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"Rencontres Africa 2017" kick off works

Published the:  05/10/2017

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(TAP) – Works of the second edition of “Les Rencontres Africa” (Africa meetings), October 5-6, kicked off on Thursday in Gammarth in the presence of some 450 businessmen and African and French officials, The President of the Government Youssef Chahed, Burkina Faso’s and France’s premiers Paul Kaba Thieba and Edouard Phillippe, respectively.

Taking the floor, Chahed expressed Tunisia’s pride to host this meeting “which is in line with boosting co-operation with Africa and France notably in the vocational training, health, information and communication technology and agriculture fields.”

Tunisia has proven experience in these fields which it intends to share, he added, specifying that the partnership it is seeking to develop is based on a comprehensive and progressive approach by reinforcing notably its diplomatic representation in Africa.

“It is our duty as Africans to invest in our youths, promote African women who have given so much and still are, and to reach out to underprivileged regions,” he said, highlighting the importance to endeavour to entrench transparency and good governance.

For his part, Edouard Phillippe affirmed that the Tunisian-French co-operation “is excellent and can only grow stronger,” laying emphasis on the correlation between political stability and economic development, hence choosing Tunisia to host the “Rencontres Africa 2017.”

Tunisia has enemies as the Islamist terrorism and has endured hardships yet it stands firm; asserting itself as an essential regional actor for stability, he added.

He voiced confidence that the Mediterranean is more than a border. It is the heritage and the future of the European and African regions which are “directly neighboured and face the same challenges, he pointed out, specifying that “the vicious and cowardly terrorist attack that occurred last Sunday is a cruel reminder.”

The French premier reviewed the challenges facing the two regions’ populations, citing the democratic, demographic and migratory challenges, which are “almost mechanically causing risks of destabilisation.”

He called on the participating businessmen to opt for utility, pragmatism and efficiency to create employment, local richness and multiply and increase bootstrapping logics, pointing out the importance of the French Development Agency’s contribution in this field, as it has undertaken to invest €1.2 million in Tunisia by 2020 targeting the territory and the population.

Taking the floor, Burkina Faso’s PM Paul Kaba Thieba hailed the place held by Africa in the political and strategic vision of France. “We clearly notice that France does not see its destiny in globalisation without being stowed to Africa,” he stated.

He also spoke about the steps made by his government to step up growth to raise it from 6% to 8%, laying stress on the possibilities offered by the Burkinabe economy as regards the creation of values chains and improvement of the processing industry.

In fact, “this country which is the leading cotton producer in Africa has no textile unit,” he pointed out to illustrate his country’s needs in terms of industrialisation.

Plenary conferences on aeronautical and car industries, digital transformation of the economy and agriculture, rural development, logistic platform and customs organisation are on the agenda of the first day.

This event was held this year following the success of the first edition that helped bring together more than 1,500 African and French enterprises in Paris in 2016.

According to organisers, the event which had also been held in Abidjan (October 2-3), is expected to bring together some 4,000 operators.

Seminars on various topics on new urbanism and mobility, smart grids and renewable energy, structuring investment operations in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria are also scheduled.