Events Ascame/ March 4, 2024/ Ascame members, Featured

We interviewed Ms. Najoua Attia, a woman entrepreneur who is the President of ASCAME’s Women Entrepreneurs Commission and President of the Cap Bon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Tunisia. We talked to her about the main challenges that facing by this institution, such as the empowerment of women in North Africa, the key role of chambers of commerce in contributing to a more inclusive region, the partnership in the INTECMED Project and its impact on the region, and the public and private cooperation to advance towards digital transformation or sustainable transition. All these issues are shared with other Mediterranean countries, so Cap Bon CCI is a great example to understand today’s main challenges of the region.

What are the main challenges facing women in North Africa?
In Africa there are still so many things to do and so many subjects to defend. Women in North Africa face significant barriers to equal opportunities in education, employment, and political participation. Traditional gender roles and societal norms often limit women’s autonomy and decision-making power. Apart from this, they have limited access to credits and loans and they are underrepresented in political leadership positions, both in government and in decision-making bodies. All these factors limit their ability to advocate for policies, in addition to limited access to healthcare social and cultural pressures.

In your opinion, what is the key role of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce in changing this situation and contributing to a more inclusive region?
I’m convinced that the openness of Mediterranean chambers of commerce, through the ASCAME network and various programs and events, is beneficial to our communities in the region. In my opinion, chambers of commerce play a crucial role in promoting a more inclusive Mediterranean by facilitating trade between countries in the region. Indeed, through ASCAME and its commissions and partner organizations, chambers have the chance to attend different networking events that are a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences. I would also like to highlight the chambers’ ongoing support for local economic development. They play a key role in encouraging SMEs to adopt diversity and inclusion policies by promoting the participation of women, young people, and minorities in the private sector. Not forgetting the cooperation programs that enable the chambers of commerce to contribute to the creation of a more inclusive Mediterranean, in which economic opportunities are accessible to all and economic development is sustainable and equitable.

How is Cap Bon CCI promoting technology transfer and innovation in Tunisia?
Our chamber of commerce is committed to promoting innovation and technology transfer almost since its creation in 1994. At this moment, the chamber amplified a network of partnerships in economic development with stakeholders on a local, national, and even international scale, combining university technology institutions, technopoles, associations and supporting organizations. Altogether we set up several actions such as linking companies with research laboratories and organizing and taking part in training courses and workshops on innovative subjects. It has been possible thanks to the INTECMED project, co-financed by ENICBC MED programme, in which Cap Bon CCI, as a partner of it, has tried to performance its part in developing the local innovation ecosystem by promoting collaboration between different stakeholders and disseminating knowledge and technologies to encourage development and help increase the value of know-how and technologies among SMEs.

Talking about INTECMED Project, what would you highlight from this experience?
In my opinion, the INTECMED project has played an important role in establishing new partnership channels between our chamber of commerce and all the partners. For instance, at the end of the project we signed a partnership agreement with the CCI Patras in Greece which will promote growth and economic development in our respective regions, as well as promoting inter-regional cooperation and innovation in the Mediterranean region. In fact, thanks to this project, we could share our experiences, knowledge and best practices in innovation, economic development and inter-regional cooperation. In addition, we strengthened our network of professional contacts and explored new opportunities.

Why cooperation in the Mediterranean region is more necessary than ever? In what sense Tunisia could be a great example to follow by other countries?
Tunisia has become a key player in Mediterranean cooperation. The support for regional cooperation in the Mediterranean is a priority for the country. In fact, Tunisia participates in various cooperation projects in areas such as energy, education, sustainable development, culture and the economy, innovation and digital transformation, aiming through these projects to promote the development of these sectors in the Mediterranean.

Finally, what is the CCI Cap Bon main’s mission and its short-term objectives?
Our chamber’s main mission and vision is to become the voice of Tunisian companies and also a catalyst for their development by offering them different services and support programmes to foster exchanges and collaboration agreements through networking events. Our main objective is promoting the attractiveness of Cap Bon region to investors and entrepreneurs from different sectors. Apart from the growth and economic reactivation of our region, the Cap Bon CCI is also focused on promoting public and private actions to face the challenge of climate change. Our region is one of the most affected by climate change, and the solution necessarily lies on a greater cooperation at all levels.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *