1 The Roundtable entitled “Investing for positive impact on Women in Africa”, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce of Tunisia with The ‘Chambre Nationale des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises’ (CNFCE), was held on February 5th, 2020, in Tunis.
2 The session coincided with the Prosper Africa Opening Conference taking place on the 6th that gathered actors from the U.S. & African public and private sector to facilitate bi-lateral trade between the U.S. and the countries of Africa.
3 The objective of the round table was to bring together American & African Public and Private sector female leaders to discuss good practices and experiences in promoting gender parity through gender lens investing
4 Considering the global gender gap in access to the labor market, the MENA region is still quite behind for women at 17% female compared to males at 65% in 2018, regional specific awareness can shine a light on how to target issues accordingly.
5 The 2015 McKinsey Global Institute Report reveals that if the gender gap were closed, the MENA region would have $2.7 trillion of additional GDP in 2025 with Sub Saharan Africa looking to gain $0.3 to $0.7 trillion.
6 The types of organizations that investors should consider to positively impact gender parity:
Companies that support workplace gender equality
Businesses led by women
Companies that promote equality through their products or services
7 Equal opportunity rightly finds its role as Sustainable Development Goal number 5 of 17 put forth by the United Nations in a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development
SDG 5 – To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
8 IRIS Gender Investment Lens Metrics:
By the Global Impact Investing Network
1 Anti Discrimination Policies
2 Gender Wage Equity
3 Board Diversity
4 Number of Female Employees Promoted
5 Number of Female Founders
6 Number of Female Full-time Employees
7 Number of Full-time Female Managers
8 Gender Ratio of Promotions
9 Products Targeted to Women
9 Summary of Recommendations made during Round table discussions:
Conducive legal environment
Continually working towards legislative changes across the continent that support gender equality is one of the first steps that should be taken in the journey to achieving equality.
Skills and Competencies Development
Survival and growth depend on access and education to utilize a full range of entrepreneurial training necessary to thrive in their environment.
Access to financing
Knowledge of where to find investment, access to funders by their distance, societal approachability, linguistic communication barriers, and assistance through the process.
Supporting women working in male dominated sectors
Women currently working in or entering into a traditionally male dominated sector flourish when awareness and social support systems are in place.
Long term supportive lending
Utilizing a different, long term, mentorship like approach to investing encourages women to keep them on a path to grow into their fullest potential.
Foster Female Communities of Entrepreneurs
Communities build, fail, and rebuild together. When social norms have not yet changed in many areas in regard to women in business, finding like minded support is crucial.
The model sees continued success on the continent because of its holistic consideration of the borrowers. They often allow for the first stages of a business to become a reality.
Change the language
Instead of being seen as a women’s issue, gender parity should be viewed as a business issue because of the proven gains to attained with adapting equality.
Tunisia, February 6th, 2020, The U.S. Embassy and American Chamber of Commerce of Tunisia assisted in organizing the Prosper Africa opening conference, bringing together representatives of the initiative itself, African and American companies and trade organizations, partner banks, and investors along with some of the 15 U.S. government agencies involved in Prosper Africa to advance the dialogue between the participants, and introduce the components of the new 60 billion dollar framework that looks to facilitate bi-lateral trade between the U.S. and African private sectors.
After the opening remarks from the U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia, David Blome, Acting Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce, Joseph Semsar, CEO of United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu, and the Head of Government of Tunisia, H.E. Youssef Chahed, commenced the MOU signing ceremony for a new agreement between the U.S. Government and the United Bank for Africa.
Conference panels covered the landscape of Pan-Africa trade & investment opportunities, supporting U.S. Government tools to be implemented, and the role of USG agencies. Presentations included Governance and Policy, Investing in Innovation, Power Generation and Distribution, Agri-business, and highlighting Tunisia’s role as a gateway to Africa.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia’s Elective General Assembly, held on Thursday, January 16th 2020 at Laico Hotel, chaired by Mr. Naceur Hidoussi , AmCham Tunisia’s President.
