The government of China is set to sign an agreement establishing three new development projects with the government of Tunisia tomorrow, according to Hedi Ben Abbes, the Secretary of State for the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Americas and Asian division.
The first project will be the development of a university hospital in Sfax, a coastal city located 270 kilometers southeast of Tunis.
The second project will provide the lighting of marinas through the installation of solar panels along Tunisian ports.
The third project consists of setting up shrimp farms in the Tunisian Mediterranean Sea.
Ben Abbes explained that a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry will visit Tunis tomorrow for the signing of the agreement. "The university hospital will most likely be built in Sfax, since the School of Medicine is already there."
"The second project will illuminate marine ports all over the country," Ben Abbes explained, citing the solar energy project.
The third project consists of raising shrimp in Tunisian seas, since shrimping is a Chinese specialty and Tunisia needs expertise in order to further develop the field. Ben Abbes added that the headquarters of the third project is still under discussion and will be decided soon by the government.
A Chinese delegation visited Beja yesterday. Beja is an interior town 105 kilometers from Tunis. The delegation donated 1.8 million dinars to support the health sector in the region. "The visit of the Chinese delegation aims at improving bilateral relations between the two countries and to support the Tunisian revolution. Beja is considered a poor town that is in great need of development," Ben Abbes added.
According to the new agreement signed, the Tunisian Government will be providing land for a new hospital while the Chinese will construct the building and send Chinese doctors to work in the hospital.
Locals of Beja expressed a strong desire for improvement of the local health services. Mohamed Hedi Zaafran, a graduate student from Beja, said that the local hospital suffers from a shortage in both human resources and medical equipment, "locals of Beja do not get good medical treatement because of the lack of human resources and medical supplies."
Yassine Adouani, another local of Beja said that people have to go to hospitals in Tunis, the capital, in order to receive medical treatment. "One of my friends had a work related accident and he could not be treated at the local hospital so he had to be transferred to the hospital in Tunis, but he died on the way there," he lamented.
Alaa Twihri, a nurse at the hospital of Beja, said that the hospital lacks equipment as well as human resources. "Patients suffered a lot due to our short staff and limited funding, I really hope that the health sector in Beja improves with the new assistance because this is vital for the people of Beja."
Ben Abbes further added that a group of Libyan investors also visited Beja yesterday. "The Libyan investors want to invest in the agricultural sector because the land is fertile and perfect for cultivation. They want to export to Libya and support the Tunisian economy," he stated.
"Security and stability have to be established in Tunisia in order for investors to invest in our country, the government is working hard in order to achieve that," Ben Abbes concluded.