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Swiss Return Funds Taken from Relative of Ben Ali

Switzerland recently returned approximately 3.5 million Euros ($3.91 million) that was held by a close relative of former Tunisian president Ben Ali to Tunisian authorities. This effort was made as a result of Switzerland’s stolen assets recovery process, according to Swiss authorities.

The Swiss government froze a large quantity of the president’s assets back in 2011 because it was suspected that the money was acquired through illicit means. There have been criminal investigations started in both countries since this incident occurred.

Switzerland’s foreign ministry commented on the situation, stating “Acting on a request for mutual legal assistance from Tunisia, on 26 May 2017, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland ordered the transfer of an additional amount of approximately 3.5 million Euros.”

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January of 2011 following popular protests that ended his 23-year long rule. World Bank has estimates his total wealth at around $13 billion.

“The assets had been frozen in Switzerland in connection with a close relative of the former president of Tunisia, and are being transferred to the current Tunisian authorities with that person’s agreement.”

This financial transfer is similar to another similar restitution that occurred back in May of 2016, involving 250,000 Swiss francs that were returned to Tunisia under somewhat similar circumstances.

Tunisia Passing Laws to Encourage Foreign Investment

The unrest in Tunisia over the past few years has unsurprisingly impacted the country’s economy. However, lawmakers are hopeful that certain changes in policy will encourage foreign investment and finally improve the fortunes of the nation.

The laws are due to come into place early next year, with the aim of doubling the amount of foreign investment that Tunisia receives over the next five years.

They will attempt to incentivize foreign investments and specifically target those companies that attempt to export from the country. Additionally, any company that wishes to invest further in Tunisia will be encouraged by other financial incentives.

The end result is that anyone who is investing from abroad will have much more flexibility in regards to transferring funds, which include any profit that has been made, out of the country. Additionally, the number of administrative procedures will be reduced significantly, meaning that the whole process of managing an international company in Tunisia will be simplified.

While it will be next year before the laws are announced in detail, initial insight suggests that it will be companies such as international car manufacturers that benefit the most as they are often keen to spread further through the country, but are restricted due to the current financial implications.

The aim of the changes is to reduce the wealth gaps that are so prevalent through Tunisia at the moment. While coastal regions remain affluent, other parts are struggling and this is creating a mammoth gap that is sabotaging the country’s prospects.

Over the past four years the country has found international investment very hard to come by. Since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted back in 2011, Tunisia has been the subject of a lot of unrest and this has meant that investor confidence, particularly from abroad, has been at an all-time low.

However, as well as encouraging investment from overseas, the government is hoping that it can improve the fortunes of its native workforces. For example, in September it agreed with UGTT, who are the most powerful labor union in the country, for 800,000 public sector employees to experience a pay raise for the second time in a year. This came at a staggering cost of $1.2 billion, but the government claimed that it was an essential course of action to calm tension, prevent strikes and ultimately improve confidence amongst the public in the direction in which Tunisia is heading. It goes without saying that a calmer public is also going to appeal more to investors from the outside.

While the government has set the target of doubling foreign investments over the next five years, they have also made some shorter-term targets. For example, in 2016 it is hoped that the country will attract 2.8 billion dinars worth of investment – with this an increase of 300,000 dinars this year. If everything goes to plan, and foreign investment follows the path that they are predicting for the next five years, it should take foreign investments in 2020 to $2.5 billion.

Unfortunately, there is still a little apprehension as the new law has not yet been approved by parliament. Nevertheless, most in power realize that to meet these targets, all of the barriers that currently exist for international investors need to be lowered substantially.

To encourage further investment, Tunisia is looking to bring additional ideas to the table. One of these is to hold an international conference in 2016, with this targeting investors from the Gulf and West who may still need convincing about the possibilities of investing in a country that has experienced so much torment over the last four years.

Tunisia, country of commerce and prosperity

After years of heavy state direction in the economic sector, Tunisia is now in the middle of a period of economic liberalization and reform. Steady growth can be observed due to deliberate fiscal planning during the past decades.

 

statistics

 

By now, according to statistics on the internet (e.g. The World Economic Forum 2011/2012 Global Competitiveness Report), Tunisia ranks first in Africa and 40th worldwide. Thus, Tunisia is well ahead of e.g. Greece (90) and still ahead of Italy (43).

 

One of the main economic sectors in Tunisia is Tourism. The association Tunisia/Tourism comes quickly to mind because everybody knows Tunisia as a country with palms and beautiful beaches where anybody is given a warm welcome. But the current economic wealth and prosperity is not only due to tourism.

 

On the contrary, theTunisian economy is quite diversified and Tunisia’s economic growth is historically based on different sectors, such as oil, agri-food products, phosphates, car parts manufacturing and, of course, tourism.

The impact of the Arabic Spring Revolution on economy

 

Now that Tunisia, as one of several Arabic states, has traversed a period of political revolution, economy could change considerably as well. Of course, the main sectors won’t change quickly, but the system in general has now the opportunity to pass through a number of large-scale changes.

 

One of the main problems in Tunisian economy, affecting seriously the private sector, is corruption in the public domain. Contrary to the first impression one might have, it was not only Ben Ali and his family members who exchanged support for favors (e.g. access to social services), but the issue of corruption goes far beyond the regime’s inner circle and can be found in large segments of Tunisian society.

 

 

This problem faced and resolved, Tunisian economy will surely continue to prosper thanks to a growing private sector and an efficient public sector.

Why Invest in Tunisia

Those that are looking for a unique investment opportunity will find that investing in Tunisia is one of the best options that the person could do. They are going to find that there are several reasons as to why they should do this. However, first the person needs to know a little about Tunisia.

Tunisia is a county that is located in the Mediterranean that is also a member of the Africa society and the Arab society, meaning that it appeals to those of different cultures and this is one reason why this country is so popular for investing.

business tunisia

One of the main reasons that people find this as a great investment is the loose legal investment options that are sported. For example, those that invest in Tunisia find that they get several tax breaks and incentives for doing this. In addition, they are going to find that the investment procedure is simple and does not require a lot of understanding, yet there are tons of investments in which the person can take a part in. The protection that someone gets from investing in Tunisia is also some of the best protection that can be found anywhere in terms of protecting the funds that the person has invested.

Another huge benefit of investing with Tunisia is the fact that the person can get all their investing needs done in one place. Many times when investing in a company, a country or the like, the investor will have to go through several companies in order to get the investments that they want. This means take the extra time to do this and the countless fees that are involved when a person does this. With Tunisia, the simplicity attracts many investors to it.

For those that want to invest into Tunisia through relocating their business here, they will find that the workers in the area are ready and willing to do whatever is needed in order to provide supreme service. There is no worry that the workers will be unable to master new technologies, as they have proven themselves time and time again that they can do this. In addition, those that do move their entire company into Tunisia will find that there are tons of tax break benefits and other benefits that they can receive through doing this.

Above all else, Tunisia is open to everyone no matter their location. Thus, there are none of those restrictions that are placed in many other areas that have investors. Thus, the idea of investing is one that is simple and will render results. Those companies that have invested and those private investors that have done so find that this is one of the smartest decisions that they have made since they receive such great benefits from doing so.