Tunisia is offering incentives to direct private foreign investments to help ensure social stability, according to what emerged from the 16th edition of the Tunisia Investment Forum. This years’ participants included the OECD, World Economic Forum and Confindustria Assafrica e Mediterraneo. The formula chosen by the Tunisian government over the past 3 years has been to encourage foreign firms to choose that country for production, instead of less secure options in Asia, as Director General of Assafrica e Mediterraneo Luigi Agata explained to Radiocor. “At the moment, there are approximately one thousand Italian firms operating in Tunisia, of which nearly 800 are small and medium sized manufacturers. The reasons are simple: low labour costs, good quality manpower, proximity to Italy and very appealing tax advantages. And further incentive exists for investments in certain particularly disadvantaged areas of the country”. In general, Agata added, “the Tunisian government is helping foreign firms in their search for the appropriate premises, and bureaucratic complexity levels are very low. In the case of joint ventures, there are no restraints on the shares that can be held by foreign companies, which can therefore hold the majority without any problem.” There is also another crucial aspect to underscore”, he added, “and that is the fact that the country’s central bank guarantees considerable currency flexibility with regard to the euro, in that the exchange rate is fixed in terms of a set of criteria that include both the euro and the dollar, and is not rigidly tied to the euro alone. This allows for room to move for those wishing to invest and produce in that country”. Tunisia also offers the advantage of already having signed a free trade agreement with the European Union back in 2008. “Relations between Tunisia and Italy are very solid”, Agata said, “just think, Prime Minister Renzi came here on his first visit out of the country since taking the post. And on that occasion he underscored how Italy and Tunisia were both currently social and political laboratories”.
(Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor)