The first national meeting of the Sustainable Investment Task Force took place in Tunis on 10 December 2021.
This initiative, led by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) and its local partner, the Centre International des Technologies de l’Environnement de Tunis (CITET) in the framework of the SwitchMed programme, brought together almost 50 representatives of organisations currently working in the green and circular economy sector, including Expertise France, GIZ, the European Commission, Smart Capital, Enda, and Redstart, in to discuss the possibilities of investment support for companies in the sector.
During the first part of the day, participants had access to the results of the regional survey on sustainable finance, launched last September by SCP/RAC, which highlighted that the sectors of the green economy in Tunisia which present the most interesting opportunities from a financial standpoint are:
– 60% Sustainable food and agriculture
– 50% Renewable energy and energy efficiency
– 30% Sustainable tourism
During the day, four start-ups also shared their experiences and the difficulties they have faced in securing investment. In this regard, the statement from Mr Selim Slimi, the founder of Colibri, was particularly interesting. Colibri is a start-up that manages the collection of recyclable waste from households and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using a reward system. Mr Slimi stated:
‘Creating a business that works in the circular economy takes time. It takes patience, especially when companies like Hummingbird are also doing a lot of work to change the culture and perception. This is what investors need to understand. They need to be prepared to wait for change.’
During the day’s proceedings, the task Force was also able to identify several issues as being particularly important for promoting the adoption of sustainable investment practices. Among the points identified, particularly in terms of the main obstacles to the development of green economic policy in Tunisia, were a lack of governance, followed by an inadequate regulatory framework and a general lack of awareness. When it came to identifying barriers to accessing finance, it was established that limited supply and less than adequate support for start-up businesses, combined with a lack of organisation on the part of lenders, are causing difficulties for businesses.
This work will continue into the first quarter of 2022, focusing on identifying key points on which to work together in order to foster an approach which is better adapted to the needs identified.
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