Sunday, February 17, 2019



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Jeune Afrique had recently announced that Prime Minister Youssef Chahed would leave the Kasbah Palace next March to devote himself solely to the 2019 electoral race.

Then the collaborators had quickly denied. In any case it is a matter of time, Chahed will have, and even quickly enough, wind up his function as Prime Minister to organize his political future, which no one can do for him.

His supporters may be full of energy, full of good will and eager to fight but they cannot do everything in its place.

He’ll have to stick to it, get down on the ground, wet the shirt and put his hand in grease.

Difficult days and many sleepless nights are predicted for him, but it is so in all democracies.

We have not invented anything else from this point of view. What his supporters did, that is to say, prepare to him the electoral costume in which he has only to slip is very good, but it has its limits.

With the means of the state, so what?!

Chahed for the moment remains in the relatively reassuring atmosphere of the Kasbah – he begins to know her well! – And the cheque he has just signed to the UGTT guarantees him a few months of calm … until July 2019.

His current position has two major advantages: it offers him a shield in so far as he is not obliged to reply to shots, which are already fired. He will always be able to argue, and this is not false, that he is in business, in the interest of the country, and that he is not yet in the political arena.

Therefore, he does not have to spend his energy on anything other than that. But Chahed will not be able to use and abuse it too long.

The other advantage of the Kasbah is that it allows Chahed to campaign at lower costs, since it is with the infinitely more powerful means of the state.

And what the Prime Minister says and does for people’s happiness is also what the electoral candidate does.

Indeed, the citizens-voters necessarily remember when he comes back but this time in his “Tahia Tounes” leader costume.

This has the gift of annoying his opponents, but it is so everywhere in the world. This explains the deafening silence of the political class, especially its opponents, when Chahed cleared the ground by signing the cheque demanded by the UGTT to cancel the general

strike. We are already in the electoral sequence. It is certainly not his competitors who will congratulate the Prime Minister and give him valuable points for his “feat” with the main labor union. Do not dream!

It will take more, and Chahed knows it

In defense of those who remain silent after the agreement initialed by Noureddine Taboubi and Youssef Chahed, the latter did what the others would probably have done in his place to avoid a very expensive general strike, for the economy of the country and its image internationally: Pay.

Therefore, we must not see in this any feat, even if Chahed had the merit of resisting as he could, at least better than all his predecessors, except maybe Mehdi Jomaa.

Remains resolving the problem of the coffers that need to be bailed out and if possible without recourse to indebtedness and without diving immediately into a supplementary finance law, because watched by the opposing camp.

Tourism has recovered after lean years and there is a chance that the budget deficit will drop, a little, finally if the oil barrel does not play tricks this year. That’s about all for the right indicators. The battle of growth is far from won; the unemployment rate remains high, too high; the phosphate production has never really recovered and has just been paralyzed for the umpteenth time at Mdhilla, etc.

In short, construction sites are everywhere and Chahed knows that despite his good polls, he will have to beef up his record to consider with confidence the face-to-face with voters.

This explains why he will cling to the Kasbah as long as possible. When he makes a trip to France to bring back money, he is certainly the Prime Minister who works actively for the good of the country, but he is also the potential candidate in the elections who moves to expand his record.

His opponents are not dupes, and will be careful not to congratulate him on what he will reap. They are “missiles” that they prepare for him, and certainly not applause.

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    Tunisia and France, on Thursday, signed five co-operation agreements in the areas development, higher education, transport and health.

    The agreements were signed in Paris at the end of the second meeting of the Franco-Tunisian High Council for Co-operation co-chaired by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and his French counterpart Edouard Philippe and attended by a number of Tunisian and French ministers.

    They provide for the following:

    – Reconversion of Tunisia’s debts accumulated during the period 2002-2007,

    – Creation of a Franco-Tunisian University for Africa and the Mediterranean (UFTAM),

    – Co-operation in the field of international road transport of persons,

    – Financing by the French Development Agency (AFD) of the project to modernize the medical and health services in Sidi Bouzid.

    – Project to support the implementation of the national health program by digital means.

