TUNIS: Tunisian National Railway Company has received 60 Chinese-made rail cars dedicated to cereals transport.
These cars were produced by Baotou Beifang Chuangye, a Chinese company specializing in the manufacture of freight vehicles with great potential for international development and competitiveness. Ridha Saidi, the adviser to Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, said these rail cars will be used for the transport of grain on two lines, connecting the capital Tunis to Bizerte in the north and Ghardimaou in the northwest.
According to Saidi, the economic and trade cooperation between Tunisia and China “should take more intense pace.” “Tunisia will sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative, and it will certainly have a positive influence in strengthening bilateral cooperation and attracting Chinese investors to do business in Tunisia,” he said.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aim at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
Tourism industry employs over 21m people in Africa
ADDIS ABABA: The tourism industry created employment opportunities for over 21 million people in Africa, the African Union (AU) said on Monday.
The AU revealed in a statement on Monday that the tourism industry’s share in the total workforce of the African continent has also reached 6.5 percent. “The value of the industry now stands at over 160 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for almost 8 percent of GDP, thus exceeding the contributions from manufacturing and banking sectors,” the statement quoted Amani Abou-Zeid, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, and Tourism, as saying.
“That is why we are making sure it (the tourism sector) takes its due place,” Abou-Zeid stressed. She, however, noted that the African continent should work in the promotion of the tourism sector by developing better tourism promotion strategies, improvement of Africa’s image and branding tourism in the continent.
“Our priority on the continent now should be to optimize the role of tourism based on the agenda NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development)/AU action plan,” she said. “As flagship projects of AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the Continental Free Trade Area are first steps and an excellent opportunity for boosting the tourism sector in Africa,” the commissioner underscored.
Abou-Zeid further stressed the need to do various tasks and forging a new partnership among AU and other organizations that include AU members states to “make Africa the preferred destination through the creation of a unique “Brand Africa.”
‘Terrorists’ attack French soldiers in troubled Mali
BAMAKO: French soldiers operating in troubled northern Mali were targeted by “terrorists” in an ambush on Sunday, the third attack in the country in just days.
The ambush underscores the fragile security situation in the West African nation as it prepares to go to the polls on July 29. A spokesman for the French military said there were no deaths among the French troops but it was not known if there were other casualties in the attack, which took place in the restive Gao region. “French soldiers of the Barkhane military operation were ambushed by terrorists” near the town of Bourem, a Western military source told the Media, referring to the French mission in the country.
A Malian military source confirmed the incident, which came two days after a deadly attack on the Mali headquarters of a five-nation regional force known as G5 Sahel. Fatouma Wangara, a resident of Gao, said the French convoy was clearly targeted by a suicide car bomb. “An armored vehicle blocked the way and the car blew up,” she said. Another resident told AFP that the area around the ambush had been sealed off by French soldiers.
Free trade, crises in spotlight as AU leaders meet
NOUAKCHOTT: African leaders meet in Mauritania from Sunday for a two-day summit focusing on free trade, funding, corruption and the continent’s many security crises.
More than 40 heads of state or government are expected in the capital Nouakchott, joined on Monday by French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to make a push for a security initiative in the Sahel. Rwandan leader Paul Kagame, who holds the presidency of the 55-nation African Union (AU), will make a call to promote free trade.
Currently, African countries only conduct about 16 percent of their business with each other, the smallest amount of intra-regional trade compared to Latin America, Asia, North America and Europe. But change is in the air. In March, 44 nations signed a pact in March to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) – billed as the world’s largest in terms of participating countries. The fruit of two years of negotiations, the CFTA is one of the AU’s flagship projects for greater African integration.