After the multidisciplinary economic forum it organized last November, the Sfax Chamber of Commerce and Industry renewed its efforts to advance cooperation and partnership with Nigeria, by organizing a specialized forum focusing on the health sector and related services.
A delegation of Nigerian businessmen and officials representing 13 Nigerian institutions from Kano state, which is the third largest after Lagos and Abuja, participated in this forum, which kicked off on Monday in a hostel in the city of Sfax, and the Nigerian ambassador to Tunisia, Azari. Edam Allotai. A number of businessmen, economic actors and representatives of health and hospital structures also participated on the Tunisian side.
This week-long economic event includes an exchange of data and common thinking about the peculiarities of the Nigerian market and prospects for Tunisian-Nigerian cooperation in the health field and related services and activities, in addition to bilateral partnership meetings between businessmen from the two countries, and field visits by the Nigerian delegation to a number of It is one of the institutions, clinics and health facilities specialized in the manufacture of medicines, health evacuation, sickness insurance and medical equipment in both Sfax and Tunis.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sfax seeks, through the initiative to organize the forum, according to its president, Reda Fourati, to value the Tunisian experience in the field of health services and health insurance, and to open promising prospects for cooperation with the Nigerian market, which is a large market estimated at more than 200 million consumers. As well as its position as the largest economic system on the continent.
Al-Furati considered that among the objectives of organizing this forum, is to sensitize Tunisian businessmen to the importance of the opportunities offered by the Nigerian market, not only for traditional sectors and products such as olive oil, seafood products and dates, but also for the health sector in which Tunisia has accumulated important experiences and successes that can be exported and valued. .
Such joint forums and meetings, according to the Chamber’s president, are among the initiatives and endeavors aimed at penetrating the African continent’s markets as a strategic depth for Tunisia and a way to reduce the trade balance deficit and improve the profitability of many promising sectors with the African continent, such as medical tourism, construction and public works, modern technologies, services and trade exchange. in general.
For her part, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Tunisia reviewed the encouraging factors for businessmen and investors to enter the Nigerian market, including the low cost of labor and the encouraging and appropriate business environment for investment in the largest economies of the continent.
It also reviewed the sectors that offer real opportunities for partnership and investment, including agricultural production, transformation of agricultural and animal products, beverages, manufacturing industries, textiles, fuels, energy, chemistry and cosmetics.
The Nigerian ambassador considered that the health sector is one of the sectors that can benefit from partnership and international cooperation in its various forms, given the weak health infrastructure and the lack of advanced facilities supported by the necessary competencies and equipment, which makes many Nigerians spend more than one billion (US) dollars annually for treatment outside the borders of Motherland.
She said that the “Covid 19” pandemic showed the extent of Nigeria’s need to invest in the health and hospital field and to encourage partnership in the purpose with abroad, especially by encouraging domestic legislation for foreign investors in hospital institutions and various health services.
The forum program included interventions by a number of specialists in the health sector, where the Director of Preventive Health at the Regional Department of Health in Sfax, Dr. Mohamed Makhlouf, gave an intervention on the hospital system of the Ministry of Health, while the specialist in emergency medicine at Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in Sfax, Dr. Laila El Sheari, gave an intervention on “evacuation.” medical and patient transportation.
On the other hand, the opening session of the forum was an occasion to raise some difficulties and obstacles, especially the difficulties of air transport and medical transport in particular. In this regard, Sami Kammoun, Head of the Chest Diseases Department at the University Hospital of Sfax, Hedi Chaker, stressed the need to establish direct airlines with Nigeria and a number of other African countries, which provide real opportunities for partnership in the health field and many other fields.
For his part, the investor in the health sector, Abdel Razzaq Al-Mathyob, called for the need to revitalize Sfax International Airport and to establish direct airlines with a number of African capitals in a way that facilitates medical transportation and hospital tourism and provides an opportunity to make good use of the capabilities offered by the system of private clinics, its expertise and advanced services in various Medical and surgical specialties.