Nezeha Labidi, Tunisian Minister of women, family, children and seniors/ photo by Rehab Ismail
Tunis - 28 June 2018: The “EBSOMED” Enhancing Business Support Organizations in the European Union southern neighborhood" seminar kicked off in Tunisia on Thursday.
EBSOMED is a 4-year project co-financed by the European Commission, led by the Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (BUSINESSMED). It’s purpose is to boost the Mediterranean business ecosystem by promoting an inclusive economic development, economic integration and job creation, as well as enhancing private sector organizations in neighboring countries regionally.
The EU Southern neighborhood includes Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Jordon, Palestine and Syria. The EU cooperation with Syria is currently suspended due to the political situation; however, activities may be taken up again once the situation improves.
A map shows the EU Southern and Eastern neighborhoods/ CC EU official Website
The seminar began with a keynote speech by Jihen Boutiba, BUSINESSMED’s general secretary. She argued that business opportunities in the Mediterranean region are increasing, but more reinforcement is required for business supporting small and medium-sized enterprises.
Saida Neghza, president of BUSINESSMED’s general confederation of Algerian Enterprise, said that EBSOMED aims to boost investment opportunities and connect the southern region with Europe. The organization connects the primary actors from the private sector and entrepreneurs driven to participate in economic growth.
Nezeha Labidi, Tunisia’s minister of women, said that women are a key for Tunisian business development, and have strongly fought for their rights. She added that her ministry is the front line to empower women in Tunisian society.
Labidi noted Tunisia’s adoption of its first national law to combat violence against women on 26 July 2017. The legislation aims to protect social equality between genders and condemn gender-based discrimination, violence and assault.
She highlighted the government’s efforts to empower women’s role in the private sector, as her ministry works in partnership with various parties to enhance the role of women in the economic growth, by supporting their startups and SMEs.
Nezeha Labidi, Tunisian Minister of women, family, children and seniors/CC BUSINESSMED
This seminar offers a space for economic representatives of the public and private sector from the Euro-Mediterranean region to meet and enhance regional cooperation and new business partnerships, which could affect economic conditions in these countries, according to a press statement.
The project is supported by 5 additional partners: EUROCHAMBRES (Association of Chambers of Commerce in Europe); ASCAME (the Association of Chambers of Commerce in the Mediterranean); ANIMA Investment Network; CAWTAR (the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research); and GACIC (the German-Arabic Chambers of Commerce). The aim is to empower the Business Support Organizations who can help young entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and social enterprises.
Jihen Boutiba is BUSINESSMED’s general secretary
Nezeha Labidi, Tunisia’s Minister of women, family, children and seniors/ CC Rehab Ismail
Nezeha Labidi, Tunisia’s Minister of women, family, children and seniors, told Egypt Today that Tunisian women have always fought for their rights, and the Arab League praised these efforts when Tunisia was chosen as the 2018-2019 Capital of Arab Women during a meeting of the Arab Women Commission entitled, "Women for Safe Societies in the Arab Region."
Dr.Alaa Ezz, President of EBSOMED executive committee/ CC BUSINESSMED
Alaa Ezz, President of EBSOMED executive committee, represents three partners of five within the consortium implementing and launching this new regional project. During the event, he spoke about the role of BSOs in addressing the ongoing, regional needs in the Mediterranean south.
Alaa told ET that there are projects focusing on the final beneficiary, which is SMEs, although over years they discovered that business support organizations (BSOs) need to evolve to serve better the final beneficiary.
He noted that Egypt is one of the countries that will benefit from this program. The Federation of Egyptian Industries, with its 18 sectorial chambers, is a beneficiary from the project, as is the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce with its 26 geographic chambers.