The Swedish-North African Business Day 2014 Successfully Highlighted Benefits of Consolidating Trade Partnerships
For the second time, SWENACC organized its highly appreciated conference “the Swedish-North African Business Day”. The event, held at KPMG’s Stockholm office, was attended by around 70 key participants from industries and organisations in Sweden as well as important representatives from Algeria (FCE), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and Morocco (Attijariwafa bank).
The Swedish-North African Business Day is the only event to focus on Swedish and North African economic relations and it underlined the very positive developments regarding Swedish-North African trade. It also reflected the importance of building stronger business relations by establishing long term win-win partnerships.
The conference, held in partnership with KPMG, was opened by a statement of SWENACC’s Chairman, former Ambassador Mathias Mossberg, and a keynote speech from the State Secretary at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Annika Söder. They both pointed out the importance of intensifying the economic dialogue in order to strengthen trade between Sweden and North Africa and emphasized SWENACC’s significant contribution to fulfil this objective. Mr. Allal Ouazzani, who is advisor to the Secretary General at the UfM, followed up and highlighted the important initiatives taken by the UfM and the importance of a consistent dialogue between Sweden and North Africa to strengthen trade relations.
After the opening speeches Mrs. Fatma Omrani, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Tunisia in Stockholm, and Mr. Ludvig Hermansson, Market Unit Manager at Business Sweden in Maghreb & French Speaking Africa, presented their views on trade challenges and opportunities in the business exchange between North Africa and Sweden, and underlined the significant increase in Swedish-North African trade during 2014.
Thereafter speeches were given by the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board (EKN) and Attijariwafa Bank, who presented their tools in order to support Swedish exporting companies with financing solutions. The morning session was then rounded up by an interesting presentation by KPMG on the true value of sustainable responsibility and work.
After lunch, the conference consisted of two workshops, one on major infrastructure projects in Algeria with a presentation from Mr. Mehdi Bendimerad, Member of the Executive Committee at the FCE, and one on the business situation in Libya with a presentation of Mr. David Montgomery, CEO for WSP International and member of SWENACC’s board. The workshop on Libya succeeded in creating a comprehensive discussion on challenges and future opportunities in Libya with several distinguished participants. The workshop with Mr. Bendimerad offered a unique opportunity for participating companies to learn more about the coming Algerian five-year plan for infrastructure and network with a high-level representative from the Algerian business community.
An interesting panel debate followed the workshops, where the speakers further discussed the topics brought up during the event, before the CEO of the International Council of Swedish Industry (NIR), Jonas Borglin summed up the conference emphasizing the importance of a strengthened cooperation between parties in Sweden and North Africa, and of events such as the Swedish-North African Business Day.
The business day ended with a pleasant reception at the Tunisian embassy where the discussions continued while Tunisian food and refreshments were served from the generous buffet.