Friday, August 18, 2017



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    Tunisia was ranked third in Africa in the mobile connectivity index compiled by GSMA, the global mobile operators Association. Mauritius came first.

    South Africa (world’s 84th) is second in Africa while Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Botswana, Namibia and Ghana came behind Tunisia, successively. Angola closes the African Top 10

    The ranking features 41 African countries.

    Internet accessibility, prices of mobile devices, relevant services and political environment are among the factors the Association considered to determine the rankings.

    This criterion allowed scores to be awarded from 0 to 100 points.

    Worldwide, Australia, Norway and New Zealand are at the top of the ranking with scores above 85/100.

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      Tunisia has recorded a growth rate of 1.9% in the first half of 2017, compared to 1% in the same period of 2016, Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (INS) Hedi Saidi announced on Tuesday.

      Speaking at a press conference in the Government Palace in Kasbah, he added the rate of growth in the second quarter of 2017 reached 1.8%, stating that the growth recorded is mainly due to the growth of the agricultural sector by 3.8%, market services by 4.2% and non-market services by 0.2%.

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        Under the high patronage of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Convention Center in Tunis will host, on August 22 and 23, 2017, the first edition of the Tunisian African Empowerment Forum, organized by the Tunisia Africa Business Council (TABC) , Founded and chaired by Mr. Bassem Loukil.

        The forum, organized in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as well as the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, and AESAT, will see the participation of several ministers from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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          The decline in Tunisia’s net foreign currency assets continues. Their level reached on 11.538 billion dinars or 90 days of imports on Monday August 14, against 13,123 billion or 120 days of imports on the same date in 2016.

          The monetary indicators are there to testify to the fragility of the economic situation.

          The erosion of reserves may exacerbate the pressure on the dinar exchange rate and make its management more and more complicated.

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            The Export Promotion Center signed, on Monday, a partnership agreement with the consulting firm EY (Ernest& young) to implement a project to rehabilitate the center and promote its activities dedicated to exporting companies.

            According to a statement issued by CEPEX, the project to rehabilitate the centre aims to develop collaboration with the private sector and to achieve complementarity between the various structures and companies concerned through the stimulation of exports and attraction of investments.

            The project consists of four stages: the preparation of a study on the new vision of the center by 2020, the implementation of a CEPEX reform action plan, the modernization of the computer system and equipment and databases.

            It also aims to carry out an organizational audit of the centre, which will lead to the preparation of a report on the management of the centre.

            That report will identify the sectors of reform and take into account national priorities in the field of export development, the requirements of the sector and the changes taking place in international markets.

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              Tunisia’s unemployment rate stabilized at 15.3% in the second quarter of 2017 to 625 thousand unemployed compared to 626 thousand in the first quarter.

              Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday at the Government Palace in Kasbah, Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (INS) Hedi Saidi said a slight decline was registered in the unemployment rate among university graduates with 30.3% in the second quarter of 2017 against 31.3% in the first quarter.

              He also pointed out that the unemployment rate for women is double that of men.

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                The Magasin Général Company (SMG) announced last Friday that its Board of Directors met on August 10, 2017 and closed the interim financial statements for the first half of 2017.

                As of June 30, 2017, the company’s profit amounted to 10.393 million dinars, compared with 5.816 million dinars at June 30, 2016, i.e. an increase of 78.7%.

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                  Prime Minister’s adviser in charge of tax reform Faisal Derbal told ExpressFm he expected growth to stand at 2.2% this year and between 3 and 3.5% in the next year.

                  He also assured that it is necessary to support companies in good standing with the tax authorities, while revealing that there will be a real hunt for fraudsters at the same time as the establishment of a line of financing for the restructuring of companies and encouraging exporting enterprises.

                  Derbal also said that there will be a package of tax reforms affecting in particular the flat-rate system which, as things stand at present, brings absolutely nothing to the state coffers.

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                  Whatever one may say, Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is not the city where a great number of crimes and offenses are committed.

                  It is the place where the safety level is highest in Africa, according to the Numbeo site which analyzes the perception and the statistics on crime and security.

                  The ranking, based on the most recent data, provides two sets of figures for 334 cities in the world, one on crime levels and the other on safety.

                  Tunis is credited with the lowest crime rate and the highest safety level on the African continent, 36.11 for the former and 63.89 for the second, placing it at the top in Africa.

                  It is followed it far behind by Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia (44.46-55.54), Algiers (49.99-50.01). Casablanca (53.24-46.76) then Cairo (55.96-46.76) followed by Tripoli (58.06-41.64). Lagos is 10th with 68.08-31.92.

                  “We consider crime rates below 20 to be very low, 20 to 40 to be low, 40 to 60 to be moderate, 60 to 80 to be high, and crime rates higher than 20 80 as being very high, “says the site.

                  To give an order of magnitude, the South African city of Pietermaritzburg has a crime rate of 82.09 and a security level of 17.91, while in Tunis they are 36.11 and 63, 89 respectively.

                  The Arab cities together are the safest places in Asia, Africa and the world, according to Numbeo website. Abu Dhabi is leading both the Asian and the global scale.

                  Its score is 13.22 for crime and 86.78 for safety, whereas for the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras it is 84.25 for crime and 15.75 for safety.

