechanical and electrical industries and 75 in leather and shoes, operate in Tunisia. Twenty one other Tunisian-Italian joint companies operate in the areas of fisheries and agriculture, with investments worth 59 million dinars. Those companies generated nearly 50 thousand
Large-scale projects scheduled as part of the 11th Development Plan 2007/2011 have opened wide prospects for Italian companies and investors to achieve joint projects, in particular in the areas of major works, maritime transport, port services and tourism as well as in the sector of energy through the integrated project to be carried out between the European and Maghreb power networks.
Tunisia and Italy signed, in this regard, a contract on power inter-connection between the two countries. The achievement of this 4-billion-dinar project is entrusted to the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (STEG) and the Italian power transportation company.
The two countries also seek to strengthen partnership in the area of emigration in the region. They have started, since 2000, a new fruitful experience to organise migratory flows and combat illegal emigration. Under this programme, Italy provides an annual quota for the emigration of Tunisian workers to Italy.