Tunis, 29 December, 2012. – A two-day International Conference on Productive work for youth in Tunisia and in the MENA region was held in Tunis on 28-29 November, 2012. Organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with the European Union, the aim of the event was to help develop and expand enterprises within Tunisia’s labour-intensive sectors, while focusing on young university graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit from less-developed regions of the country. The event was attended by Hamadi Jebali, the Prime Minister of Tunisia; Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission; and Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO, among other participants.
UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi took part in the opening session of the conference highlighting the importance of this event “as a great opportunity to deepen the debate on opportunities for investment and employment in the Southern Mediterranean countries”. He also announced that the Union for the Mediterranean is preparing the organization of a regional conference on investment, development and employment in the Mediterranean region, to be held next March 2013 in Tunisia.
During this visit to Tunis, Secretary General Sijilmassi had a meeting with the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rafik Abdessalem, and laid emphasis on the role that Tunisia continues playing in reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. Foreign Affairs Minister Abdessalem said that “the cooperation with the UfM is placed among the priorities of the Tunisian Foreign Affairs policy”, and praised the efforts of the UfM Secretary General to hold in Tunisia a regional conference on such important topic.
Secretary General Sijilmassi also had meetings with the Minister of Economic and Social Affairs, Ridha Saidi, focusing on bilateral cooperation in the sectors of Renewable Energy, Economics, and Civil Affairs, and the Tunisian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Riadh Bettaieb.
He held talks with Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO, and Bernardino León, the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Southern Mediterranean, at the margins of the conference.