    Created under an agreement reached during a visit by President Beji Caïd Essebsi to France on April 7, 2015, the Franco-Tunisian High Council for Co-operation held its first meeting on October 6, 2017.

    Prime Minister Youssef Chahed is making an official visit to France from February 12 to 15

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      The commercial activity at the port of Sousse posted a growth of 17% in goods traffic in 2018 and 15% in the movement of freighters, compared to 2017, according to a document of the communication department of the governorate of Sousse.

      The freight traffic reached 2 million 672 thousand 826 tons, in 2018, against 2 million 293 thousand 625, a year earlier.

      During the same period, the commercial port recorded the entry of 748 ships, against 650 a year earlier and the receipt of 65,410 containers, against 43,762.

      The increase in commercial traffic at the port of Sousse had a positive impact on sales, which went up by 53%.

      According to the document of the governorate of Sousse, this rise in freight traffic and the movement of freighters is explained by several factors having contributed to the good management of the port and its adaptation to the growth of the demand, such as the coming into operation of the south shore of the port after the development works of the platforms and wharf.

      The extension of the port has become an imperative, in the light of the growth of its commercial activity which exceeds by 268% its capacity estimated at 1 million tons per year, reads the document.

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        Spanish airline Air Europa will resume flights to Tunisia starting from June, as European governments are relaxing their advice on visiting the country, Lonelyplanet reported.

        The Air Europa service between the capital cities of Madrid and Tunis will be reinstated and is planned to operate four times a week.

        Also in time for summer, TUI Fly is connecting Antwerp, Belgium, to the Tunisian resort town of Hammamet twice weekly.

        TUI Fly is the only airline operating this route and said it was launched ‘to meet the growing interest of Belgian holidaymakers’, according to local media.

        Other routes from Belgium fly from Brussels, Charleroi, Liège and Ostend and connect with Tunis and the island of Djerba.

        The airlines are responding to demand – Tunisia has seen a surge in interest from travellers who are eager to visit.

        Following a security overhaul, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office relaxed its advice on visiting Tunisia in July 2017 and again in June 2018. Tour operators such as Intrepid have started adding Tunisia itineraries back on their schedules, according to the same source.

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          Ooredoo Tunisia reported a 9 percent rise in revenue and EBITDA growth of 7 percent in local currency terms for the year ended 31 December 2018 compared with 2017.

          Growth was driven by an 8 percent increase in the subscriber base, resulting in gains in data revenues and an increase in enterprise revenues.

          Performance in Qatari Riyals was hit by currency depreciation of 9 percent year on year, with revenue at QAR 1.5 billion and EBITDA at QAR 595 million.

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            Tunisia ranks first in terms of area dedicated to olive groves in a list of 30 organic olive producing countries, according to the report “The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2019” February 13, 2019, by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

            The area devoted to organic olive groves in Tunisia stands at 255 thousand hectares (ha), against 235 thousand ha in Italy, which ranks second and 195 thousand ha in Spain, which comes third.

            According to the same report, Tunisia also ranks at the top of the African ranking in terms of acreage devoted to organic farming with 376 thousand ha, followed by Tanzania (278 thousand ha) and Uganda (262 thousand ha).

            On a global scale, Tunisia is 24th out of 181 countries in terms of biological areas, up 23 spots. Australia leads the world, followed by Argentina (2nd) and China (3rd).

            It should be noted that the report refers to the statistics for the year 2017.

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              The year 2018 was a good year for companies listed on the Tunis Stock Exchange that saw their overall income increase by more than 12%.

              The Tunis Stock Exchange has just published its quarterly report on the evolution of revenues of listed companies in 2018 following the publication of their activity indicators for the fourth quarter of last year.

              At the date of publication of the note, four companies have not always published their indicators namely, Elctrostar, Cellcom, AeTech and MIP. The latter has not communicated its activity indicators since the last quarter of 2016.

              It thus appears that the overall income of listed companies has increased by 12.2% to 16.2 billion dinars in 2018, compared to 14.5 billion in 2017. Some 60 companies have seen their revenues appreciate compared to the previous year.

