Emmanuel Macron to begin twoday state visit to Tunisia Wednesday | Tunisia News Gazette

Emmanuel Macron to begin twoday state visit to Tunisia Wednesday

French President Emmanuel Macron will make a state visit to Tunisia on Wednesday (January 31) and Thursday (February 1), at the invitation of his counterpart Beji CaA�d Essebsi.

This is his first trip to Tunisia since he took office in May 2017.

The French President, who will be accompanied by many personalities, ministers, parliamentarians, officials of the French Development Agency (AFD), academics and businessmen, will deliver a message of encouragement to the process of economic and democratic transition in Tunisia, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During this visit, Macron will have meetings with President Beji CaA�d Essebsi, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Mohamed Ennaceur.

Defense, security, economy, education, higher education, culture and the situation in the region, especially in Libya are all topics that will be discussed during this visit, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A series of co-operation agreements will also be signed between the two countries.

On February 1, French President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a speech at an extraordinary plenary session at the House of People’s Representatives.

He will talk about co-operation between Tunisia and France and the prospects for expanding it, according to a parliamentary source.

He will take part with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed in the Tunisian-French Economic Forum, a business meeting, par excellence, organised by the Tunisian-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CTFCI) and the Foreign Trade Advisors of France.

Macron will visit the Bardo National Museum and meet with representatives of civil society.

He will go to the Martyrs’ Square in Sejoumi where he will lay a wreath at the foot of the martyrs’ memorial.

According to a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunisian-French relations are strategically important as reflected in the privileged political relations and “dense and diversified” economic co-operation.

Exchanges of visits at the level of heads of state have intensified. Thus, former president, Francois Hollande had visited Tunisia in July 2013 and president Beji CaA�d Essebsi had made a visit to France on April 7 and 8, 2015.

From December 10 to 13, 2017, President Beji CaA�d Essebsi made a visit to France to attend the “One Planet Summit”.

France, Tunisia’s leading economic partner

According to the same source, France is, at the same time, the top economic partner and the first country generating foreign investment in Tunisia, excluding energy.

It also hosts the largest Tunisian community abroad (about 730,000 nationals).

On the other hand, about 30,000 French nationals are living in Tunisia.

France has about 1,400 companies in Tunisia, and generates more than 136,000 jobs.

It is the largest investor in the country, excluding energy and has a global stock of FDI (foreign direct investment) of Euros 1.4 billion (about 3.5 billion dinars) in 2016.

France has also generated 365 million dinars of investment flows in the past year, or 30% of incoming investment flows in the country.

As the largest supplier and first customer of Tunisia, France also has more than 15% market share in the country, and hosts 32% of Tunisia’s exports in 2016.

The trade balance of Tunisia is therefore largely in surplus with France (Euros 930 million or 2.3 billion dinars).

However, while the French-Tunisian trade grew on average by 6% per year, between 2005 and 2010, bilateral trade has stagnated since 2011, with an average annual growth of 1%.

France is still the largest provider of European tourists despite the decline in French tourist flows in Tunisia since 2011.

More than 570 thousand French tourists visited Tunisia in 2017, more than 46% compared to 2016.

According to the French Embassy in Tunisia, “France wishes to further increase its investments in Tunisia in the coming years, especially by focusing on investments geared towards the development of the Tunisian domestic market, on the basis of agreements with partners such as via importers or franchises (as is the case in the tourism and distribution sector)”.

Source: National News Agency

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