                  Doha, capital of Qatar is in second place with the score of 15.71 for crime and 84.29 for safety. Dubai is in the 6th position on the Asian scale with 19.52 for the crime and 80.48 for the safety.

                  But the surprise came from Kuala Lumpur which holds the second worst crime rate among the 91 countries on the Asian list, with a score of 68.53 for crime and 31.47 for safety.

                  Baghdad, capital of Iraq is 16th in Asia with a crime of 57.47 and a security of 42.53.

                  However, according to the researchers, a high level of crime score may indicate a higher level of reported incidents than in other places with lower score rather than a higher crime rate.

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                  It is no longer “Tunisia Financial Harbor”, originally designed “with the ambition to become the financial hub opening on Africa, positioned in the heart of the Mediterranean and offering excellent transport connections (…) and will offer access to human capital, investment opportunities from international markets to Africa and vice versa “.

                  It is now, according to the title of CEO granted by the promoter GFH to Lotfi Ezzar, the “Tunis Bay Project Company”. Clearly, it is a simple but gigantic real estate project.

                  The external infrastructure, financed by the Tunisian State, would no longer serve to link a financial hub for Tunisia, but villas of very high standing, for sale to foreigners, but also Tunisians.

                  Videos are currently circulating on social networks calling on Tunisians to invest.

                  Thus, what was supposed to bring foreign funds to Tunisia could very well, through the technique of sale on plan, become a project financed by the Tunisians.

                  On all this, we sent our questions to the CEO of GFH, Hisham Alrayes, whose communication services responded, but on behalf of Lotfi Ezzar, the person in charge of Tunisia of the same project.

                  The answers were ambiguous; almost in obscure language.

                  There are reports in Tunisia of financial difficulties of GFH, after the former head of this projects in Tunisia, diverted the funds that were destined for this project. The same information indicates an arrangement with the former official. What exactly is it and what the reality of the financial statements of GFH?

                  We have no financial difficulties and we have not transferred any funds allocated to the Financial Harbor Project in Tunisia to any other entity. We would like to clarify that the investment transfers to Tunisia were made through the Central Bank of Tunisia in accordance with the applicable currency and legislation in force.

                  According to the agreement with the government of the former Tunisian head of state, you are prohibited from financing the projects by the Tunisian banks, but by importing currency and you are asked for payments in foreign currency to the central bank of Tunisia, to prove your intention to invest and not only for the purchase of the land. Has this been done and if so, on what date and for what amount?

                  The nature of the investment project requires partnership with foreign investors in local currency only.

                  Thus, we have always been keen to take this into account upon contracting for the components of the project.

                  However, the terms of confidentiality included in these contracts do not allow us to provide you with numbers or dates.

                  More than a decade and the project of the financial harbor is still not started, despite the solemn promise of the highest authorities of your country, at the meeting “Tunisia 2020”. What is the cause of this significant delay?

                  For the reasons you know, the project was interrupted during 2011 and 2012, but in coordination with the various authorities of Tunisia, the work was resumed at the level of infrastructure and at for other components of the project.

                  The financial harbor being the essential component of this project, while it seems according to our information that you would like to start with the real estate component. Images and videos of this real estate component already circulate on social networks, calling Tunisian and foreign buyers. How can you sell while the essential component, the financial port, has not even been started and while you have not invested yet and that the extra-murals infrastructures are financed by the Tunisian State?

                  The financial harbor is part of the components of the entire project and the work schedule requires the completion of the infrastructure works in the first stage and then the rest of the components of the project. As you have mentioned, the Tunisian State has approved the budget allocated to the facilities of the project, including the special road of the X 30.

                  One of the components of the project, which is the golf course is progressing well, which allows for the marketing of the completed residential units.

                  Such procedure does not conflict with the terms of the investment agreement as long as it was ratified and the licenses were legally issued.

                  An agreement would have been made with the group “Soroubat” to start the intramural equipment and be paid, not in foreign currency as stipulated in the agreement with the Tunisian authorities, but in return for lots of land. What exactly is it?

                  Our relationship with the Soroubat Group is not limited to a contracting agreement, but is a partnership in the development of the project land.

                  A similar agreement would also have been made with Mr. Samir Jayeb’s Alliance group for the Golf component.

                  The latter would also have to build the Mall, whereas you had a contract with the Loukil group and that has just announced a Chinese financing for this project. To whom will the Mall return and what is the agreement with “Alliance”?

                  Our relationship with Mr. Samir Jiyab and the foreign group participating with him is also a partnership relationship that led to the commencement of the golf course with all its components and we hope that this partnership will continue in the rest of the components of the project.

                  We welcome all those who wish to contribute with us to the completion of the rest of the components of the project in accordance with the master plan and within the framework of the investment agreement concluded with the Tunisian state.

                  Discussions are currently underway between PGH and the Tunisian Ministry of Development for the revision of the initial contract with Ben Ali. What would you like to change in this agreement and for what purpose?

                  We have not signed any agreement with President Ben Ali, but our relationship is with the Tunisian State and the investment agreement was ratified by law, and this agreement is in force so far.

                  We respect the commitments made in the agreement and we have no intention to change them.

                  We are also in close cooperation with the Minister of Development and Investment and the rest of the central and regional authorities in order to ensure the success of this huge project and complete it in accordance with the highest international standards.

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                  An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, visited Yaoundé from February 20 March 6, 2017, to hold discussions toward a...