Djerba Summit 2022: Call for creating digital free trade zone in French-speaking world

(Interview conducted by Maroua Ben Abdennebi and Wided Medfai-TAP)- A call for the creation of a digital free trade area in the Francophone space will be launched, for the first time in the history of the economic Francophonie, during the 4th edition of the Economic Forum of the Francophonie “FEF Djerba 2022” which will be held from November 20 to 21, in Djerba.


In an interview granted to TAP, on the sidelines of the Francophonie summit, Mokthar Chaouari, general commissioner of the economic forum and director attached to the general management of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), explained that “this is not a classic free trade area that guarantees free movement of goods and abolishes tariff barriers, but rather an area where content and knowledge are exchanged, thanks to digital technology.


“This project that we are carrying is ambitious, futuristic but achievable. The objective is to make the Francophonie evolve towards a flexible and more promising Francophonie in favour of young people,” the official said.


According to him, the call that will be launched on this digital free trade zone is in line with the theme of this 4th edition which is entitled “For a Shared Growth in the Francophone Space”.


Organized by the FIPA, in partnership with the Alliance des Patronats Francophones, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIT) and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), the 4th edition of this forum will bring together nearly 630 participants representing 35 French-speaking countries.


“We have worked to bring together as many French-speaking countries as possible for this forum, which will be opened by the President of the Republic of Tunisia, Kais Saied, and the Secretary General of the OIF, Louise Mushikiwabo,” he said.


According to Chaouari, the most important delegations that will take part in this international event are the French, Canadian, Ivorian and Congolese delegations.


A total of 1,200 business meetings are expected to be held between the various companies in the French-speaking world operating in various sectors, mainly digital, aeronautical, automotive and electrical.


“Throughout these two days, these companies will be able to discuss business opportunities and establish partnerships,” he said.


/// The FEF Djerba: Tunisia is capable of attracting more Francophone investments ///


Asked about the potential investment opportunities that can benefit Tunisia during this forum, the commissioner general of the economic forum said that the “FEF Djerba 2022” offers the right framework to allow our country to assert its strategic economic positioning in the French-speaking area.


“Tunisia is already well positioned in the French-speaking economic space insofar as 50% of its foreign direct investments come from French-speaking countries,” he said.


“Our country is a crossroads between Europe and Africa. It has several assets that allow it to attract more French-speaking investments,” he said, citing the linguistic, cultural and geographical proximity with some French-speaking countries.


In addition to these assets, he said, Tunisia has a qualified human capital, adding that it is among the largest exporters of grey matter to French-speaking countries in Europe and Africa.


“We must therefore take advantage of these assets to create economic triangulations with Africa and Europe,” Chaouari said.


Referring to the specificities of this 4th edition, the official said that this is the first edition, which takes place in the wake of the economic strategy of the Francophonie 2020-2025, adopted two years ago.


The aim is to discuss the axes of this strategy, including inclusion, sustainable development and entrepreneurship of young people and women, and to identify new global and innovative perspectives to meet the economic challenges.


This forum, which will be closed by Prime Minister Najla Bouden, will be crowned by an award ceremony for the eight best Tunisian startups with international influence.


Source: Tap News Agency