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Tunisia : The enterprise days follow the deal and open the debate on the « UfM »

« The enterprise days » have been for a long time now, an interesting meeting for business men, decision-makers and young entepreneurs. Always related to a new topic, the Union for the Mediterranean represents, this year, the best target for Chakib Nouira and his collaborators. On current November 27th and 28th, at Port El Kantaoui (Centre of Tunisia), the issue to be debated by the participants will be « what is the future of the French proposal for the creation of the Union for the Mediterranean? ». Aiming at finding an answer to this question, the topic of the 23rd days of the enterprise will be: «The Enterprise and the Union for the Mediterranean : Approaches for a New Future».
UfM, yes ! But within a very tough international context !
The Enterprise days, and this is once more unfortunate for the Union for the Mediterranean, will take place in a climate of international financial crisis as well as some other issues marking the Mediterranean arena (the choice of Barcelona to host the Head Office of the Union for the Mediterranean), or at the international level with the election of a new American president. Hence, and even though this 23rd edition of the Enterprise Days will try to brandish the Mediterranean flag, the international stakes could not be overlooked. However, in addition to these questions which will be present in the minds of all the participants to these days, a thorough part will be devoted to this Union itself. The project won the approval of most of the involved parties. The difference in viewpoints resides mainly in the approach, the methodology and the planning to be adopted. With this new deal, the enterprises have to cope with the world financial crisis, raw material price increases, Asian competition and the need to adapt successfully to the new changes in terms of markets and other factors impacting their competitiveness.
A thick programme, and some near « existential» issues !
This session of the Enterprise Days will be the opportunity for many leaders from both sides of Mare Nostrum, to meet and discuss in order to find an agreement on the mechanisms likely to make the idea of this UfM still more fluid, especially to Business Leaders and Investors. Even though some of the guests have become « regulars » in these days such as Jean Pierre Raffarin, ex French prime minister or Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice- President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), others will participate, probably, for the first time, such as  the Turkish Murat Yalcintas , President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkey and president of ASCAME (Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce), or also the Moroccan Laila Sbiti, President of ANIMA Investment Network. Some new figures who could, together with others, bring some new blood within these Enterprise Days, but also and most importantly to a Mediterranean which has to rethink itself before thinking of gathering many countries, cultures and mainly different, even converging interests. Among the topics to be debated during these days : the different ways to approach the Union for the Mediterranean, the possibility of having a successful union through market integration and creating links between the operators and facilitating capital circulation around the Mediterranean, or also the stakes and challenges relating to human resources in terms of education, training, promotion and research ; this latter is the topic of the third and last panel of these days.
Is the UfM really an obligation ?
It is true that the more globalised we are, the more enterprises accept the need for integration and we are heading towards the signature of the agreements for the establishment of regional clusters, from now on, including all the continents. The Mediterranean region remains one of the scarce regions with no integration of the economies of its countries. The progressive and far-sighted implementation of free trade agreements for the Mediterranean and the strengthening of partnership and the development of multilateral projects in the region could be crucial elements for the success of this project. « The success of each ambitious project is a business of Men and any project cannot be successful and profitable to enterprises if it is not through the availability of competent and competitive human resources which helps to reinforce the enterprise competitiveness as well as the attractiveness of the region countries» say the organizers of the Days, but is it only a question of will, isn’t it that these same motives and mainly the tight interests of each country or each cluster that determine the future of such a project? We do not expect any answer to this question during the Enterprise Days in 2008, as these same Days were devoted to the Maghreb cohesion in 2006, and we are still looking for the answers !

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