Ambassador Joey Hood received a warm welcome on March 1st from AmCham Board Members & US Companies established in Tunisia. Ambassador Hood and AmCham members discussed avenues to strengthen U.S. investment in Tunisia, enhance the bilateral trade partnership, and bolster Tunisians’ economic opportunities.
AmCham Tunisia & Tunisian Investment Authority (TIA) organized a Webinar on Prosper Africa on December 15th. About 86 participants from Tunisia as well as other African countries, and from the USA attended the event.
Speakers of this Webinar : * Mr.Naceur Hidoussi, President AmCham Tunisia * Mr. Beligh Ben Soltane, Chairman, Tunisia Investment Authority * Ambassadeur Riadh Essid, Directeur Général Amérique-Asie-Océanie (DGAA) * Mr.John Hansen, Senior Advisor for Transactions, Prosper Africa Executive Secretariat, Washington DC, USA * Mrs. Rym Bedoui Ayari, VP, AmCham Tunisia, Moderator
The webinar featured a presentation of TIA services to support extensions and or new US investments in Tunisia. Amcham highlighted the importance of the Prosper Africa initiative for the US investment and trade flow in the country and the region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussed the opportunities provided to US private sector in the continent’s free trade areas such as AfCFTA and pursuing negotiations on FTA.
Prosper Africa coordinator, John Hansan shared a presentation on the initiative (click on link).
Bellow how to submit your project:
Prosper Africa POC — ProsperAfrica@usaid.gov. Interested companies can use this email to submit Prosper Africa candidate projects, which goes to our expert team in Washington. Companies can cc Luis and me for awareness, but the Washington-based team is best-suited to evaluate proposals and respond to project questions.
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.
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.
A high profile reception took place on Friday June 21st , 2019 to celebrate AmCham Tunisia’s Anniversary.
AmCham Tunisia’s 30th Anniversary reception was hosted and held at the Laico Hotel Tunis in a glamorous atmosphere surrounded with Jazz music. The celebration brought together nearly 250 high-level guests and witnessed the presence of H. E. Mr. Donald Blome, the US Ambassador in Tunisia, many Tunisian Politicians, high government officials, foreign embassy representatives as well as AmCham Tunisia members and friends.
Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of Mr.Naceur Hidoussi, AmCham Tunisia President, who warmly thanked AmCham Tunisia Members, friends, staff and sponsors for sharing these special moments and for their continuous support. Mr.Hidoussi said that “Over the past 30 years, working on a nonprofit activity basis, yet on a very professional level, AmCham Tunisia has organized successful events on ongoing economic, business, financial, educational and societal topics.”
AmCham Tunisia’s 30th Anniversary Celebration was sponsored by Group AL Badr, STB, IMI, Jansen & Jansen, Laico Hotel & Université Centrale.
As part of its Export Lab project funded by MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative, State Department) AmCham Tunisia organized an event on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Laico Hotel Tunis dedicated to the launch of the online sales platform www. Souktunis.com whose main objective is the development of Tunisian exports in the agri-food, craft and digital sectors to the United States.
Present at this event were the 45 companies selected by the project as well as members of AmCham and representatives of different ministries and organizations.
AmCham Tunisia organized a conference on October 31st at Laico Hotel Tunis in presence of AmCham members & friends, under the theme “Cloud Computing”. The keynote speaker was Mr.Albert Sanders, Manager Global Public Policy Strategy for Google Cloud and former Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama at the White House.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia (AmCham Tunisia) organized in collaboration with Philip Morris International on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at Le Paris Hotel Berges du Lac a conference under the theme “fight against illegal trade”. During this event, the results of the Illicit Trade Environment Index were presented. The two experts Stefano Betti from Tracit and Chris Clague from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), presented the data on Tunisia and proposed recommendations to combat the phenomenon of illegal trade in Tunisia. Were present in this event AmCham Board members, members & friends.
Tracit commissioned EIU to produce the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index, which assesses the structural capacity of 84 countries to effectively protect themselves against illicit trade, highlighting strengths and weaknesses 25 political, legal, regulatory, economic, commercial, institutional and cultural indicators. The results are intended to help policymakers better understand the regulatory environment and economic circumstances that promote illicit trade, to identify areas that deserve greater attention and to formulate strategies to address the serious threats posed by unlawful trade, stress the two keynote speakers.
According to this index, Tunisia ranks 53rd, with a score of 56 points out of 100. The same report establishes that the informal economy in Tunisia represents 35.5% of the Tunisian GDP, with 1.1 million people who work there, 32% of the active population. 30% of the products consumed in Tunisia would come from this economy (fuel, tobacco, alcohol, etc.).
Differences in levels of government subsidies on both sides of the border, as well as different tax regimes, have been the main drivers of this informal trade. This results in a significant loss of public revenue for the state, in addition to unfair competition in the formal sector, as legitimate businesses are no longer able to compete with smugglers. These products can have a detrimental impact on the health of the consumer. In addition, all this discourages foreign investment coming to settle in the country. Worse still, and given its links to organized crime, illicit trade can create greater risks to national and regional security.
They believe that Tunisia must continue to make efforts to combat illegal trade until the origin of the phenomenon is targeted and the problem solved. They are aware that there are no miracle recipes that it is not easy to find the right solutions and especially to implement them, especially since the economic systems based on smuggling constitute for certain cross-border regions, the main source of employment.
Illicit trade is a scourge that plagues nations. Tunisia is no exception, and given the particular conditions it faces, it must multiply efforts especially with the risks it incurs.