Mr. Naceur Hidoussi chaired the session and welcomed all the members present and announced the opening of the session.
Ms. Rym Bedoui Ayari , Vice President of AmCham , presented the Activity Report of the previous mandate.
She then gave the floor to Mr. Adel Chaabane AmCham’s treasurer , to present the Financial Report.
The representative of Price Waterhouse Cooper, Mr. Fares Bejaoui presented the audit Report.
Mr. Aissa Miller took the floor and announced the beginning of the voting process of electing the new Board.
Following the counting of the votes , under the provisions of the Chamber’s statutes and rules of procedure, the Election oversight Committee announced the members elected by the General Assembly as members to the Board as follows:
The goal of this conference is to promote two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. By bringing together the USG, investors, corporate executives and other private sector representatives from the United States and Africa, the venue will showcase the Prosper Africa initiative and inform participants about the tools and support that the USG can provide to accelerate deals and transactions between U.S. and African companies.
This includes how Prosper Africa’s “Deal Teams” work to support foreign trade and investment. The event will also provide an opportunity to highlight Tunisia’s potential as a destination for investment and as a trade partner. Finally, the event will serve as a business-to-business forum to match projects to investment capital and new technologies and to facilitate partnerships.
Accelerating African Trade – The “Eco” of Liberalization
Africa, including the former French West African colonies, continues on promoting barrier free Pan African trade. Facilitating open trade and a common currency accelerates opportunities for the world’s fastest growing continent to prosper. Positive steps to increase African investment by releasing African reserves from the stewardship and use by French Treasury were announced this week by President Marcon. Simply put, as proposed, previously sequestered funds are now available for direct African investment. The proposed decommissioning of the French-linked West African CFA franc was also announced with the endorsement of the “Eco” as the replacement currency. One expected positive outcome of liberalization is continuation of promoting a common currency, opening pan -African trade and accelerating trade flows.
Africa Trade Alliances – The World’s Largest since the World Trade Organization
Parallel paths to promote African autonomy continue with regional trade alliances. Countering global trends towards nationalization, North Africa including Tunisia, increasingly unite as trade partners. The West African Economic and Monetary Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) minimize trade barriers and harmonize customs practices. English and French speaking Africa links formalized in March 2019 with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – the world’s largest since the 1994 World Trade Organization. As perspective COMESA, similarly with its 21-nation membership serves 560 million people links Tunisia, Egypt and Madagascar improving the focus on Technology and Biotech developments.
Gateway into Global Markets – Tunisia
Boosting inter-regional and global trade frameworks is constructive of the continent. Unleashing Africa’s long-stymied economic potential strengthen supply chains and spread shared expertise is both aspirational and realistic. Increased Pan-African trade flows increasingly funneled into Europe and the United States from gateway countries like North Africa led by Tunisia, are irreversible. The Tunisian and otherAmerican Chamber of Commerce actions, guide export expansion, ratify opportunities for Pan African business and trade-linked profitably – gradually erasing the shadow of a colonial past.
AmCham continues its policy advocacy in alignment with national goals to promote energy independence. In a proactive engagement with key private and public stakeholders, AmCham initiated a series of informational and strategy sessions. Meetings held in May created an action-oriented agenda for the advanced 2019 Joint Economic Commission (JEC2) and “Door Knock” dialogue led by Mr. Naceur Hidoussi AmCham’s senior leaders and the American Congressional delegation in Washington, DC. A February 2020 update session chaired by AmCham Board Member Rym Bedoui Ayari will track progress from the Spring 2019 discussions in a dynamic industry implementation round table on both energy and climate change issues.
Promoting renewable and alternative energy solutions with an added focus on climate change, remains an AmCham priority. Tunisian increasing energy dependency is reflected in the INS Data below. AmCham continues to track the Government’s proactive agenda committed to in the Spring AmCham session designed to facilitate licensing for new alternative energy projects designed to accelerate the availably of new capacity. AmCham’s actions in securing these Government initiatives, align well with the Tunisian Energy Reform Plan. TAP/Banet (October 22) cited Tunisia’s Energy Reform Plan is essential to easing the country’s budget and trade balance constraints along with the removal of energy subsidies.
