Report of the IPEMED - IPEMED Tunisia symposium 5 October 2017, Tunis, Rencontres Africa
In partnership with IPEMED Tunisia, IPEMED organised, on 5 October 2017, in the framework of the Tunis Rencontres Africa, a symposium on the following issue: “How to favour coproduction between France and Tunisia, and thus contribute to North African industrialisation?”. ».
Presented by Noureddine HAJJI, President of IPEMED Tunisia, this event enabled to raise awareness on the “coproduction” concept in about thirty economic and political decision-makers, as well as business managers. This concept refers to a new win-win economic cooperation model based on shared added value and technologies between Northern and Southern Mediterranean actors.
In order to illustrate the potential of this coproduction model, Jean-Louis Guigou, President of IPEMED, presented the works done in the framework of the Coproduction Observatory, and especially the last two studies carried out with IPEMED Tunisia. Given that 85% of Tunisia’s external trade is done with the European Union, and especially with four countries (France, Spain, Italy and Germany), the context is favourable to create integrated regional value chains.
The speech of Thierry DERANCOURT, Director of the Thomas Tunisie Plastic’s plant, enabled to highlight Tunisia’s assets in this regard: education and training to plastification jobs, recognised know-how, geographic and cultural proximity, etc. These assets were a major factor for the French group’s establishment in the country. By equipping the Tunisian plant with the same means as in France, Thierry DERANCOURT observes a turnover increase in both countries, and even plans to double the production surface in Tunisia in 2018.
However, coproduction does not only refer to a North-South operation. The experience of MISFAT, a Tunisian company directed by Amine BEN AYED, enabled to highlight an unusual experience of South-North coproduction. This experience, which was the object of a monograph of the Coproduction Observatory, shows the interest of sharing tasks and the value chain according to the comparative and technological advantages of each site. The eventual result being job creation in France and in Tunisia.
For Stéphane YRLES, Secretary General of the AVRIL Group, this coproduction model is necessary in the agri-food sector if we want to implement a territorialised sector strategy. Pre- and post-production partnerships enable to ensure the quality control of the finished product as well as the sustainable development of all agricultural activities.
How to encourage such operations, especially for SMBs? Isabelle BEBEAR, Director of the International and University services at Bpifrance, identifies two obstacles for SMBs: the lack of support and the need for adapted funding. The “colocalisation” Franco-Tunisian investment fund, equally subscribed between Bpifrance and the Tunisia Deposit and Consignment Office, meets these issues in the same capacity as the Franco-African Fund. Jointly initiated by Bpifrance and AfricInvest, the latter aims to boost the growth of African and French innovative SMBs, with development projects on both continents.
Are the conditions gathered to make of coproduction a tool at the service of the industrialisation of Southern Mediterranean countries? For Fawzi DIB, Senior Advisor at the Union for the Mediterranean, the debates with the public revealed the need for success stories and the identification of tangible opportunities, by priority sector. This is the objective of the IPEMED programme on North African industrialisation, thanks to the support of the UfM and Bpifrance, as well as IPEMED Tunisia. The aim being to show that North African countries, and especially Tunisia, can become “industrial hubs” not only for Europe but for the African continent as well.