Speech transcript: EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett at the second plenary session “High Growth sectors and key projects” of the International conference “Invest in Tunisia: Start-up Democracy” in Tunis on 9 September 2014

Speech delivered by: Phil Bennett
Event: Second plenary session of the International Conference, Tunis
Date: 10 September 2013

Speech by EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett at the second plenary session “High Growth sectors and key projects” of the International conference “Invest in Tunisia: Start-up Democracy”

Firstly, let me congratulate the authorities on the high quality of the new economic model that has been developed for the country and which we are learning more about here at this conference.

The EBRD fully supports the new programme, which ties in very well with our mandate for Tunisia: fostering a positive investment climate, raising the competitiveness of high value-added industrial sectors and promoting social inclusion and geographic balance.

The EBRD stands ready to help improve the investment climate and to attract private investors particularly in PPP projects. The key to bringing private investors on board will be the approval of the new PPP law which will promote fair and bankable PPP structures and encourage private sector involvement.

We are also fully behind the country’s aim of moving up the value chain and targeting higher value-added industries, in particular in the automotive sector, in aeronautics, electronics and electric products as well as in pharmaceuticals.

Given the importance of the entire agriculture sector for the Tunisian economy, we stand ready to support private companies across the entire agribusiness value chain.

We are looking to support a number of large infrastructure and energy projects that have been presented to the international community.

  • In the energy sector: we can support cross-border interconnections, renewable energy projects and the strengthening of the electricity transport capacity of the national operator STEG.
  • We are working closely with the national water operator, SONEDE, to improve the quality of water supplies and water management operations.
  • In the road sector, we are interested in financing on a sovereign basis each of the four road projects that are under discussion.

For all these sectors, we are willing to support PPPs to encourage private partners to invest in well-structured transport sector as well as co-financing them. However, they are subject to an open and transparent tendering process.

For public operators, our financing will reflect our standard sovereign terms and will be accompanied by dedicated technical assistance for capacity-building at the institutional and operational levels as well as project implementation and monitoring.

Since our establishment in Tunisia, our institution has been working closely with the authorities, public and private companies, as well as other development finance institutions (DFIs) to support the country's transition.

You can count on us to continue our cooperation and support.