DIAFRIKINVEST- DiafrikInvest Business Forum: Mobilising the Tunisian diaspora

Country: Tunisia
Activity: Other or not specified

Tunis hosted the DiafrikInvest Business Tour and Business Forum both organised on the occasion of the business forum Futurallia 2018 by CONECT, ANIMA Investment Network, ACIM, GIZ, and Expertise France.

On the agenda: site visits, workshops and business meetings converging towards the same objective: connecting talents of the Tunisian diaspora to the stakeholders of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and answering an essential question: how to mobilise the diaspora to boost productive investment in Tunisia?

The Tunisian entrepreneurs who benefit from the DiafrikInvest/LECAP coaching and mentoring programme, funded by the European union, met their mentors, high talents and accomplished entrepreneurs from the Tunisian diaspora who have settled in Europe (Switzerland, Italy, Germany etc.). All of them took part in the DiafrikInvest Business Tour and discovered El Gazala technopark, first ICT-oriented Tunisian technopark. It brings together 96 companies, representing nearly 2400 jobs. They also visitedBorj Cedria Technopark (Cedria Smartek), the Tunisian Technopark with the largest number of research centres (4), and which alone accounts for more than 15% of national research.

The DiafrikInvest delegation also took part on the B2B meetings of the Futurallia 2018 Forum (on 15 & 16 November), which gathered more than 600 entrepreneurs from 40 various sectors, with more than 30 represented countries for an amount of 8000 business meetings in two days. 
Tarak Cherif, president of CONECT in the presence of Mr. Youssef Chahed, Head of the Tunisian government, explained the organization of the DiafrikInvest Business Forum.

This Forum intended to introduce several support programmes for diaspora according to their needs, as well as proposals for concrete measures to boost the diaspora’s involvement in entrepreneurship and productive investment.

It brought together senior officials and local economic actors, in the presence of Zied Laadhari, Minister of Investment and international cooperation who highlighted two main priorities: better informing TREs and providing quality support, considering the specificities of the diaspora.
“When we talk about diaspora, the question of investment, which has not been sufficiently valued so far, becomes crucial. Based on successful experiences, it is necessary to rethink the modalities, framework and mechanisms of entrepreneurial and investment dynamics, which still need to be built.”

The stakes are high: the Tunisian diaspora, representing nearly 1.2 million Tunisians, with strong investment potential and considerable entrepreneurial capacity, is still too little mobilized. Tunisians living abroad have a role to play in networking, innovation, technology transfer, fundraising and industry promotion. Many measures remain to be taken to exploit the full potential of this diaspora by encouraging it to engage in productive investment.

On the Business Forum's agenda, two panels addressed key issues, such as the expectations of the diaspora, involvement in productive investment and mechanisms to encourage investment, illustrated by testimonies from Tunisian entrepreneurs living abroad.

A platform for the Tunisian diaspora
In 2019, ANIMA and CONECT, through the European project DiafrikInvest, will launch a platform for the benefit of the Tunisian diaspora, which will gather all essential information for a Tunisian living abroad wishing to invest in Tunisia. The objective of this platform will be to guide the project leader at each stage of his business creation, and to identify financing opportunities. It will collect data on institutions, financing mechanisms and regulatory and legislative procedures for all sectors as well as investment opportunities in Tunisia.

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