The agenda reportedly included Qatar’s $2 billion “low interest” loan to Tunisia as well as a donation of 2 million Covid-19 vaccines.
A visit by Tunisian Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Interior Hichem Mechichi to Qatar this week was “successful by all standards” and carried “positive messages” to enhancing the ties between the two countries, the official said.
“I express my happiness and pride in this successful visit. Our visits as Tunisian officials have always been a source of comfort and pride,” the Tunisian official told Qatar News Agency [QNA] on Monday, at the end of his visit to the Gulf state.
Mechichi and his delegation met with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Monday to discuss relations between the two countries.
Shortly after, he met with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani shortly as well as officials from the Qatar Investment Authority.
— وكالة الأنباء القطرية (@QatarNewsAgency) June 1, 2021
“I’ve felt the extent of the Qatari leadership’s keenness to continuously support and assist Tunisia,” he said, commenting on his meeting with the Amir.
He added that Qatar has been a “strong supporter and a great advocate for Tunisians”, most notably in the latest democratic transitions.
“Qatar and Tunisia hold strategic and exceptional relations at all levels and we work wholeheartedly to continuously develop and support them,” said Mechichi, adding that Doha is one of the most important investors in Tunis.
The Tunisian official also stated that his country is committed to providing facilities to Qatari investors free of obstacles and said the possible organisation of a joint Tunisian-Qatari economic forum to encourage investment was also brought to the table of discussions.
“This is a positive message that reflects that there is faith in Tunisia and its ability to rise and overcome the current difficulties, given its great potential in attracting foreign investment,” he said, pointing to investment opportunities in Tunis in the fields of renewable energy, industry, information technology and others.
Mechichi also touched on the FIFA World Cup 2022, stressing the significance of hosting it in the region as its success will reflect on Arabs.
The Tunisian official also praised Qatar’s role in promoting peace and stability, commending its support in the transitional political process in Libya.
Earlier statements by Riadh Chaibi, a political adviser to the head of the Ennhada party, Rachid Ghannouchi, said that he expected Qatar to sponsor an international investment conference in the hope of attracting up to $25 billion worth of investments to Tunisia over the next five years.
In a Facebook post, Chaibi said Tunisia could potentially receive a $2 billion loan from Qatar that is expected to be deposited in the coming months, as well as two million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. However, no further statements were released on this regard.
The adviser also pointed to an agreement over doubling work contracts for the number of Tunisians in Qatar to exceed 50,000.
Qatar and Tunisia hold strong bilateral ties and share over 80 agreements and memoranda in various fields, including telecommunications, banking and tourism.
In 2016, Sheikh Tamim allocated $1.25 billion in support of Tunis’ economy prior to the Tunisia 2020″ international investment conference.
Qatari exports to Tunisia have also increased almost six times over the past decade, while Tunisian exports to Qatar rose tenfold during the same period.
The Qatar Fund For Development has also been encouraging private initiatives and projects to create jobs for thousands of Tunisian youth while fostering entrepreneurship in Qatar through the 2017 Qatari-Tunisian Friendship Fund.