Tunis/Tunisia — Tunisia can, through the development of its economic relations with Djibouti, gain access to the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Ethiopia and Somalia, said President of the Tuniso-African Business Council, Bassem Loukil, on the occasion of the opening of the Tunisian-Djibouti business forum, held Thursday in Tunis.
Loukil said that Djibouti represents a platform for any company wishing to invest in the Ethiopian market of 100 million people, in order to carry out financial and logistical operations, especially since Djibouti has the largest ports in the world which ensure the transfer of goods to Ethiopia and Somalia.
He emphasised the need to develop coordination with the national carrier Tunisair and the Tunisian Navigation Company (CTN) to make the most of the Tunisian-Djiboutian cooperation.
The volume of trade between Tunisia and Djibouti remains, he said, low with 70 Million Dinars (MD), in 2017, underlining the will to reach 300 MD, over the next two years.
As for the number of Djiboutian businessmen who visited Tunisia in 2018, Loukil specified, has increased fivefold compared to 2017.
He reminded the orientation, since last year, of the Tunisian companies towards industrialisation and semi-industrialisation as well as the creation of projects in the sectors of transport, energy, agri-food and the building materials.
He stressed the need to take advantage of cooperation with Djibouti to boost Tunisian investment in Ethiopia, which has grown by 9.5% over the last five years, particularly in the education, health and new technologies sectors.
In turn, President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), pointed out that the forum is a real opportunity for operators in both countries to discuss and define together the priorities of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, in order to make it a model of shared economic prosperity, focusing on creating value and jobs.
Tunisia and Djibouti, said UTICA president, thanks to the assets they have, must find the means to develop a win-win partnership in terms of investment and trade. They must overcome the distances that separate them and create value chains capable of conquering new markets.