Oudhna site, venue of symposium on management of cultural heritage in Arab countries

A symposium on the management and valorisation of cultural heritage in Arab countries was held Thursday at the archaeological site of Oudhna, governorate of Ben Arous, as part of the third edition of the Heritage Month.

Several experts from Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia attended the event along with representatives of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO).

The event was organised by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with the Agency for Heritage Development and Cultural Promotion (French: AMVPPC) and the National Heritage Institute (French: INP).

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Organic agricultural exports up 24.5% at end of April 2024 (ONAGRI)

The value of Tunisia’s organic agricultural exports reached TND 859.4 million, by the end of April 2024, significantly up 24.5% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the monthly report of the National Agricultural Observatory (ONAGRI) released Friday.

However, in terms of volume, these exports fell by 17.2% to 35,042 tonnes.

Italy maintained its position as the main market with a 45.10% share, followed by Spain and France with 24.30% and 12.65% respectively.

The main organic products exported are olive oil and organic dates, followed by organic forest products.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia shows lower competitiveness in attracting FDI compared to Egypt, Morocco (IACE)

Tunisia has a significantly lower competitiveness in attracting foreign investment compared to Egypt and Morocco,” according to a comparative study conducted by the Arab Institute of Business Leaders (IACE) across North Africa for the period 2003-2022.

The study, entitled “Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Tunisia between Attractiveness and Retention”, was published on Friday.

Egypt stands out as the leading destination for new foreign investment in the region, particularly during the post-COVID-19 recovery period, while Tunisia is struggling to regain its pre-pandemic appeal.

The IACE noted that “Tunisia and Morocco were almost equal in terms of FDI inflows in 2010, but since then the gap has widened due to Tunisia’s underperformance and Morocco’s remarkable results”.

In a comparative analysis of North African countries, Tunisia emerges with “the lowest number of new investments compared to Egypt and Morocco”.

“The evolution of FDI volume largely reflects the country’s attractiveness for investment; h
owever, it is crucial to distinguish between reinvestment or expansion and new foreign investment,” IACE said.

“Since 2014, the number of expansions of foreign projects in Tunisia has consistently exceeded the number of new creations, indicating an ability to retain and sustain existing foreign investments, with increasingly significant reinvestment efforts, all in a context of limited attractiveness for new investments.”

Building on this observation, the Institute assessed that “policymakers have a dual objective” of retaining and sustaining existing foreign investment by promoting a favourable investment climate capable of safeguarding the jobs created, while at the same time seeking to attract new FDI.

The study highlighted the need to identify the expectations of foreign investors and to initiate a branding strategy to improve Tunisia’s positioning as an attractive destination for foreign investment.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisian date exports up 19.7

Tunisian date exports in the first seven months of the 2023/2024 season reached 114.7 thousand tonnes worth TND 717.7 million, up 14.6% in terms of volume and 19.7% in terms of value compared with the same period in the 2022/2023 season, according to the May newsletter of the National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI Vigilance).

Exports of organisc date products reached 5.397 thousand tonnes worth TND 62.4 million during the same period.

Their share accounts for 5% of the total Tunisian date exports in terms of quantity and 9.2% in terms of value.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia-Spain: Sustainable socio-economic programme launched in Médenine and Sfax

A programme called “Sustainable Socio-Economic Opportunities for Women and Young People in the Governorates of Medenine and Sfax,” was launched on Thursday, May 16, at the «South Techno Park» of Médenine.

The «Qima» programme, funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), seeks to promote the integration of women and young green entrepreneurs into value chains in Medenine and Sfax, according to the Spanish Cooperation and Research foundation (CIDEAL), which is leading the project with its Tunisian partners.

More particularly, it aims to support stable and sustainable income-generating opportunities by developing innovative agricultural value chains, consolidating professional skills as well as fostering collaboration between public and private actors.

«The priority value chains selected in Medenine and Sfax, as part of the programme will offer real opportunities to 855 Tunisian women and young people in an effort to encourage entrepreneurship and strengthen the economy a
t local and national levels,» according to the same source.

In Médenine, the fig sector could be promoted through several products: Gharbouz (dried figs found mainly in the south of Tunisia and more specifically in Beni Khedache), Chriha (dried fig), robb (molasses), jam, fig-based pastry products, fig juice…)

It also concerns the beekeeping and glass sectors for the packaging of final products as well as the production of fodder using innovative techniques, hydroponics which will make it possible to develop production in a region facing a shortage of water and high temperatures as well as meet the food needs of the area, particularly in the camel value chain.

