New business opportunities have emerged in Tunisia, with demand for Chinese investment on the rise, the Tunisian Minister of Trade and Tourism said Thursday
"I hope more Chinese businessmen and enterprises come to our country to invest," Mehdi Houas said while attending a trade fair in Yinchuan, capital city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Houas said there are currently about 3,100 foreign enterprises in Tunisia, but only six of them are from China.
"We need more Chinese investors to come to Tunisia, which can serve as a platform for access to a wider market of over 1.5 billion Muslims," said Houas.
The minister is in Yinchuan to attend the ongoing China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, which opened on Wednesday.
"China is too large of a country for Tunisia; we have to focus on a specific region like Ningxia to find business opportunities," Houas said.
Ningxia, he said, bears similarity to Tunisia in many aspects.
"Tunisia has a population of 10 million and Ningxia has 6.5 million. We both have deserts and green lands. Most importantly, we both share Muslim traditions, which will facilitate our economic exchanges," Houas said.
Houas said Tunisia is seeking Chinese investment in technology and manufacturing, as well as in service-oriented sectors like banking, insurance and telecommunication.
Tunisia's Finance Minister Jalloul Ayed on Monday announced the creation of a new five-year economic and social development plan that aims to create one million jobs in the country over the next five years.
The plan will require a total of 90 billion U.S. dollars in funding, 70 percent of which will be funded by domestic deposits, Ayed said. The remainder will come from overseas loans, he said.