Tunis is planning a series of public private partnerships (PPPs) to realise a raft of new infrastructure projects as part of its 2002-06 economic programme, Development & International Co-operation Minister Mohamed Nouri Jouini told MEED in late June (MEED 24:6:05, Cover Story).

‘A number of major infrastructure projects are planned for the next few years: a new airport at Enfidha; a new port, probably at Enfidha or in the north of the country; a new northeast-northwest highway; a highway to connect to the border with Libya in the south and a project to the southwest towards Algeria; improvements to the quality of electricity transmission; improvements to telecommunications infrastructure; and in 2006 tenders will be launched for a major logistics centre on Lake Tunis,’ said Jouini.

A revised bidding schedule is expected by mid-July for the 40-year build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession on the estimated $450 million airport at Enfidha on the central east coast. A consortium of Aeroports de Paris and Vinci, both of France, and a group comprising France’s Aeroports de Nice, Canada’s SNC Lavalinand Hochtief of Germany are among the bidders for the contract.

The original list of seven prequalifiers has shrunk to six following Hochtief’s decision to join forces with its rival. Bidders want to see traditionally low landing rights and passenger fees increased and the inclusion of Monastir airport in the concession (MEED 22:4:05).

Work is due to begin in August on the construction of a 98-kilometre motorway from M’saken, 12 kilometres south of Sousse, to Sfax by a consortium of local and international companies, including the Sousse-based Entreprise H’Mila. There are plans to extend the motorway south to Gabes, and later to Ben Gardane by the Libyan border in the southeast.

Work is also under way on the completion of the 100-kilometre Tunis-Beja motorway. The 60-kilometre section between Mejez el-Bab and the capital is expected to open in July. The client is the Ministere de l’Equipement, de l’Habitat et de l’Amenagement du Territoire.

The government in 2003 launched a study into the feasibility of private sector participation in Mediterranean infrastructure in conjunction with the World Bank and the EU. ‘We have a clear political commitment to support PPP,’ says Mabrouk Mejri, a senior official at the Ministry of Development & International Co-operation.