              The 20 companies that make up the Tunindex20, the most liquid companies in the stock market with the largest market capitalizations, collectively realized an income of 9.9 billion dinars, up 16% compared to the year 2017, accounting for 61% of the total income of listed companies.

              Sector evolution of revenues

              In the financial sector, the 12 listed banks achieved a cumulated net banking income (NBI) up 15.6% with 4.3 billion dinars, against 3.7 billion in 2017.

              The total net income of the 7 listed leasing companies grew by 16.7% to 448 million dinars, compared with 384 million a year earlier.

              The 4 listed insurance companies also increased their income to 753 million dinars of premiums written, against 724 million in 2017, up 4.1%.

              In the consumer goods sector, the overall income of the three groups operating in the food industry (Poulina Holding Group, Délice Holding and SFBT) rose by 14.7% from 3.6 billion dinars in 2017 to 4, 1 billion last year.

              In the same sector, the four listed car dealers achieved a total turnover in decline of 11% in the year 2018, down to 1 billion dinars from 1.17 billion in the year 2017.

              Regarding the consumer services sector, the overall turnover of the two major retailers listed on the stock market (Monoprix and Magasin Général) went up 6.4% in 2018 compared to 2017 to 1.5 billion dinars, against 1.4 billion in 2017.

              Seven of the nine sectors saw their revenues increase. The Technology sector achieved the highest growth with a rate of 53.4%, followed by the Industries sector with 20.4% and then

              the financial companies sector with 16.6%, against a decline in telecommunication revenues by (-17.7%), followed by the consumer services sector (-1.3%).

              Evolution of income by company

              The strongest revenue gains came from STIP (+ 106.6%), TELNET Holding (+ 68.6%), WIFAK Bank (+ 54.2%) and TUNINVEST SICAR (+ 52.4%).

              On the other hand, the biggest declines in revenue were recorded by ELBENE Industrie (-58.7%), SITS (54.7%), ESSOUKNA (-49.6%) and SIMPAR (-49.5%).

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                The mobility solutions platform founded in Tunisia, TravelCar, headquartered in Europe, was acquired by French car manufacturer Group PSA.

                “We are proud and delighted to be able to write the next chapter of the company’s history with PSA Group and all of the TravelCar teams,” Ahmed Mhiri, founder of TravelCar was quoted as saying by Wamda.

                The same source said TravelCar offers parking and car rental solutions and has attracted more than a million users in more than 60 countries.

                Brigitte Courtehoux, Director of PSA Group’s Mobility and Connectivity Services said in a statement quoted by website “Tourmag” that “TravelCar is a great success.

                Reinforcing our support through this acquisition underscores our commitment to developing an efficient and sustainable ecosystem of new mobility services. “

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                  The services offered to SMEs by the APII / Enterprise Europe Network “EEN Tunisia” will be presented to companies on February 14 during the 7th edition of the “National Days of Private Entrepreneurship and Business Creation”, organized by APII, in cooperation with all partners in the innovation ecosystem.

                  These days, whose theme will be “Improving the competitiveness of SMEs through innovation and presentation of APII / EEN-Tunisia services”, aim to promote innovation, improve competitiveness and boost the international development of Tunisian SMEs through the services offered by the network APII / “EEN Tunisia” (offers and requests for commercial and technological cooperation, participation in trade shows and B2B meetings, …).

                  The events related to these days will take place simultaneously, from 9:00 in the morning, in 5 different places, namely the Head Office of the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation in Tunis, the competitiveness cluster of Bizerte, the Monastir Center Hotel, the Sfax 2 Enterprises Nursery and the Gabes University.

                  They will concern the 24 governorates of the country.

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                    Data collected from ATTT (Tunisian Land Transport Agency) statistics reveal that the Hyundai brand is the leader in passenger car market in January 2019, ilboursa reported.

                    Alpha Hyundai Motor, official distributor of South Korea’s automaker Hyundai in Tunisia for passenger cars, starts the year 2019 in force with 245 units registered in January 2019, up 470% compared to January 2018 for a market share of 13% for passenger cars, according to the same source.

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