WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014 – Exports could be an engine of growth and job creation in Tunisia, but the sector is dominated by labor intensive industries that produce low value-added goods, which have not created the quantity and quality of jobs needed by the Tunisian economy. A new World Bank project will support enterprises to produce and export goods and services with higher value addition and to penetrate new markets.
“Exports have made significant contributions to Tunisia’s growth and development over the past decade, but in recent years Tunisia has lost market share and its competiveness is slipping due to limited diversification in both its markets and products, low value added and little innovation in its exporting sectors,” said Djibrilla Issa, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “This project aims to help the country regain momentum by promoting its export sector to move beyond the current model of assembling products for foreign companies to becoming direct exporters of goods and services to a broader range of markets.”
The US$50 million Third Export Development Project will target three main groups of stakeholders: Private enterprises and investors in export sectors; both government and private agencies playing a key role in the business environment; and workers and potential employees in private enterprises.
The project has four main components: The first is to increase the competiveness of Tunisian exports by improving trade logistics and simplifying customs procedures and clearing mechanisms.
The second component focuses on access to markets - especially for Small and Medium Enterprises - by supporting and strengthening the Centre de promotion des exportations, Tunisia’s export promotion center. The support will be through providing information and training to potential exporting firms and consolidating a domestic export consulting industry, both key to diversifying the market for Tunisian exports into the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
The third component focuses on access to financing from commercial banks by providing partial credit guarantees to exporting enterprises.
The fourth component aims to help Tunisian firms map out a path toward producing higher value-added goods and exporting them to new markets. Necessary regulations and infrastructure will be put in place to protect Tunisian goods; such as strengthening intellectual property rights, setting up tracing mechanisms, and helping exporting enterprises get the right accreditation and certifications for the products and services
The project will be implemented by Tunisia’s Ministry of Trade and Handicraft.