Virtual Economic Forum between Tunisia and Austria

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 7, 2022; 12:18 ♦ (Vindobona)

A Virtual Economic Forum titled "Tunisia & Austria - Promoting Business & Investment Cooperation", was held online by the Tunisian Embassy in Vienna and the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) in collaboration with the Tunisian Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA Tunisia).

The Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) specialised in providing services, networks and information to businesspeople, companies and institutions in Austria and the Arab countries. / Picture: © Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC)

The webinar provided an opportunity to inform institutions and companies from Austria and neighboring countries about Tunisia's business environment.

High-level officials from various Tunisian ministries (communication technologies, digital economy, industry, etc...) attended the webinar to provide information on business and investment cooperation opportunities in Tunisia, particularly in the electrical, electronic, and IT sectors, as well as to promote Tunisian institutions.

The webinar featured participants Mr. Franz Bachleitner, Commercial Counsellor at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber's (WKO / ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA) Foreign Trade Center in Algiers, and Ms. Saida Kahouli, Managing Director at FIPA Tunisia's Germany Office.

The forum was opened by H.E. Mr. Mohamed Mezghani, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to Austria, and H.E. Ms. Ulla Krauss-Nussbaumer, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Tunisia. AACC Secretary-General Eng. Mouddar Khouja commenced and moderated the webinar.

H.E. Ambassador Mezghani highlighted the political and economic relations between Austria and Tunisia, noting Austria’s early support for more comprehensive and co-profitable partnerships on both the bilateral and regional multilateral levels (Tunisia-EU). Currently, 50 Austrian enterprises are active in Tunisia, including big renowned companies.

The event featured presentations and introduced company profiles of various prominent AACC members and partners, including the Austrian Multinational Gas, Oil and Petrochemicals Company (OMV) and GIS Aqua, a company providing sustainable environment-friendly solutions in wastewater treatment.

According to Franz Bachleitner, the recent war in Ukraine has disrupted relations and businesses, but he's encouraged to explore North Africa as a hub. Therefore, he praised Tunisian business partners and Austrian investors who have always shown keen interest in doing business together, as well as the activity of big Austrian companies in North Africa and specifically Tunisia.

In the discussions, it was repeatedly heard that digitization is an important issue for Tunisia that needs to be driven forward. Tunisia's national digital strategy aimed at achieving investments, jobs, and a position in technology was presented by Mr. Sami Ghazali, Head of the Digital Economy Unit at the Tunisian Ministry of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy. With this vision, digital technology is positioned at the center of the country's economic and social development. Moreover, according to Mr. Ghazali Tunisia has around 10,000 ICT new graduates per year (engineers, technicians and software developers).

Ourida Chalouati, who represented Ms. Nada Lachaal, Director General of the Industrial and Technological Infrastructure Department at the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, also gave a presentation on high-value-added industries in Tunisia.

The electrical, electronics, mechanical, metallurgical, construction, apparel, textile, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as ICT, technical and engineering services, were some of the promising industries and services mentioned by Ms. Chalouati.

Ultimately, this strategy aims to improve the standard of living of Tunisians, increase employment, and reduce the gap between Tunisian regions in terms of development. A sustainable economy based on renewable energy sources aims to improve the competitiveness of companies through innovation and technology, as well as develop their presence in foreign markets.

Tunisia aims to strengthen the technology sector and boost digitization. For Tunisia, Austria can be an important partner in these areas.

AACC Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce