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EBRD and EU join forces to boost exports by Tunisian SMEs

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD and EU launch Insadder programme
  • Initiative to promote exports to the EU and the wider world
  • First call for expressions of interest will open on 1 June 2021

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are joining forces to strengthen growth opportunities for Tunisian small businesses, with a new export programme called Insadder.

The initiative aims to boost the export potential of local enterprises by helping them to penetrate and compete successfully on external markets. Insadder will have a budget of €7.25 million financed by the EU and implemented by the EBRD over a five-year period.

The programme was launched today in the presence of Antoine Sallé de Chou, Head of the EBRD in Tunisia, and Marcus Cornaro, EU Ambassador to Tunisia.

Insadder aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity and export capacities of Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them grow internationally and access new markets. It will support trade, create opportunities for Tunisian companies and promote their exports to the EU and the wider world.

The programme offers a package of technical and financial assistance and comprehensive support services. Over a period of two to three years, beneficiary companies will have unique access to the following services:


  • strategic support from international business experts, focused on exports and access to new markets
  • multidisciplinary operational support delivered by dedicated experts in strategy, organisation, marketing, digital transformation, financial information and certification
  • specific training on exports for the staff of beneficiary companies
  • co-financing of the certifications required for exports.

The EBRD will also provide training programmes for local consultants to enhance their skills and improve the range and quality of advisory services dedicated to export activities. Companies wishing to benefit from the programme must respond to calls for expressions of interest. The first call will be open on 1 June 2021, on the website

“This new partnership between the EBRD and EU will help Tunisian SMEs reach the next level in their presence in international markets,” explained the EBRD’s Antoine Sallé de Chou. “The programme builds on our successful track record of supporting SMEs in Tunisia and will provide technical assistance specifically tailored to scaling exports.”

Ambassador Cornaro echoed this joint support for local businesses. “Our common goal is to contribute to the prosperity and stability of Tunisia, particularly in the context of post-Covid recovery. Through this programme, in cooperation with the EBRD, we want to do everything possible to assist Tunisian SMEs in creating new opportunities and conquering new markets, in the EU or elsewhere. By focusing on companies that have never exported or that have exported very little but wish to grow, we want to help them realise, step by step, their new export projects.”

The EBRD and EU have so far jointly supported over 1,400 Tunisian companies, trained 600 women business leaders and more than 400 local consultants, supported around 50 Tunisian start-ups and accompanied 10 professional associations, to build a more prosperous Tunisia.

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