“An alternative energy project could be operational as soon as installation is complete”.
AmCham’s pre- Door Knock and JEC2 Advocacy and Government of Tunisia dialogue resulted in a commitment to the following action items:
Ministries (Industry/Energy) will develop transparent online processes for both Investors and administrators in Alternative Energy projects
Installation and operational time will be accelerated by more timely government oversight of required technical equipment installation
Government oversight of the installation of the energy “ticker/counter” device essential to linking alternative power sources to the grid could be pre-approved with pre-ordered
Shifting Geo-Political Risks – Tunisian Energy Dependency (2010 -2019)
Babnet/Tap (Oct 22) reported in 2018, the total amount of subsidies exceeded 7% of the state budget, in addition to hydrocarbon imports which accounted for one-third of the trade deficit. AmCham notes Tunisian exposure to geo-political risks and related energy dependencies increased as illustrated below.
Imports from the EU (Chart 1) have increased post-revolution reflecting decreased supply from the region (i.e. political/social volatility in Libya and a lesser extent Algeria)
The EU, specifically Italy may source energy from region thus Tunisia’s Central Bank reserve positions are increasingly exposed to both USD and Euro depreciation/appreciation trends.
Imports from the US have remained relatively stable
Olive Art Plus, based in Sfax, transforms natural repurposed olive wood into high quality unique pieces of olive art for both the table and uniquely artesian decorations. Best sellers domestically and now internationally, include salad bowls; fruit trays; cutting boards and modestly priced hand crafted salad tossing spoon/fork sets.
Rare craftmanship preserved and promoted by the Olive Art enterprise, celebrate both innate Tunisian cultural talent and development of sustainable environmentally “friendly” craft work. Friendly, efficient and warm customer service is as important as maintaining first class artesian quality.
AmCham’s Export Lab project helped create the Olive Art success story. “One on one” coaching engaged both local consultants international experts. An action oriented strategy resulted in Olive Art’s first of many United States sales – attracting a well-known distributor of high end household items. Now with Miami, Florida and British based sales platforms, Olive Art’s products benefit from an international and profitable distribution channel.
Olive Art’s future is bright. Export Lab’s expertise and Olive Art’s diligence now feature Tunisian craftsmanship at its best in international fairs and food shows. New York Now, Atlanta Fair, Tokyo Fair, Ambiente represent only a few of Olive Art’s new highly visible promotional partners – prompting global access to one small but exciting outcome of Tunisian artisan excellence.
The AmCham Women in Tech session 21 October co-sponsored with US Embassy and Chamber Nationale de Femmes Chefs d’Enterprises, resulted in a new strategy for the AmCham Board to consider. OneTech, a prominent AmCham member and several women owned enterprises led the robust discussion. The corporate productivity benefits of more inclusive ‘gender balanced’ hiring and brining women into more senior management roles was the key theme.
Productivity Considerations for Tunisian and American Businesses
Almost 100 participants engaged in the dialogue which reference recent research by both McKinsey and the work Bank. Some estimates suggest that productive increases by almost 60% when enterprises actively engage more women especially at the C Suite and Board level. Both American and Tunisian firms serve to benefit by taking more pro-active policy measures in promoting broader women and minority participation.
Promoting Tunisian Expertise and Job Growth
Women in Tech and the development of FinTech can and do create new job opportunities. Tunisian women are highly educated in tech jobs but may be underutilized unless they are trained ‘soft skills’ to compete and access sustainable careers. AmCham Board will consider ACTIONABLE remediation opportunities.
Overall regional bright spots and commitment to pan-African free trade agreements are expected to positively bolster Tunisia’s resiliency. International perspectives support an optimistic outlook for continued regional growth. Moody’s Inside Africa, (October 2019)cite Egypt’s rate cut and easing inflation as supporting bank revenue and economic growth. Recent actions by the Central Bank of Morocco, are also viewed by Moody’s as positive for the Moroccan banking sector and by implication, Moroccan ownership interests in the Tunisian financial sector.
