U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun M. Kumar said at Tunisia 2020 International Investment conference said that Not only has Tunisia succeeded in creating a new and responsive political system, but it has also made great strides modernizing and reforming its economy.
Over the past several months, we have witnessed the important steps taken to support private sector investments with the passage of the Public-Private Partnership and banking laws and a new investment code, he underlined.
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce asserted, that President Obama and Secretaries Pritzker and Kerry highlighted, in September, Tunisia at the U.S. African Business Forum because of these meaningful steps to create a business-friendly environment.
He also reminded that the United States is committed not only to highlighting Tunisia’s successes, but to supporting them directly. Since 2011, the United States has provided over $900 million in assistance to support Tunisia’s democratic, security, and economic development.
In May of this year, The U.S. held the first meeting of the U.S.-Tunisia Joint Economic Commission, focusing on important areas for economic growth including the ICT sector, agriculture, and small and medium enterprises in partnership with both government and private sector representatives. He also said that the United States, last summer, concluded the third sovereign loan guarantee with Tunisia to enable the borrowing of an additional $500 million at affordable rates, providing access to approximately $1.5 billion in capital since 2011.
Besides, he said the Tunisia America Enterprise Fund will reach a capitalization of $80 million this year to directly support the growth of small and medium enterprises across Tunisia.
Altogether, U.S. assistance has enabled the creation of more than 10,000 jobs for the Tunisian people. On the regulatory side, the U.S. programmes are assisting the Tunisian government with more transparent and accountable financial management and with streamlining business regulations to allow Tunisians themselves to create a more innovative, vigorous economy, he noted.
He said that United States is and will remain committed to the cooperation designed to strengthen Tunisia’s economy, but the U.S. assistance, and that of all of our foreign government partners here today, is but one piece of the puzzle.
“We are encouraged by the presence here today of so many private sector representatives from around the world. After all, we all know that the private sector must be the true driver of lasting economic growth in Tunisia”, he said.
Many U.S. businesses have already recognized the opportunity present in Tunisia, with its stable, democratic government, a highly educated workforce, and easy access to Europe and other regional trade hubs, he underlined. The U.S. firms operating in Tunisia, many of whom are here today, include financial institutions, tech companies, manufacturers, and food outlets, he went on saying.
In this connection, he said the Government of Tunisia has shown its commitment to welcoming private business through its continued steps for reforms and engagement, noting “we have no doubt more U.S. firms will take advantage of the opportunity to do business here in Tunisia in the future.”