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Public-private partnerships attempt to get off the ground in Tunisia

A number of handicaps have hindered the implementation of the PPP model in Tunisia, despite the financial support provided to Tunisia by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank.

Mohamed Salah Ayari, legal and tax advisor
Mohamed Salah Ayari, legal and tax advisor
TUNISIA. According to legal and tax advisor Mohamed Salah Ayari, the public-private partnership is a relatively new concept that has begun to make headway in Tunisia essentially in the last five years. 

"Law 2008-23 further clarified the relationship between public and private for the completion of large works and projects. This legal framework improved the efficiency of the public –private partnership from the moment it set out the obligations and rights of both parties" he confirms. 

For Maitre Anis Abidi, the reality is far from this idyllic image: "Law 2008-23 relates only to the concessions regime, which is one of the most traditional models of the public-private partnership. For Tunisian legislators, the choice of this model was justified by the desire to protect the Tunisian economic system from all types of threat."

"Transparency and good governance: The secret of success"

Public-private partnerships attempt to get off the ground in Tunisia
"I believe the environment is favourable for putting other successful forms of public-private partnership in place, following the example of successful PPP models in English-speaking countries", continues Anis Abidi. 

In terms of solutions that can allow the PPP model to see the end of the tunnel, Anis Abidi recalls the public-private sovereign investment fund. "Managed according to market principles, public-private sovereign investment fund reassure private partners and foreign investors", he explains

These comments are in perfect harmony with those of Mohamed Salah Frad, the general manager of private company United Gulf Financial Services North Africa. "The new rules of the economic game, in place since the revolution of January 14, must translate into transparency and good governance, which have long been sought but unfortunately failed to materialise, for the known considerations of all. Tunisian and foreign entrepreneurs must ensure that the invitation to tender procedure is carried out in a fully objective and independent manner", he says. 

Tunisia benefits from significant financial support

Jacob Kolster, head of operations of the bank in North Africa.
Jacob Kolster, head of operations of the bank in North Africa.
For Jacob Kolster, the African Development Bank (BAD) pays close attention to the development of PPP.  In 2009, it played a leading role in the mobilisation of the resources required to complete the plan to finance the project to build Enfidha airport from various financial institutions (EIB, SFI, AFD, etc.) 

We should recall that the European Investment Bank (EIB), Tunisia’s main financial partner (to date, the EIB has mobilised more than €4.4 billion in finance for Tunisia), has extended a loan for €150M to participate in the construction of this international airport operated by the private sector in the Maghreb, but also the first large-scale PPP in Tunisia.  

"The main objective of the Enfidha airport project was the construction and maintenance of a new airport and the operation and maintenance of the existing airport at Monastir, on the basis of a concession. The whole of the €67.73 million ADB loan was disbursed to the developer of the project, TAV Tunisie. The airport was built and fitted out, and is currently in operation", says Jacob Kolster.   
In 2010 the ADB also provided finance totalling $150 million to the Hasdrubal project, the purpose of which is to build and equip oil and gas production wells off the Gulf of Gabès. Start-up is complete and the facility is in operation.

"According to its lending program for 2011, the Bank will provide around $100 million in finance for a project to build a gas pipeline to the south of Tunisia (Tataouine- Gulf of Gabès). Our public partner is ETAP", reveals Jacob Kolster.  


Rym Tlili, à TUNIS

Tuesday, May 24th 2011

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