Notes & Docs - 06.03.2015

Amel Bouchamaoui Hammami, Opening Remarks Investment & Entrepreneurship Conference, Tunis, March 5th, 2015

Amel Bouchamaoui Hammami,  Opening Remarks Investment & Entrepreneurship Conference, Tunis, March 5th, 2015

Good morning. And welcome to this conference on investment and entrepreneurship that comes at a challenging - but promising - time for the Maghreb region, and particularly for Tunisia.

We’re deeply honored to have with us Prime Minister Essid. Mr. Prime Minister thank you for your support and for your personal commitment to the U.S.-Tunisia partnership, and for joining us in this important event.
To Madame Secretary, Penny Pritzker, thank you for your leadership in bringing about this conference and for being a strong voice of support for the partnership and friendship between the United States and Tunisia. To yourself and the delegation accompanying you, I say welcome to Tunisia!
I would like to acknowledge Secretary Albright, who has played a special and leading role through PNB and in collaboration with Aspen Institute in organizing this conference.
With this conference, we seek a new beginning for a long and solid partnership between U.S. and the Maghreb, based on shared values and interests.
And I want to especially thank our distinguished guests from the Maghreb and all of you - government officials, business and civil society leaders and representatives, investors, entrepreneurs and media representatives.
Two years ago, we started the preparation for this conference. We decided with our partners to host it in Tunisia. And we chose, in purpose, to add investment to entrepreneurship because we believe in the potential of the Maghreb region as a great destination for investments and business opportunities.
Today, we gather with a new optimism to reaffirm our commitment to partnership, chart a vision, initiate a new trend, and build a new momentum for the future.
We applaud the actions taken to strengthen economic and people to people ties. However, while moving in the right direction, trends of cooperation and partnership between our countries are mixed and much of it remains unstructured. At a time of political and economic challenges, we need more ambition, audacity and creativity in our approach to our relationship and a strong leadership to take bold, high visible initiatives in key areas that can have positive impact immediately and in the long-term.
I see three ways to achieve this.
  • To the Tunisian Government:  Make Tunisia a more attractive partner to the United States and to the world;  by creating a thriving environment for investment, by eliminating unnecessary restrictions, by enhancing Tunisia’s international credibility, by investing in people – education, knowledge, and skills, by investing in infrastructure, by engaging appropriate reforms to raise effectiveness, encourage innovation, and enhance growth and employment, by working hand in hand with business to rebuild trust and confidence and engage the private sector, and with national social partners to ensure social peace, social stability and social progress.
  • To the U.S. Leadership: Establish a sense of urgency, launch a major initiative, and deliver quick wins. An ambitious and structured approach to our relationship is essential to deliver the conditions for tangible and sustainable results and create opportunities for the long term in key areas such as trade, investment, entrepreneurship, science, technology, innovation, education, infrastructure, capacity building, and people-to-people exchanges.
  • To our partners in the Maghreb: Initiate a structured regional dialogue toward regional integration to address the new challenges facing our region and create opportunities and leverage benefits from cooperation and partnership with the United States and with the rest of the world.
  • Finally, to all our partners and friends, in the region, in the U.S., and in the world, let me say this: 
We live in a global world, perhaps in a global society, the welfare of each of us has - or should have - a positive effect on all of us. I urge you not to forgo this opportunity to choose the region and Tunisia as your destination. It is a place where you can travel, share ideas, do business, create wealth, and enjoy living.
Thank you very much.
Amel Bouchamaoui Hammami
President, PNB-NAPEO Tunisia & AMCHAM Tunisia
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