Tunisia PM seeks economic boost from France trip

2016-11-09 12:49
Tunisia's new Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. (AFP)

Tunisia's new Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed heads to Paris on Wednesday in a bid to drum up French investment in the struggling economy of its former North African colony.

Chahed, 41, will meet his counterpart Manuel Valls and President Francois Hollande during the "strategic" visit, he told AFP in an interview on Tuesday.

"Five years after the revolution, we have succeeded in the democratic transition... (but) today we face an important economic challenge to consolidate the Tunisian democratic experience," Chahed said.

"We obviously rely on France to help Tunisia at this critical moment."

Tunisia remains mired with high unemployment and anaemic growth nearly six years after a popular uprising unseated longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, launching the 2011 Arab Spring wave of regional protests.

Chahed took over as prime minister in August after lawmakers passed a vote of no confidence in the previous government following just 18 months in office.

Important efforts 

"The democratic transition was enormously costly to Tunisia," Chahed said, adding that his country "today needs huge aid at the economic level".

The years since the 2011 uprising have seen Tunisia hit by a string of jihadist-claimed attacks, including assaults last year on its vital tourism sector which killed dozens of foreign visitors.

Tunisia's economy grew just 1.2% in the first half of 2016, according to official figures, with unemployment at 15%.

The country's efforts to rebound from unrest have also been undermined by chaos in neighbouring Libya, according to Chahed.

"All of this has a cost and I think our partner France must assume... the cost when it comes to Tunisia," the premier said.

While acknowledging that France was making "important efforts" to help, Chahed said that French military aid could be "far higher" than the 20-million-euro security plan the two countries agreed in October 2015.

"Tunisia needs direct foreign investment and (Wednesday's visit) will be an occasion to restart the investment machine to create jobs," he said.

"We are trying to create a favourable climate for French investments in Tunisia... we're trying to get a return of French tourists," Chahed added.

Read more on:    youssef chahed  |  france  |  tunisia  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.