July 13 – 15, 2020 | Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

July 15, 2020: The challenge of the tourism sector facing the impact of COVID-19

The governorate of Sousse has been hosting a team of journalists from the Tunis Afrique Presse Agency (TAP) since Monday 13 July for a whole week as part of the “Zoom on the Regions” programme. This programme is the fruit of the partnership established two years ago between the TAP agency and the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). It has reached its 11th session which, this time, focuses on the tourism sector in the governorate of Sousse and the repercussions of the COVID-19 epidemic on activities related to this field. At the beginning of the work of this new session in Sousse, the director of the department of international relations, communication and training of the TAP agency Chaouki Aloui underlined the importance of this experience and the positive repercussions of the previous sessions especially at the level of the diversification of the regional journalistic product of the agency, praising the important role of KAS in the support of this programme.

For his part, Holger Dix, representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Tunisia, affirmed that the experience of Zoom on Regions is important and exceptional, especially as it has enabled many journalists from different regions to participate in the development of various journalistic products related to current events and the specificity of these regions in several areas. During this week, the TAP agency team will produce a series of journalistic products related to the repercussions of the coronavirus epidemic on the tourism sector in the governorate of Sousse and its impact on the economic and social levels in this region which constitutes one of the important tourist areas in Tunisia.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

July 14, 2020: Tunisians immune to COVID-19 thanks to BCG? A possibility

Several scientists have studied the possibility of immunity of Tunisians against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19). Questioned on the issue in a previous statement granted to Réalités Online, Dr. Jalila Ben Khelil, head of the intensive care unit at Abderrahmane Memi Hospital and member of the scientific commission against COVID, had also raised this possibility. This possible immunity to the new coronavirus would be due to the BCG vaccine which, it should be recalled, has been mandatory in Tunisia since 2007. According to several scientific researches, BCG would have a protective effect against COVID-19. According to a study carried out in 22 countries, the vaccine reduced mortality from CoV-2-SARS by 10.4 points. BCG is thought to strengthen the immune system against respiratory infections. Of course, it is too early to claim victory, especially as research continues to find a vaccine against COVID-19 and to prove the effectiveness of BCG.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

July 14, 2020: Germany grants EUR 150 million loan to Tunisia

Germany supports the public sector in Tunisia with 150 million euros. This is an extension of the Tunisian-German reform partnership to the public sector and a guarantee of the Tunisian government’s ability to act in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW (German Development Bank) and the Tunisian Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation signed a loan agreement on Monday 13 July 2020 for 150 million euros to implement the “Public Sector Reform Support Programme, Phase I”. This financing is part of a multi-year international support programme to which KfW, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the African Development Bank and the World Bank are contributing. It contributes to stabilizing the Tunisian State budget and enables it to act in the crisis caused by COVID-19.

The funding is also part of the Tunisian-German reform partnership. Recently, Germany and Tunisia agreed to extend this partnership from the financial sector to the public sector. It is aimed more at improving the investment environment and making the Tunisian public sector more efficient and modern. The coordinated programme will adopt a policy-based lending approach, whereby the disbursement of the German contribution is linked to the implementation of reforms in the areas of public administration, tax administration and public enterprises. “The enlargement of the Reform Partnership between Germany and Tunisia is a positive and successful example of this initiative. The current objective is to reduce the burden on the Tunisian national budget in the long term through the desired reforms. In addition, the investment environment should become more attractive through more efficient administration and reforms of the tax system. But the Tunisian population will also benefit from better services provided by the state”, said Dr. Joachim Nagel, member of the KfW Board of Directors.

For more information (in French), please visit the following link.

July 14, 2020: Port de la Goulette: Positive COVID-19s on board a French ship

The Ministry of Transport and Logistics announced this Tuesday, July 14, that it has authorized the docking of the French ship Méditerranée at the port of La Goulette in Tunis in coordination with the Ministry of Health, after learning that 8 members of its crew are positive for coronavirus. The ministry specifies in this sense that these members did not come into contact with the travellers which reduces the risk of propagation of the virus on board this ship. For her part, the director of the National Observatory of New and Emerging Diseases Nisaf Ben Alaya explained, in media statements, that the Ministry of Health has ordered the opening of an investigation to verify the application of the WHO health protocol. Also according to Nissaf Ben Alaya, in case of direct contact with contaminated personnel, passengers will be placed in compulsory containment centres. Otherwise they will be treated according to the epidemiological situation in their countries of residence.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

July 13, 2020: COVID-19 crisis: state of play and rescue plan for Tunisia

Even before the arrival of the Fakhfak government, the country was in crisis. In the meantime, the COVID-19 tidal wave swept through and swept everything in its path. Tunisia is thus facing one of the worst crises in its post-independence history. Where is the country now? What is the government’s immediate plan and what is its rescue plan? Three ministers tried to answer these questions at a conference on Monday 13 July 2020. A press conference was held on Monday in the Kasbah in the presence of three ministers: the Minister of Finance Nizar Yaïche, the Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation Selim Azzabi and the Minister to the Head of Government in charge of Major Projects Lobna Jeribi, who came to present the rescue plan, the update of the state budget and a topo on the country’s indicators.

First important point, we learn that the government forecasts, following the studies carried out, a decrease of 6.5% (the fifth time after independence where negative growth was recorded and the second after the revolution). The decline is attributed to a decline in all sectors, four in particular, textiles and clothing, mechanical and electrical industries, transport and tourism, which account for 20% of GDP and have a high employability capacity, explained Selim Azzabi. The crisis has been “the ball of deliverance” for the country, marking the end of an archaic development model and allowing the long-awaited structural reforms to finally take place. The government’s plan has four axes: a rescue plan, financial measures, the Finance Law for next year, which includes deep structural reforms in addition to a development plan that will allow the implementation of a new economic model and which will be announced in the first quarter of 2021.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.

July 13, 2020: Release of credits for tourist establishments

The Minister of Tourism and Handicraft, Mohamed Ali Toumi, affirms that credits will be released for the benefit of tourist establishments. And this during his intervention on the radio waves of Mosaïque FM. A decision which would comfort the tourist establishments impacted by COVID-19. Indeed, tourist establishments have applied for assistance and subsidies. And this underfunding of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a reminder, the tourism sector was hit hard by the pandemic. It is a crisis that has affected the sector in more ways than one. That is why the government has put in place several measures to resolve the situation. Indeed, a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in Tunisia carried out among the members of the “Fédération Interprofessionnelle du Tourisme Tunisien” (FI2T) showed that after the deconfinement, 48% of the members had to lay off part of their staff during or after the containment. According to a survey carried out by the FI2T, the loss of staff in the sector is estimated at 32%. Knowing that companies in difficulty have laid off an average of 71% of their workforce. Indeed, 70% of FI2T members have also started reopening with negative cash flow. This compares with 31% of members who were unable to resume their activities even partially. Affirms the consulting firm Quantylix, which specializes in financial engineering consulting.

For more information (in French), please consult the following link.