The programme is also destined to support the socio-professional integration in economic growth sectors, complementary to value chains. More precisely, it will benefit vulnerable Tunisian women and young people by offering technical assistance, planning entrepreneurial projects and facilitating access to the job market.

In the Governorate of Sfax,
the identified value chain is pepper. This product could be valorized through by-products, including jams and sauces which help preserve the raw material for a long time without losing its nutritional properties.

In the same region, the programme plans to encourage the use of aromatic and medicinal plants to create perfumes, oils and ointments and then export them to international markets.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunis stock exchange closes week on positive note

The Tunis stock exchange closed the week of May 13-17 on a positive note, according to stock market broker Tunisie Valeurs.

Driven upwards by the good performance of the leasing index (+0.7%) and the industry index (+1.3%), the benchmark closed the week with a weekly gain of +0.7% to 9177.79 points, bringing its performance since the start of the year to +4.9%.

On the trading side, even in the absence of block trades, volumes were buoyant, driven mainly by Délice Holding and Amen Bank shares. Trading totalled TND 33.1 million, i.e. an average daily volume of TND 6.6 million.

//Value analysis//

Tunisie Leasing and Factoring shares topped the podium. The leasing company’s share posted the best performance of the week, rising by 9.8% to TND 15.700, in a flow of TND 83 thousand.

Amen Bank shares were among the week’s biggest winners, up by 7.2% to TND 39.500, generating a substantial volume of TND 5.8 over the week as a whole.

Monoprix shares were the worst performers, down by 6.1% to TND 5,000, with tra
ding volume of just TND 5,000.

Amassing TND 9.7 million, the DELICE HOLDING shares were the most heavily traded during the week, accounting for 29.1% of the volume traded on the market.

//Market news//

Société Tunisienne de Banque (STB) released its financial statements for 2023.

At the end of the year, the bank’s consolidated accounts showed a -1.9% fall in net banking income to TND 714.7 million. The cost of risk was up 12.3%, from TND 203.9 million to TND 228.9 million.

Group share of net profit fell by 48.6% in 2023, from TND 99.7 million to TND 51.2 million.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

CONECT and ATUGE sign partnership agreement

The Confederation of Citizen Enterprises of Tunisia (CONECT) and the «Association des Tunisiens des Grandes Ecoles» (ATUGE) signed a partnership agreement to benefit from networking and synergy of their structures and activities in order to better serve common themes, support businesses, investment and private initiative.

The goal is to develop the economic and social fabric of the country as well as promote education, innovation, inclusion, regional development, and corporate social responsibility, reads a statement of CONECT on Friday.

The two parties expressed commitment to mobilize Tunisians abroad so that they consolidate their economic, social and cultural ties with the homeland and promote Tunisia as a destination for investments.

An action plan will be developed by the structures of the two partners, in Tunisia and abroad, and working groups will be set up, with a view to achieving the expected objectives.

CONECT will be associated as an institutional partner of ATUGE with the Diaspora Summer Net
working scheduled for July 31 and the Tunisia Global Forum in Tunis scheduled for July 23.

Both CONECT and ATUGE are planning to organize in collaboration with other local partners as part of the Diaspora Month scheduled from July 15 to August 15, networking events across Tunisia so as to promote the involvement of the Diaspora in economic development and the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in various regions nationwide.

ATUGE will support the economic missions of CONECT Internationale by fostering networking between Tunisian delegations and Tunisian expatriates, through the World Alliance of Tunisian Talents (WATT alliance).

ATUGE will also contribute to CONECT’s flagship programmes, including the CSR Conference and the MIQYES surveys.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunindex closes Friday’s session up 0.6%

Tunindex closed Friday’s session up 0.6% to 9,177.8 points with a modest volume of TND 4.3 million, said broker Tunisie Valeurs.

CELLCOM shares were the best performers, posting a 4.4% rise to TND 1.880 with a low volume of TND 2,000.

Tunisie Leasing and Factoring shares edged up 4.4% to TND 14.830, generating TND 12,000.

BIAT shares were the most traded, rising by 0.5% to TND 91.500 and feeding the market with a capital of TND 671,000 (16% of the session’s traded volume).

SOTETEL shares fell by 4.5% to TND 5.050, drawing TND 119,000.