Trade alliances for Tunisia, North Africa, and the continent are positively recognized by AmCham Tunisia, although remaining neutral on recent political developments. Fitch’s Africa Monitor (November Edition 2019), highlights Tunisia’s “challenging policy environment” post-election, coupled with a “stormier global environment”. For Africa generally, Fitch Solution reports strengthening of trade agreements including the May 2019 African Continental Free-Trade Area — the world’s largest free-trade zone. Economic and trade integration for Africa are expected to promote higher growth and create new investment opportunities. This is good news for the investment community. Tunisia trade and investment benefit from its entry into COMESA last year and, as announced at the September meeting, it’s proposed entry by year end 2019 to the COMESA Free Trade Area.
KATIA SAYARI is specialized in Glassware and Glass Decoration. She is based in Tunis with a workshop in the artisanal village of Denden since 2002. Her showroom in Denden is a picture of her artistic expression. Glass is displayed in all its splendour and panoply of forms and patterns.
Her inspiration comes from nature and Tunisia, and this is reflected in her creations. The artistic touch of Katia, her mastery of a rare and exceptional know-how, her creation and her ability to move with market trends has helped her develop a presence in both the local and international markets. She joined Amcham’s Export Lab program in February 2018, and benefited from assistance and coaching.
The Export Lab offered Katia the opportunity to export her products to difficult-to-access markets such as the United States and Japan. She has been successful supplying several deliveries to the United States while satisfying her customers and she is working on strengthening her partnership with her Japanese customers. Ambitious and determined, Katia still intends to expand the business by investing in new ranges and collections.
La Section Commerciale de l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis à Tunis a le plaisir de vous informer de l’organisation d’une délégation d’hommes d’affaires tunisiens pour visiter le Pavillon Américain au Salon PowerGen Europe 2019 (dédié aux technologie de la production d’électricité) https://www.powergeneurope.com/welcome qui se tiendra à Paris en France du 12 au 14 Novembre 2019.
PowerGen Europe est reconnu comme le lieu de rencontre annuel de la communauté mondiale des technologies de production d’électricité. Le Salon continue de reconnaître le rôle essentiel que joue la production flexible dans la transition énergétique et les tendances en faveur de la production décentralisée, ce qui en fait la plaque tournante d’échanges d’expériences, de technologies, et d’opportunités commerciales.
Pour la première fois cette année, le salon PowerGen 2019 sera co-localisé avec European Utility Week, ce qui constitue une opportunité unique pour tout savoir sur les technologies de la transition énergétique. Les thèmes ont été spécialement choisis pour que les praticiens du secteur soient en mesure de s’adapter à l’évolution rapide du secteur de l’énergie, notamment des thèmes tels que la production décentralisée, les turbines à gaz, et la gestion du cycle de vie.
PowerGen aura la participation des principaux producteurs d’électricité, des services publics, des gouvernements, et des fournisseurs de solutions. Que vous vous concentriez sur l’optimisation des actifs existants, l’exploration de nouvelles opportunités ou le développement de nouvelles entreprises basées sur les technologies numériques dans l’énergie et l’électricité, PowerGen vous assurera de rester à la pointe du secteur.
Produits, équipements, technologies, et exposants :
PowerGen 2019 attire les décideurs et les donneurs d’ordre de milliers d’entreprises internationales, notamment les chefs d’entreprises, ingénieurs, développeurs, producteurs d’électricité public et privé, fabricants, et experts dans un large éventail d’équipement et technologies :
Turbines à gaz
Solutions off-grid et hybrides
Solutions et technologies des énergies renouvelables
Générateurs et pompes hydrauliques
Générateurs de vapeur à récupération de chaleur / Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG)
Unités de production combinée de chaleur et d’électricité / Combined Heat and Power Units (CHP)