The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Tunisia in Seoul to The Korea Post for publication on the occasion of the National Day of Tunisia on March 20, 2014.?Ed.
On March 20th, Tunisia will be celebrating the 58th anniversary of its Independence and the setting up of the first Republic which coincides this year with the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Tunisia and the Republic of Korea, founded on friendship, mutual respect, dialogue and fruitful cooperation.
Today, Korea is among the countries that have shown real willingness in backing Tunisia in its democratization process, initiated in the aftermath of the Revolution of 17 December 2010- 14 January 2011, and recently culminated in the adoption of a New Constitution, a progressive and comprehensive document ushering an era of the rule of Law, liberty and dignity for all Tunisians to build a brighter future for the country in political, economic and social levels within an irreversible democracy.
And we are confident that the cooperation between the two countries will intensify in all fields and be upgraded to higher levels thanks to the political will of both parties.
In this regard, I would like to mention the visit to Tunisia of Korea’s Public Procurement Service Administrator (PPS), in January 2013, as part of the official announcement of the launch of the operational phase of pilot project of online public procurement in Tunisia, called "e-procurement".
This project, the first implemented in Africa, aims to confer further transparency, efficiency and equality to the system of public procurements”. The achievement started in early 2012 by the "Samsung SBS" company thanks to a Korean government grant of 5.7 million dollars allocated by Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) to the Tunisian National Observatory of Public Procurements.
On the other side, the government of Tunisia dispatched its Minister of ICTs on a work visit to Korea in October 2013, to take part as speaker in “Seoul CyberConference” and have meetings with Korean officials in charge of the ICTs sector on top of them the 2nd Vice-Minister for Sciences, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP). Within the framework of the follow-up of this visit and the outcome of his reunions, a delegation representing MSIP and KISA (Korea Internet Security Agency) has recently visited Tunisia to discuss future cooperation between the two parties in different areas related to this strategic sector.
At the parliamentary level, the President of the Foreign affairs and Unification Committee at the Korean National Assembly has recently visited Tunisia to congratulate the Tunisian people on the adoption of its new consensual progressive constitution, show support to the Tunisian Democratization process and discuss way and means to upgrade bilateral cooperation in different fields. The attention given by the Korean National Assembly for the democratic transition in Tunisia was also illustrated by a visit of a delegation led by the President of Korea-Tunisia parliamentary Friendship Group to Tunis in December 2013.
As far as investment and trade are concerned, there are plans to dispatch business delegations to Tunisia most probably in the second part this year to explore investment and trade opportunities with Tunisia. In this regard, we are hopeful that the Korean FDI inflows to Tunisia will steadily grow in the future. In addition, the trade between Tunisia and Korea which amounted more than 400 millions USD are also expected to rise in the coming years as there is a greater interest of the Korean market to attract more Tunisian products especially agro-food, garment., electrical equipments.
Furthermore, both parties are now working closely together to enhance their cooperation in the forest and environmental sectors through holding joint meetings and workshops in order to come up with concrete actions to be announced later this year.
In the field of culture and tourism, I am convinced that there is a large scope of cooperation and people to people exchanges.
In fact Tunisia as Korea has an extraordinarily vivid and dynamic cultural life. Tunisia is known for its longstanding openness to the foreign cultures and in the last years the Korean wave has been overwhelming received. In fact, according to Global Hallyu Data 2013, published by the Korea Foundation (KF), the biggest growth was in Africa and the Middle East where the number of fans increased three-fold to 60,000, while fan clubs almost doubled to 76 from 36 by country, Tunisia has the most fan clubs with 25.
Tunisia which many specialized magazines consider as the Next Big Travel Destination and its Island of Djerba among the ten world's new hottest cities, could also be a privileged destination for Korean travelers. With this in mind, we are working with several Korean tour operators in order to increase the number of Korean travelers to Tunisia.
In fact, Tunisia is not only known for its idyllic sandy beaches, but also for its wide range of tourist products, such as:
- Health tourism, which is already the principal magnet for many tourists. Today Tunisia is second world destination for Thalassotherapy (medical treatment with sea water).
- Leisure tourism, with nearly twenty golf modern courses along the country, and other several kinds of sport activities including sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, and camel & horseback riding.
- Cultural tourism, Tunisia has outstanding historical treasures, including over 20.000 archeological sites and hundreds of monuments, museums, with many world heritage sites.
- Saharan tourism, Tunisia is practically among the few countries in the world which can offer its visitors the impressive Sahara desert offering unique sceneries of mountain villages & oases and unforgettable ramblings.
Resume of Ambassador Nafti:
Born in Tunis in 19th of May, 1959
06/1982 Master of Combined Languages - Arabic - French - English - Spanish
Relevant Coursework: Economics and international organizations.
Bourguiba Institute of Languages, University of Tunis.
07/1982 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunis, Tunisia
Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Arab and Asian countries)
01/1988 Tunisian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Served as first secretary
Supervised the information sector and organized several workshops
Facilitated cultural matters
8/1993-9/1994 Organization of Islamic Conference (OCI), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Official representative of Tunisia
1994 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunis, Tunisia
Promoted as counsellor of Foreign Affairs
Appointed as head of Section in the department of cooperation with Arab countries
1996 Tunisian Embassy in Athens, Athens, Greece
Served as Charge d'Affaires a.i.
Coordinated and Facilitated the diplomatic cultural and economic relations between both countries
2002 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunis, Tunisia
Appointed Assistant Director
*Foreign Affairs Minister' Office Advisor
2005 Promoted to The rank of Plenipotentiary Minister
2005 -2010 Tunisian Embassy in Madrid, Spain
Appointed as Charge d'Affaires a.i.
Ambassador's representative in several protocol events
Facilitated economic cultural and social relations between Tunisia the Spain
Planned and organized several events and seminars
Sept.2010/Jan.2011 Presidency of Tunisian Republic
Attache in the diplomatic Department
01/2011 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunis, Tunisia
Executive in the Minister's office
July 2011/ October 2012 * Head of Information and Communication Department
Since November 26, 2012 Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia in Seoul
- Participated during a 30 years career as official representative in the Tunisian delegation in many Summits, international Conferences and Symposia, mainly the Organization of United Nations (General Assembly 2003 session) and the Arab States League and Organization for Islamic Cooperation as well as European Union and several other regional for such as Mediterranean
- Facilitated within official delegations the cooperation with number of states
- Participated in various professional trainings in Tunisia and abroad, particularly in Belgium and the rest of Benelux countries
Languages: Arabic (mother language) Fluent in English, French, Proficient in Spanish
Marital status: Married, and father of two daughters