Erstwhile known as the ‘bread basket’ of Roman Empire, Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, petroleum products and tourism. In 2008, it had a GDP of $41 billion (official exchange rates), or $82 billion (purchasing power parity). It also has one of Africa and the Middle East's highest per-capita GDPs (PPP). Tunisia was ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum. The European Union remains Tunisia's first trading partner. Industry constitutes 25.7% of Country’s GDP and is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery. Ministry of Trade and Handicrafts is the policy maker in welfare of Textile and Garment industry in Tunisia. Mr Ridha Ben Mosbah, vowed as Minister of Trade and Handicrafts on June 10th, 2009. He holds the Civil Engineering Degree of Mines (1979) and Certificate in analyses of Industrial Projects of the Institute of Economic Development of the World Bank (1981). Mr Mosbah began his professional career in the Economic Development Bank of Tunisia (BDET) as analyst of industrial projects (1979-1984). In 1984, he integrated the company of phosphates- Gafsa, as project coordinator of technical support and industrial restructuring of the CPG. From 1992 till 1998, he was central manager of the computing and the organization in the BDET. From 1998 till 2000, he had been a Representative to the office of Secretary of Industry. He was then appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Strategies to the Ministry of Industry and the Energy (2000-2001). In November, 2004, he was designated as Secretary of State, for Energy and SMEs, in charge of the renewable Energy and Food industries. In January, 2007, he took charge as Secretary of State, Ministry for Higher Education and Research, and was in charge of the scientific research and the technology. On June 9th, 2008, he assumed post of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Tunisian Chemical Group and the company of phosphates -Gafsa (CPG). Born April 8th, 1954, Mr Mosbah is married and father of three children. In a communiqué with Face2Face, Mr Ridha Ben Mosbah puts forth closer picture of Tunisian textile and clothing industry.
Mr Mosbah, welcome on Face2Face talk. Tunisia was ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and 40th in world by World Economic Forum. How does clothing and textile manufacturing contribute to this glory?
Tunisia draws its economic success of the clear-sighted strategy established by Head of State to reach a socioeconomic balance of our country through the diversification of the business sectors, the adoption of legal framework encouraging investment and facilitating the exports of goods and services, the better use of the human resources, the healthy budget management as well as through the institution of efficient state mechanisms of accompaniment.
Rich in time–honored tradition and international experience of over three decades, the textile and clothing industry sector in Tunisia has forged for itself a strong image and positive positioning on the international scene in most of the parameters set by the industry.
Thanks to its assets in terms of flexibility, reactivity, just-in-time delivery and respect for social and environmental standards and norms, the textile and clothing industry sector in Tunisia offers all-encompassing solutions and a new dynamic for win-win cooperation with partner countries.
With more than 2100 active companies among which 83% are totally exporting, first employer sector with 44% of the total jobs, a 3000 million euro average of exports annually (25.5 % of the total of the exports) and a flow of foreign investment of 20% of the total of the FDI in manufacturing industries, the textile and clothing sector occupies a strong and increasingly growing position within the Tunisia economy and strongly contribute to the economic success of our country.
The exports of the sector have nearly doubled during the last decade, increasing from 2,952 MTND in 1998 to 5,180 MTND in 2008. The clothing sector alone represents 88 percent of these exports: 65.5 percent of woven garments and 22.5 percent of knitted goods.
Clothing and textile exports represent 25.5 percent of total Tunisian exports. The European Union is by far the major destination for Tunisia’s goods, absorbing 96 percent of the sector’s exports. France, Italy, Germany and Great Britain take in 82 percent of Tunisian exports.
Tunisia is one of the leading suppliers of clothing in the world. It is fifth largest supplier in this sector to Europe and the EU’s second biggest supplier for swimwear and bras. Worldwide, Tunisia is ranked 2nd largest exporter of textiles in terms of per capita.
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