Ambassador Blome made his first official trip to Sfax this week. While in town, he met with Governor Anis Oueslati, the President of the University of Sfax and the heads of 19 other educational institutions based in Sfax. Ambassador Blome also had dinner with members of the local AmCham chapter, and visited students and classes of the Access Microscholarship Program at the Space of Wisdom.
During a press conference held on the sidelines of a reception for graduates of US Government sponsored exchange programs, he noted that “Sfax is one of the leading exporters in the US market and its position is expected to grow stronger in the future,” adding that “US-Tunisia links in the private sector encourage development and growth.”
Ambassador Blome with the Governor of Sfax
The Ambassador met Governor Anis Oueslati to discuss the investment climate in Sfax and the Governor’s priorities for the region. The meeting was also an opportunity to seek the Governor’s insights on the recent presidential and parliamentary elections and what they might mean for Sfax.
Ambassador Blome’s Remarks to AmCham Sfax
Good evening, I am very happy to make my first visit to Sfax as U.S. Ambassador, and to meet members of the private sector community. I have heard many times that Sfax businesspeople are extremely savvy and hard working. I am happy to inform you that one of my top priorities as ambassador is to strengthen U.S.-Tunisia bilateral economic relationship.
Tunisia has been a close friend of the United States for many years and we are proud of what we have accomplished together to strengthen security, assist with the development of democratic institutions, and facilitate job-creation.
All together, we have dedicated roughly $1.4 billion to help Tunisia since the revolution. But the biggest work ahead of us now is building commercial and people-to-people ties that will support and sustain our excellent bilateral relationship.
In December 2018, Forbes rated Tunisia as the 5th-best place for doing business in Africa. Just last week, the World Bank released its Doing Business Report 2020 and Tunisia moved up two ranks, from 80 to 78. This demonstrates that the country moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, such details are not well-known in the United States. For historic and geographic reasons, Tunisia continues to be overlooked by Americans as a business destination.
The U.S. Embassy is working to change that, however. We are aggressively promoting business opportunities in Tunisia, using our expansive networks in the United States.
I hope we’ll see American companies taking on some of Tunisia’s most important projects in the coming years.
Since the revolution, the United States Government has dedicated roughly $1.4 billion US dollars to security assistance and other civic programs.
The biggest challenge ahead of us now is to build commercial and people-to-people ties. I welcome your ideas on how to best improve U.S. investment in Tunisia and to accelerate business ties between our two countries.
Thank you for inviting me to join you this evening.
Ambassador Blome’s Visit to the Access Microscholarship Classes at Space of Wisdom
To amplify the profile of the Access program in Tunisia, Ambassador Blome visited Space of Wisdom and met with students as they started their first year of the Access program. Our Access program in Tunisia provides an opportunity for young people who may not be able to improve their English to do so through its activities.
Ambassador Blome’s Meeting with USG Exchange Alumni and Young Professionals
During the visit to Sfax, the Ambassador had the opportunity to meet with alumni of US Government-sponsored exchange programs, who today are involved in business, entrepreneurship, and technology. He also met with a range of young professionals and entrepreneurs from Sfax.
Ambassador’s Visit to ENET’COM
The Ambassador paid a visit to the Ecole Nationale d’Electronique et des Telecommunications de Sfax (Enet’Com) and met with the President of Sfax University and 19 directors of higher education institutions in Sfax, along with student representatives. During the meeting, Ambassador Blome had the opportunity to learn more about Tunisia’s Higher Education System and discuss ongoing U.S. support for Tunisia’s universities and respect for the role of education in Sfax’s economy and local culture.
Ambassador’s Visit to CHO and Confiserie Triki – Le Moulin
During his visit to Sfax, Ambassador Blome visited CHO, the leading Tunisian exporter of olive oil to the United States. CHO also represents a successful model of a local business exporter that has invested in the United States – the company maintains a distribution facility in Texas. The Ambassador also had an opportunity to visit Confiserie Triki – Le Moulin, a successful Tunisian company that exports U.S. brands of gum and candy to the United States and other large markets.