“The challenge today is to transform the democratic
spring into an economic and social spring”
“Tunisia and South Korea are likely to continue to learn
from each other in working toward a stronger democratic
and peaceful environment for their people”
By Tunisia Ambassador Nabih EL ABED
The following article was contributed to the NDNnews (www.ndnnews.
co.kr) as well as Seoulcity magazine by Tunisia Ambassador Nabih EL ABED.
The Republic of Tunisia will commemorate the 62nd anniversary
of its Independence. For all Tunisians, the date of 20 March
1956 is full of symbols, values, emotions engraved in their hearts and minds.
It is also an opportunity to remember the essential
achievements leading to the evolution of our country towards
a modern Nation. The awarding of the 2015 Nobel Peace
Prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet is an international
recognition to their decisive contribution to the building of a
pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine
Revolution of 2011. The Quartet was instrumental in paving
the way for the adoption on the 26 January 2014 of a New
Liberal Constitution that expanded civil liberties, and in the
organization of free, fair and democratic Parliamentary and
Presidential elections in October and November 2014.
Following these major achievements, Tunisia concluded its
political transition peacefully and the Government of the
Second Republic took office in February 2015. Tunisia has
earned rapid recognition as a fledgling democracy enjoying
civil liberties, political moderation and inclusion. The Tunisian
people and all the Tunisian stakeholders, including a vibrant
civil society, are committed to strengthening the country’s democratic processes through the upcoming municipal
elections to be held in May 2018
The challenge today is to transform the democratic spring
into an economic and social spring. Many challenges are
still to be faced: high youth unemployment and development
of the country's interior.The Tunisian economy is characterized
by increasing liberalization, greater integration in the global
economy and stronger competitiveness combined with a new
regulatory and tax incentive framework. The new Investment
Law, which came into force on the 1st of April 2017, offers,
among other advantages a total freedom of foreign equity
participation for offshore companies, a reduction in the number
of administrative authorizations, freedom of access to land
ownership and freedom of transfer profits, dividends and
assets abroad. Today, Tunisia is ranked 1st in North Africa in terms of
Talent Competitiveness | "Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017, INSEAD"
Entrepreneurship Ecosystem | "Global Entrepreneurship Index 2017, GEDI"
Innovation | "Bloomberg Innovation Index 2017, Bloomberg"
ICT Development | "Measuring the Information Society Report, 2016"
Transition to E-commerce | "B2C E-commerce Index 2016, UNCTAD"
Tunisia ROK relations
We note with satisfaction that the bilateral interactions
between Tunisia and the Republic of Korea in a variety of
fields have been developed in a steadfast manner since the
establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries
in 1969. And we believe that there is a high potential for
expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
However, the economic ties between Tunisia and Korea shall
reflect the real potentials in both markets.
The Ambassador Nabih EL ABED noticed that although Tunisia
is the 1st worldwide exporter of dates, the 2nd exporter of
organic products in Africa and the 2nd worldwide producer
of olive oil for the 2016-2017 harvest season, nothing of those
products could be
found in the Korean market. The 10th Joint Commission and
the Business Forum to be held in Seoul next April will focus
on expanding exchanges between the two countries. Of course,
the continued improvement of the investment climate in Tunisia
through the improvement of security and economic reforms
undertaken by the government especially in terms of fiscal
incentives, deregulation and alleviation of administrative
procedures aims to attract new investors.
This positive atmosphere could be fostered by Tunis-Seoul shared views and interests on democracy. Tunisia and
South Korea are likely to continue to learn from each other in
working toward a stronger democratic and peaceful environment
for their people. Ties between people can also be strengthened
through sports. Like PyeongChang winter Olympic Games, that
witnessed a big success, we hope that the upcoming World
Taekwondo Junior Championship and World Taekwondo
qualification Tournament for 2018 Youth Olympic Games,
that the Tunisia City of Hammamet will host from 6th to
13th April, will contribute to boost the longstanding friendship
between Tunisia and Korea.