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Tunisia: Major Real Estate Projects Still 'Mere Ink on Paper'

Tunisia: Major Real Estate Projects Still 'Mere Ink on Paper'

Sunday, 17 December, 2017 - 09:45
Tourists poses for picture in downtown Tunis, Tunisia, August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi. Reuters

The Tunisian government and its partners of investors in the Gulf are looking for solutions to resume some of the major investment projects that have been put on hold after being hampered in 2011 due to political unrest.

Over the past years, theTunisia Economic City project has not been implemented, though the official announcement of the project took place on 9 September 2014, in the presence of the former President of the Tunisian Parliament and many Arab and international personalities, with the participation of more than 100 international companies contributing to the project from about 30 countries.

The Tunisia Economic City project is estimated to cost about $50 billion and has the potential to provide about 250,000 jobs to serve the Tunisian talents and skills.

Dr. Riadh Toukabri, President and Founder of Tunisia Economic City, stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the project financiers have so far spent about 5 years negotiating with the Tunisian government and have suggested that they be partners in the project. But a group of economic advisers to the prime minister objected to limiting the development work of the project in one area, which is Enfidha, a town in north-eastern Tunisia.

Toukabri believes that the advisers' vision is practically impossible to implement because the project is linked to a number of preliminary studies that the Tunisian government had previously approved.

He added that if the project was implemented, it will have positive repercussions on the country's economy by linking the markets of Africa and Europe.

With such huge projects, Tunisia aims to achieve a growth rate of over 6 percent and to raise the level of per capita income to 5.7 billion dinars, as well as providing 412 thousand jobs between 2016 and 2020.

The foreign investments flowing to Tunisia have increased during 10 months of 2017 by about 11.7 percent, compared to the same period last year, reaching 1.7 billion dinars (about 722 million US dollars).

However, the industrial sector remains the strongest in attracting foreign direct investment to Tunisia, where it acquired the largest share of the investments in 2017, with investments worth 739 million dinars.

Tunisia needs to attract investments to reduce relatively high unemployment rates, which reached 15.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017, where it is the highest among young people.

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