(TAP) – « The French and the Tunisians are more than ever interested in joining forces to conquer the African market together, » said Tunisia-Africa Business Council (TABC) Chairman Bassem Loukil.
In a statement to TAP, at the Rencontres Africa 2017, where he attended a plenary conference on « the transformation of agriculture and rural development: the keys to sustainable growth », he added « it is true that over the last 10 years the French somewhat retracted, compared to the African market, and it was the Chinese, the Turks and other countries that took over. But for us Tunisians, France still remains a reference in all that affects African affairs.
According to him, « Africa is big enough and presents so many opportunities that it is important for us to get our hands together, with French groups well anchored in Africa or wanting to enter the African market, tripartite partnerships in order to better identify this potential « .
« The French can provide fund, they have much more experience than we do in this field. We Tunisians, we have African know-how, we have credibility with our African friends, we know better the local cultures and we have a better ability to adapt to local conditions than our French friends. Each party has, therefore, its most to bring to this partnership and it is the time or never to launch « .
Loukil also said that « For the TABC, we have been approached by several countries to create tripartite relations, France is one of them. We participated in the first Africa 2016 in Paris with a mission of 45 businessmen. This year, we helped organise a mission of a delegation of 41 businessmen to meetings in Abidjan and today we are co-sponsoring this forum and we are present in large numbers ».
As regards the transformation of agriculture, Loukil believes that « Tunisia lived its agro-food revolution during the 1980s and 1990s, so it gained experience in this field. We also experienced a relatively strong middle class, which in the course of time has become very demanding and has thus contributed to the creation of a modern and competitive agriculture.
These Tunisian experiences combined with French know-how in all the processing industries can be used today to meet the needs of a growing and demanding African middle class from 150 to 300 million inhabitants out of the last 10 years ».
He specified « It is expected to have an average class of 900 million people by 2040 in Africa. All these people will need to eat and will be demanding on quality and I think that we have, as such, a lot to export know-how on the African continent. Our engineers, agronomists, industrialists and agribusinesses can contribute effectively to the implementation of local development plans and the development of local agro-food industries. It is enough that they have the chance to do it. «