The Atlanta-based North African Business Council will be represented by local attorney, Kenneth Cutshaw, at an economic development conference in Tunisia, March 17-23, organized by the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce, aimed at expanding trade ties between the North African country and the United States.

“Our primary focus will be on identifying economic development strategies for the country,” Mr. Cutshaw told GlobalFax of the conference’s objectives. “But we also see this event as an opportunity to improve trade relations with a Muslim country in the wake of Sept. 11.”

Mr. Cutshaw will make a presentation during the conference on the positive role economic development zones could play in attracting foreign investment to Tunisia, considered one of the more stable economies in North Africa.

The U.S. delegation, which includes educators from Frances Marion University in South Carolina as well as international training specialists, will be led by former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley. Mr. Beasley will also deliver a presentation on how Tunisia can best take advantage of foreign investment.  

Mr. Cutshaw said he hopes to discuss with Tunisia’s government ministers the possibility of opening the Tunisian economy to franchising, which is prohibited under current government policy.

He added that he sees franchising and agribusiness as the most likely opportunities for trade between Georgia and Tunisia in the future.

Delegates will meet with Tunisia’s minister of economic development and minister of international cooperation and foreign investment during their stay and travel south from Tunis to the cities of Sfax, Tozeur and Zarsis.

The Tunisian chamber has also set up trade meetings with representatives of Tunisia’s agribusiness, automotive, banking, engineering, information technology, legal consulting, software and textile industries for those interested in exploring business relationships.

The North African Business Council was established in 1999 to improve trade relations between the U.S. and the North African region known as the Maghreb, including Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Contact Chadli Belarbi, executive director of the Tunisian Chamber, at for information. Contact Mr. Cutshaw at