Ambassador’s Remarks at Launch of Machrou3i Phase II

As Prepared for Delivery

Machrou3i (Phase II) Launch Event Remarks

Minister Abdelkafi, Minister Ladhari, Minister Khalbous, Minister Hammami, distinguished guests, good afternoon.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to celebrate the launch of Phase II of Machrou3i, or “my project” in Arabic.  First and foremost, I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank the Government of Italy’s Office of International Cooperation, UNIDO, and the HP who have been such wonderful partners on this project and without whose commitment and leadership this initiative would not be what it is today.  The U.S. Embassy is proud to be a part of this extraordinary partnership.  Thanks to our combined efforts, this project — which had a modest beginning in just four governorates – is now poised to expand to fourteen governorates.

Machrou3i is a prime example of a public-private partnership at its best, and a key element of the project’s success is that it is based on clearly-defined priorities set by the Government of Tunisia:  creating jobs and ensuring inclusive economic growth.  In fact, the project’s unique design ensures that it will contribute significantly to the achievement of these two top Tunisian economic development priorities.

First, HP — a private U.S. company – is providing free online IT and business skills training to young Tunisians so they will have the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the 21st-century global marketplace.  These free online trainings use the very same high-quality approach and content that have proven so successful in community colleges throughout the United States  By providing the training through a free online platform, Machrou3i is able to extend its reach to the interior of the country, including to marginalized communities that have the greatest need — places like Beja, Gafsa, Gabes, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kebili, El Kef, Medinine, Sidi Bouzid, Siliana, Tataouine, Tozeur, and Zaghouan.   This ensures that Tunisian citizens across the country have equal access to the high-quality government services they expect and deserve.  In Phase II, Machrou3i expects to reach more than 25,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and create 6,000 new jobs by 2021.

Second, to ensure the sustainability of this initiative, Machrou3i is working directly with SMEs to improve their management, marketing, and human resources capabilities so that long after this project is over, successful Tunisian entrepreneurs will be creating productive jobs for their fellow Tunisians.  One example is Nourredine Dabbabi, who started his own company repairing large electrical appliances in his home town of Kasserine.   Nourredine told us that HP Life

e-learning gave him confidence and equipped him with business and IT skills that helped him overcome the difficulties of running a small business and expand his network in the region. He is now looking for new markets in Kasserine and surrounding areas to expand his business further.

In the end, this is what Machrou3i is all about:  the private sector working with local government offices to create jobs, increase competitiveness, ensure prosperity for every Tunisian, and foster the conditions for this nascent democracy to flourish.

Mashrou3i is one example of several efforts by the United States government, through USAID, to support the government of Tunisia in economic growth and job creation – particularly in the country’s interior.  Building a more prosperous, democratic and stable Tunisia is in America’s national interests, too, and we will be here to support you in your efforts for as long as you need us.

In closing, I want to again thank the Government of Italy, UNIDO, and HP Life for their outstanding partnership and cooperation and extend my best wishes to Machrou3i for continued success.

Thank you.