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    The European Investment Bank (EIB), in collaboration with the Republic of Tunisia and PROMOS, hosted the 10th FEMIP Conference on "Mediterranean SMEs: Ready to break new ground" on Thursday 8 March 2012 in Tunis. Keynote speakers included Hamadi Jebali, Tunisia’s prime minister, Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner, Bernardino Leon, EU Special Envoy for the Southern Mediterranean (EEAS), EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Essma Ben Hamida, CEO of ENDA Inter Arabe; Maher Kallel, President of the Tunisian Business Angels Association.

    Attendees came from banks and leading companies, fund management firms, SMEs or the academic world.

    The Conference focused on supporting private sector development and the EIB’s vocation as a long-term investor.

    Three themes were discussed :

    • Access to diverse and competitive sources of financing as a primary obstacle to the development of the private sector;
    • Promoting entrepreneurship and Management education as a condition to ensure growth;
    • Reinforcing the international competitiveness of Mediterranean enterprises by repositioning them in the global market;

    Private sector development and more specifically the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Mediterranean region is one of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) priorities.