The president of CEOE, Marta Blanco, spoke yesterday at the annual meeting of the MENA-OECD Business Advisory Council in Tunis, under the theme "Public-private partnerships for inclusive growth". The main objectives of the meeting are to develop a regional vision of the private sector in what should be the political priorities for achieving economic growth and job creation. It is also intended to present the new platform of Youth Business Associations, which was created in September 2018, when the MENA-OECD Business Advisory Council was launched.

The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Program have organized the second annual Regional Council Conference (BAB), which is co-chaired by UTICA and CEOE. The meeting is held within the framework of the MENA-OECD Conference in Tunisia, which includes the meeting of the Steering Group of the MENA-OECD initiative on Governance and Competitiveness (July 18) and the 11th meeting of the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME and Business Policy (June 19).

The meeting of the Business Council will be divided into a morning of thematic sessions and an afternoon with a Government-Company Summit. The thematic sessions consist of a series of panels, which will aim to gather the opinions and recommendations of the private sector on how to address key issues, such as support for the internationalization of SMEs, the reduction of corruption and the promotion of balance between men and women in the private sector. The Government-Enterprise Summit is organized around interactive debates between finance and investment ministers and heads of business organizations, to address the region's main challenges and priorities, such as the implementation of economic reforms and the construction of inclusive societies.

MENA-OECD Business Advisory Council

The president of CEOE International, Marta Blanco, explained that the Council was created in 2016 in the framework of the Ministerial Conference of the MENA-OECD Competitiveness Program, in order that the private sector achieve greater influence on legislative reforms of the region, intensifying the dialogue among public-private actors and strengthening the capacity of companies to make improvements in the region.

Blanco considered that it is necessary to have a platform that brings together the different sectors of society to find solutions to the problems of the region. He also pointed out that public-private dialogue should be integrated into a broader dialogue, involving more interlocutors, such as women and young people. According to Blanco, commercial ties should also be strengthened, in order to reduce or eliminate existing barriers, as well as relations between business organizations, since they are the ones that can favor internationalization.

Marta Blanco also stressed the need to facilitate access for companies, especially SMEs, to international markets. To achieve this, he added, international regulations should be simplified. In this regard, he insisted that for the internationalization of SMEs an adequate business environment should be developed and that the local productive fabric be developed.

The president of CEOE International stressed that, in terms of gender, it is very important to strengthen the economic, political and social position of women, to ensure growth and economic development. He also referred to young people in the MENA region and considered that access to the labor market should be facilitated for this sector. For this, he explained, it is a priority to implement policies to improve education and training programs, depending on the needs of the economy. In this line, Blanco announced the new platform of MENA-OECD Youth Business Associations, in order to help, promote and promote the access of young people in the region to the labor market.

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