TUNISIA: ITALIAN INDUSTRIAL PARK AT ENFIDHA AIRPORT
(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) - TUNIS - In 2003 it was a bet, maybe risky: to leave the sound base to go outside Italy, to find new outlets for the company in an unknown country, Tunisia, representing a reasonable business risk. A bet that has now been won. The company is one of the most solid construction firms in Italy's northeast, Isnardo Carta, with its main plant in Vicenza area, in Montecchio Precalcino. With the fears of six years ago behind them, where an empty lot was today there is an enormous construction site, almost finished. Here 50 hectares are the first part of what will be the Enfidha Industrial park, which other than taking the name of the place (almost between Tunis and Sous), is also a project that will become the country's main industrial hub. In a few weeks time the airport will open, named after President Bel Ali and which fully operational (just the first terminal will open in October) will have 20 million passengers annually. A few kilometres away the deep water port (17 metres) will be able to accept the biggest container ships and process substantial amounts of domestic and especially foreign cargo. But a request from President Ben Ali has led to the inclusion of a productive system and the birth of the Industrial Park, with the commitment of the Vicenza company. The initial idea has already been realized with the single lots in the first part nearly all sold and the path towards expanding the industrial areas already cleared. A small industrial city, with all urban planning requirements (roads, power, water) and capable to making every unit operational. For example there is Dainese (GP and 125 racing bike suits) and the French Zodiac (the maker of accessorized dinghies) but there is also machinery, cosmetics, and foodstuffs that can be exported by air from October and by ship in a few years. During the busiest phase of the project Carta had up to 300 employees which naturally dropped when the units were finished but may increase whith the construction of the second lot. But the original group of about ten very qualified workers stayed with the company with various responsibilities. Isnardo Carta, grandson of the company founder and current president, explained that the decision to leave the Balkans (where he worked for ERDB, NATO and the French Army) in a few words. ''We decided to invest in the industrial park because it was difficult to imagine a complex project like Enfidha anywhere else''. Of course it was not easy to overcome some of the Tunisian bureaucracy (just getting property deeds can be an undertaking) but in the end all went well. In Tunis, in the workshop organised by Apreime, it was stated that the time of 'hit and run' was over. Marco Carta, son and colleague of the president, said ''even when the last unit is sold we will stay here, maybe in another area, but we will stay in Tunisia''. (ANSAmed).