U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome joined the Director General of ONAT, Faouzi Ben Halima, and the ACEA team on April 8 for the first virtual craft fair in Tunisia that gave talented and innovative artisans from across Tunisia access to international buyers through the CraftExports online platform. Today’s event is part of the U.S. Embassy’s 15.6 million TND investment in Tunisia’s handicraft sector through the Collaborative Action for Handicrafts Export (ACEA) project, which is helping artisans, particularly rural women, reach a wider market both domestically and internationally. Due in large part to this project, the United States is now the leading destination for Tunisian handicrafts, totaling more than 25.8 million TND in 2020.
Ambassador Remarks for the FHI360 CraftsExports Virtual Fair
Good afternoon everyone.
I am delighted to be here today. And I would like to recognize the FHI360 team for organizing the CraftsExports Tunisia virtual fair. This outstanding event gives us an opportunity to highlight the talented and artisans from across Tunisia that the United States has supported.
Our $5.6 million Collaborative Action for Handicrafts Export (ACEA) project supports Tunisian artisans, particularly rural women, to improve their technical capacities, sell their products domestically, and access new international markets. Due in large part to this project, the United States is now the leading destination for Tunisian handicrafts. In the past ten years, exports to the U.S. have increased dramatically: from less than 1 million Tunisian Dinar (TND) in 2011 to more than 25.8 million TND in 2020.
Congratulations to Mabrouka Athimini, president of El Baraka cooperative from Tbeinia, and Hafidha Khadraoui, from Takrouna cooperative who are with us virtually. Through the support of the ACEA project, Mabrouka and Fadhila obtained certification to export their essential oils and derivative products. Furthermore, El Baraka cooperative recently signed its first international export deal with the French company “Ethiquable”. Mabrouk!
I would like to congratulate all of the artisans for your resilience and innovation during the past year despite the challenges of COVID-19 .
Our support to the ACEA project is one of many ways the United States is enabling the Tunisian people to counter the economic effects of COVID-19. The Embassy is working hand and hand with more than 13,000 small and medium size enterprises, providing direct grants to help them survive the pandemic’s impacts.
We are proud to collaborate with the Tunisian government and the Tunisian people to support artisans, create jobs and improve the lives of hard-working entrepreneurs and their families throughout Tunisia.
Thank you again.