Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference (IEC) To Blueprint Future of North Africa Economic Growth

March 3, 2015

Contact: Andrea Shafer
Program Associate, PNB Secretariat
The Aspen Institute
+1 202 736 2282 |

Tunis, March 3, 2015 – US and Maghreb private and public sector leaders will meet in Tunis, Tunisia on March 5 to discuss ways to support and accelerate investment and entrepreneurship in the Maghreb by expanding intra-Maghreb and US-Maghreb ties. The Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference, with the theme of “Building Strategic Partnerships,” will highlight models of public-private partnerships to expand economic opportunity to North Africa in spheres ranging from finance and development to entrepreneurship, innovation, and education.  

Key participants include His Excellency Habib Essid, Tunisian Head of Government; Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State & Chair of Partners for a New Beginning; Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs; Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Bowman Cutter, Chairman of the Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund; Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of Public and Policy Programs and Seminars at the Aspen Institute; Driss Benhima, President and CEO of Royal Air Maroc; and Ali Haddad, President of ETRHB in Algeria, among other US and regional government and business leaders.

The conference will be hosted by PNB-NAPEO Tunisia, a local chapter of an inter-regional initiative based at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and job creation in the Maghreb. Amel Bouchamaoui, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Tunisia, serves as chair of PNB-NAPEO Tunisia.

Madeleine K. Albright said that the upcoming conference would offer a unique opportunity to address issues of significant importance to North Africa and a transitioning Tunisia. “With its recent elections, Tunisia has been an important example to the region and the world of a country dedicated to democracy and pluralism.”

The Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference in Tunis will bring together innovators from Tunisia and across the Middle East and North Africa who are committed to building a more prosperous and inclusive future for the region.  By encouraging foreign and domestic investment, PNB-NAPEO is working to support regional entrepreneurs while drawing on the energy of youth and women to build a brighter economic future for the Middle East and North Africa,” Dr. Albright added.

The conference will include plenaries and interactive workshops on addressing youth unemployment through entrepreneurship and education, innovative approaches to financing growth, ICT industrial development, market opportunities in the energy sector, entrepreneurship training and opportunity creation in the Maghreb, and investment opportunities and strategies. His Excellency Habib Essid, Tunisian Head of Government, will deliver opening remarks followed by a keynote by U. S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“This conference is about celebrating a key milestone in Tunisia’s democratic evolution and underscoring the importance of investment and entrepreneurship in solidifying those gains for the next generation,” said Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute, Vice-Chair of PNB. He added: “At the Aspen Institute’s PNB Secretariat, we’re proud to work alongside our partners in Tunisia, in the US Government, and in the private sector, to advance that objective by bringing the key players together for a focused discussion at this important moment in Tunisia’s history.”

The third US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference is convened by the Aspen Institute’s Partners for a New Beginning – North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity, the U.S. Department of State, and the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce. It follows on the heels of the second US-Maghreb Conference held in Marrakech, Morocco in January 2012, and will bring over 300 international participants from business, civil society, government, and NGOs.

For further information regarding the conference visit  


The North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO) is a network of U.S. and North Africa business leaders, entrepreneurs and civil society leaders with a mission to foster job creation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on youth. Over the next five years this network is committed to positively impacting 100,000 people.

PNB-NAPEO is locally-owned and locally-driven. Local Advisory Boards have been established in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. These boards identify and determine priorities and resources for their respective countries, as well as regional agendas and plans of action.

NAPEO is a regional manifestation of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB): a locally-owned and locally driven initiative, with support from a global coalition of prominent business and civil society leaders. PNB fosters partnerships that advance local priorities. The initiative is co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, Walter Isaacson and Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.

The network created by PNB-NAPEO will be the vehicle for communities in the United States and North Africa to identify, initiate and sustain projects at the Maghreb regional level to foster entrepreneurship and job creation.

For more information regarding PNB and PNB-NAPEO visit



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