TELNET Holding also dropped by 3.5% to TND 5.300, with a volume of TND 10,000.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Regional Employment Days: 2,700 confirmed job opportunities in tourism

There is a total of 2,700 confirmed job opportunities in a number of governorates, the Tourism and Handicrafts, and Vocational Training and Employment ministries said, ahead of the regional employment days in the tourism sector in Hammamet (May 23), Monastir (May 23), Sousse (May 24) and Djerba (May 27).

Confirmed job opportunities are available in the governorates of Nabeul, Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia and Medenine such specialities such as reception, administrative functions, cooking, horticulture, pastry-making, catering, maintenance, childcare, cleaning, etc, reads a joint press release.

The National Agency for Employment and Self-employment (French: ANETI) is organising, in partnership with regional hotel federations and the Swiss Contact organisation, regional employment days in Nabeul, Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia and Medenine so as to meet the tourism industry’s needs in skilled labour.

The event also aims to help job-seekers gain access to available jobs and have one-to-one job interviews with business

Owners of tourism facilities expressed willingness to provide around 10,800 jobs, according to a survey carried out on March 15-April 15.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Olive oil export revenues up 91.4% at end of April 2024

Revenues generated by Tunisian olive oil exports have picked up to TND 3,436.1 million as of the end of April 2024, according to the National Agricultural Observatory (ONAGRI).

This marks a remarkable 91.4% increase over the first six months of the 2023/24 campaign compared to the same period in the 2022/23 campaign.

In terms of volume, Tunisian olive oil exports have seen a noticeable rise of 11.5%, reaching 128,700 tonnes.

This higher export revenues have been driven by a 71.7% surge in the average olive oil price, from TND 15.55/kg to TND 26.71 /kg, said ONAGRI.

Regarding organic olive oil exports, they have reached 29,446 tonnes valued at TND 795 million, with an average price of TND 27/kg.

Their share in Tunisia’s overall olive oil exports stands at 23% and 23.1% in terms of quantity and value, respectively.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Preparatory phase of 2024 General Population and Housing Census to be launched May 20

Works of the preparatory phase of the 2024 General Population and Housing Census will be launched on May 20, Economy and Planning Minister Feryal Ouerghi announced.

This census marks a qualitative leap in the statistics system as the various phases will be carried out digitally, she said on Friday at the first meeting of the national commission in charge of the 2024 general population and housing census.

This method will improve the quality of collected data and ensure the use and publication of data as quickly as possible, she added. The adopted methodological approach will also guarantee compliance with international standards.

Considering the importance of this census carried out by the State, the minister said, it is imperative to mobilise human and financial resources, increase the efforts of ministries and State institutions as well as regional and local authorities and civil society, and cooperate with specialised international organisations.

This operation will help update data and enhance the s
tatistical system with new data adapted to developments in Tunisian society and the living conditions of families at the regional and local levels, she highlighted.

It will serve as a basis for household censuses scheduled in the near future, she added.

This census will also enhance the regional database. This is the only source of data used to distribute the population according to the different regional and local levels, in order to adopt regional development programmes and ensure balanced development between the different regions.

The National Institute of Statistics (French: INS) had been mandated in accordance with Decree No.183 of April 4, 2024, to carry out the census and set up regional and national committees. This decree stipulates that all conditions for the successful conduct of the census on the national, regional and local planes will be made available.

Digital technologies will be adopted in the 2024 census; they will help set up the first nucleus of a statistical household register with a
unified digital identifier followed by the setting up of a comprehensive national digital information system to help implement sustainable development policies.

The minister said Tunisia is committed to keeping pace with developments in the statistics field by using modern technologies pursuant to the recommendations of the United Nations.

The INS is one of the main statistical agencies that has adopted modern methods of data collection in connection to circumstantial and household economic surveys using digital tables and geographic information systems.

The General Population and Housing Census will be carried out in five main stages, namely the methodology, methods, legal framework and budget approval phase, the survey-taking experience phase and the pre-survey phase, the actual census phase, the post-survey phase, and finally the use and release of the results.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

2024 General Population and Housing Census to cost TND 89 million (INS)

The 2024 General Population and Housing Census costs around TND 89 million, Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (INS) Bouzid Nsiri said on Friday, pointing out that the budget needed to conduct this census is being raised, while sector support is stepped up with a view to reducing these expenses.

Taking the floor at the 1st meeting of the National Commission of the General Population and Housing Census in Tunis, Nsiri said that officials will start the actual counting of the population next November or December. This operation will last 45 days and November 6 will be the reference day for this census, he estimated.

