Madbouly, Bouden launch Egyptian-Tunisian Economic Forum in Tunis

Ahram Online , MENA , Thursday 12 May 2022

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and his Tunisian counterpart Najla Bouden inaugurated on Thursday evening the Egyptian-Tunisian Economic Forum in Tunis with a focus on increasing investment prospects between the two countries.

Madbouly and Bouden
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Tunisian counter Najla Bouden at the inauguration of the Egyptian-Tunisian economic forum in Tunis, Tunisia on Thursday (Photo : Egyptian Cabinet)

In his remarks to the forum, which is being held on the sidelines of the Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee meetings in the Tunisian capital, PM Madbouly asserted that Egypt was backing Tunisia in all fields to foster the country’s stability.

Madbouly also thanked PM Bouden for the warm reception he received in Tunisia.

He said the forum comes at a very critical time considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the global economy, which are putting the burden of rising inflation on the world’s countries.

Specific financial policies are the optimum solution for such an economic crisis, which exist alongside the need to achieve industrial growth and reduce foreign currency outflows stemming from imports, Madbouly stated.

The premier highlighted Egypt’s economic reform programme, including its positive reviews by various global foundations. He also reviewed the measures taken by the government regarding tax and labour laws, as well as promoting the involvement of the private sector in infrastructure projects.

He indicated that the government will work on establishing major companies whose shares will be floated on the exchange for people to buy. He also highlighted the government’s other programs in the near future to lure foreign investments in the fields of energy, communication and the green economy.

The premier voiced hope that this year would witness more economic cooperation between Egypt and Tunisia, noting that several joint agreements will be signed in the various fields.

During the forum, the Egyptian prime minister directed the Egyptian embassy in Tunis to set up an immediate mechanism to ensure a quick issuance of visas for Tunisian businessmen to Egypt.

He also added that the trade exchange between Egypt and Tunisia needs to be doubled, adding that he would discuss on Friday the issue of establishing a maritime trade line between Egypt and Tunisia in the higher committee meetings.

Egypt's exports to Tunisia reached $223.3 million in 2021, down from $263.9 million and $613.8 million in 2020 and 2019 respectively. Egypt mainly exports clothing, food and cleaning products.

The premier said that he looked forward to 2022-2023 being the year of economic cooperation between Egypt and Tunisia, based on the close cooperation between the private sector of both countries.

He revealed that a detailed program that will be announced over the next few days, opening the way for partnership between the public and private sectors in a number of major national projects in Egypt, especially in the fields of energy and utilities, and offering new projects for foreign direct investment especially in the fields of communications, information technology and renewable energies.

From her side, Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden said that the forum involved representatives of various economic sectors with the aim of promoting ties between Egypt and Tunisia.

She added the legal framework of bilateral cooperation was very good and enough to boost mutual ties and improve the level of businesses.

Bouden also underlined the national strategy of Tunisia to improve the energy sector and diversify energy sources, noting that she is looking forward to cooperation with Egypt in the fields of infrastructure and construction.

The Tunisian premier also asserted the need to strengthen Egyptian-Tunisian cooperation in all fields.

Bouden added that the current Tunisian government has embarked on urgent measures and reforms aimed at getting the country out of this economic crisis, revitalising industrial enterprises, promoting private investment, and preserving jobs.

These measures are taking place in parallel with a development plan covering the 2023-2024 period aimed at supporting the competitiveness of the national economy and enhancing its ability to adapt.

The Egyptian-Tunisian Economic Forum witnessed the participation of representatives from more than 60 of Egypt's biggest companies, according to Mohamed Abdel-Fattah El-Masry, the vice-president of the Egyptian Federation for Commercial Chambers.

El-Masry revealed that both Egyptian and Tunisian sides will work to activate the 2004 Agadir agreement for free trade between Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan to increase the trade exchange between the two countries 

Tunisian ambassador to Cairo Mohamed bin Youssef revealed to the Ahram Arabic website that the Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee would conclude its work on Friday with the signing of 11 agreements between Egypt and Tunisia in several fields including health, education, agriculture and technology.

In statement to Al-Ahram Arabic website, Egypt’s Communication Minister Amr Talat stated on Thursday that a cooperation agreement between Egypt and Tunisia will be signed concerning money transfers between the two countries through Egypt Post.

He also added that an agreement was signed on the sidelines of the forum to boost cooperation in the fields of cybersecurity and smart healthcare.

Madbouly, and the high-level ministerial delegation accompanying him, arrived Thursday for the 17th session of the Egyptian-Tunisian Higher Committee meetings, which are being held Thursday and Friday.

Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden and Egypt's Ambassador to Tunisia Ehab Fahmy received Madbouly at the airport where an official reception ceremony took place.

Madbouly’s delegation includes Education Minister Tarek Shawki, Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat, Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar, Communication Minister Amr Talaat, and Agriculture Minister El-Sayed El-Quseir.

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