Ladies and gentlemen, good morning! Sabaah – El – Kheer! It is a pleasure to be with you this morning at GE Renewable Energy Day. I would like to extend my gratitude to His Excellency Slim Feriani, Minister of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises, Lotfi Ben Sassi, Economic Advisor to the Head of Government, and the business leaders from GE and Tunisia who have all demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the use of renewable and efficient energy in Tunisia.
I was in Washington less than two weeks ago as the United States and Tunisia held the second session of the Joint Economic Commission. Our governments reaffirmed our mutual commitment to elevate economic and commercial ties, and underlined the critical role of the private sector.
I am proud that GE has chosen Tunisia to host a day of awareness for Renewable Energy. GE’s choice demonstrates that American companies recognize the potential of this country and are playing a vital role strengthening economic ties between our two countries. As you know, General Electric is an American company that is internationally known and recognized for excellence in many sectors, particularly the energy sector.
Power and energy are critical elements for the growth of any economy. Tunisia has set itself an ambitious goal to meet up to 30% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Diversifying into more efficient and less expensive energy solutions and technology are a key to meeting that goal and will result in competitive prices. I applaud Tunisia for its efforts to control its budget deficit while reducing its reliance on imported energy.
Now is the perfect time for the private sector bring in its expertise to support the government’s efforts to achieve this goal. As the U.S. Ambassador, I am proud that a flagship American company such as GE is offering Tunisia its expertise and cutting edge technology in advanced energy and power solutions. Tunisia’s ambitious plans to develop its renewable energy and electricity infrastructure are perfectly aligned with GE’s core business.
To attract private sector investment to the energy sector, it is important to expedite the announcements and prequalifications for wind, solar, and other power projects. Prolonged delays in realizing such projects will put pressure on Tunisia’s budget.
GE’s presence in Tunisia feeds directly into our efforts to boost commercial ties and technical exchanges in priority sectors, including the energy sector. We believe U.S. companies have a lot to offer in terms of technical expertise and world-class business practices, and could attract critical, high-quality foreign direct investment to Tunisia. Bringing U.S. and Tunisian businesses together helps advance the country’s development plans and creates jobs and prosperity for both our peoples.
I look forward to seeing the success of GE in Tunisia as it pursues future projects in renewable and conventional energy in Tunisia.