This is the 13th general census to be conducted in Tunisia in the space of a hundred years, since the 1st census in 1921. It will cover 4.2 million premises and dwellings and 3 million 350 thousand families.

The pre-census phase will kick off on May 20 and will cover buildings, premises and dwellings.

New technologies and digital tablets will be used in carrying out the ce
nsus operation, in addition to the geographical information system to obtain accurate and comprehensive data, thereby helping identify a valid database, which will be used in the 2026-2030 strategic development plan, and to conduct the periodic surveys drawn up by the INS, he underlined.

The use of new techniques will help speed up the use of census data and to publish it in just few months, instead of spending a long time carrying out manual counting.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

First International Days of Generics and Biosimilars start in Tunis

Works of the First International Days of Generics and Biosimilars began Friday in Tunis.

The two-day event, held for the first time in Tunisia on the initiative of the Tunisian Association of Generic Medicines (French: ATMG), bring together physicians, pharmacists, various health professionals and teachers in the faculties of medicine and pharmacy. This in addition to representatives of trade unions , acdemic societies, public institutions as well as national and international pharamceutical firmsques.

Health Minister Ali Mrabet said generics and biosimilars are a key pilar in the therapeutic arsenal and encouraged their use within statutory and administrative limits.

The event will help foster the use of generics and biosimilars which will contribute to generating gains for public health and health economics.

The use of generics and biosimilars fits within the national pharmaceutical strategy to secure the availability of medicines, mainly for people witjh chronic conditions.

The COVID-19 crisis u
nveiled the need to promote local production of medicines to ensure their availability, the minister added.

As part of the national pharmaceutical strategy, Ali Mrabet said, a national medicines agency was established recently; its implementing legislation is in the pipeline.

“The deadline to grant marketing authorisatinos will be minimised to one year so as to promote the production of medications in Tunisia, he further said.

ATMG President Kamel Idir said the generics policy is a main challenge in the evolution of healthcare systems.

Idir said generics and biosimilars offer the same therapeutic benefits and safety gurantees as the originator drugs but at lower costs.

Idir said lecturers from Africa, Arab countries, Europe and Asia will run debates on such topics as the state of affairs of the relevant legislation, requirements from raw materials to finished products, teaching using International Nonproprietary Names , AI and cooperation towards integration in Africa.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Pres

Over 20% drugs manufactured in Tunisia, exported

Over 20% of the drugs manufactured in Tunisia are exported to several countries, including Libya, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Director General of the Healthcare Services Investment Promotion Unit at the Health Ministry Nadia Fenina said on Friday.

The value of these exports varies between TND 250 and 300 million, she told the media on the sidelines of the 1st International Days of Generic Medicines and Biosimilars held in Tunis.

“The goal is to reach TND 1,400 million within four years,” she indicated.

Fenina pointed out that this goal had been set based on the results of a strategic study, which had shown that it would be possible to promote exports of medicines by implementing a number of measures, such as shortening the time it takes to obtain marketing authorisation (MA), adjusting prices and stepping up communication.

Most of the drugs produced in Tunisia are generics (70% of which are used in transactions) and biosimilars, which are also exported, she underlined.

Tunisia has th
e necessary know-how and skills to step up investment and exports in the pharmaceutical sector, she underlined.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia, Oman discuss ways to scale up cooperation in family-related fields

Ways to scale up cooperation between Tunisia and the Sultanate of Oman in the family and women’s sectors, notably with regard to economic and social empowerment and combating violence against women, took centre stage at a working session held on Friday between Minister of Family, Women, Children and the Elderly Amel Belhaj Moussa and Oman’s Minister of Social Development Laila Al-Najjar.

Both ministers affirmed willingness to increase cooperation fields, share experiences and expertise and make the most of national initiatives adopted in these fields in the two countries, reads a ministry press release.

Tunisia prioritises enhancing women’s and families’ economic contribution to development and wealth creation, Belhaj Moussa pointed out, indicating that the State’s social policy focuses on fostering women’s entrepreneurial spirit and the social empowerment of categories with special needs.

For her part, Al-Najjar commended the diversity of mechanisms and programmes implemented in Tunisia in fields related
to the women’s economic and social empowerment and economic and social rights of families and women, pointing out in this regard, the importance of Law No.58 on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the various mechanisms adopted by Tunisia to provide care for victims of violence.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse