July 17, 2014
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tunis, Tunisia
His Excellency Mr. Mongi Hamdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
the Republic of Tunisia, and
Ladies and gentlemen,
From the outset, allow me to offer my sincere condolences for the victims of the militant attack which happened near Tunisian - Algerian border yesterday in this country.
It is my great honor to have this opportunity to sign two loan agreements with Mr. Mongi Hamdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Rachid Ben Daly, Chairman of the STEG.
The two loans will finance the "Mejerda River Flood Control Project" and the "Rades Combined Cycle Power Plant Construction Project".
First of all, let me congratulate the people of Tunisia and the government of Tunisia on their steady process of democratization.
It was really encouraging for me to hear that the National Assembly decided to hold legislative and presidential elections by the end of this year. These elections will certainly solidify the foundation of Tunisia's democratization and further social and economic development.
I believe that they will show to the world that Tunisia is an attractive country to foreign direct investment as well as tourism.
I understand, however, Tunisia still faces remaining challenges, in particular those of employment and disparity among regions.
In this regard, I would like to assure you that JICA is committed to continuing to be an active partner for Tunisia and further support its development efforts.
Today, I will sign two loan agreements.
One is for the "Mejerda River Flood Control Project". As you know, the Mejerda River is the largest river in Tunisia, and it has brought fertility to the land from the ancient period. But, it also causes inundation repeatedly. This project will not only mitigate flood disaster risks, but also transfer Japanese experiences to improve resilience of communities against such disasters.
As Japan will host the UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015, I hope this project will demonstrate Japan's commitment to jointly tackling challenges of natural disasters with the international community, including the Tunisian people.
The other loan is for the "Rades Combined Cycle Power Plant Construction Project". The demand for electricity is sharply increasing in Tunisia. In the summer of 2012, for example, Tunisia experienced a series of planned blackouts due to high demand for electricity.
I hope that the Project will ease the tight situation of power supply-demand and set the basis for Tunisia to tackle current critical challenges, such as economic recovery and job creation.
Lastly, I sincerely hope that these projects will be executed swiftly and smoothly, thus bringing about quick and positive impacts for the Tunisian people.
Thank you very much.