The WFE 2020 Series: Bilel Sahnoun, Chief Executive Officer, Bourse de Tunis

By: Bilel Sahnoun, Chief Executive Officer, Bourse de Tunis Jan 2020

1. As we kick off the year 2020, please can you look further into the future, and share your predictions on what the Tunisian market infrastructure industry might look and feel like by 2025? 

Tunisia will start the year 2020 with a new Parliament and a new Government. All political and economic actors agree that the next five years will signify the economic and social development of our country.

Capital markets, which have not yet played their full role in financing the Tunisian economy, must occupy a position of importance and reliability in the financial ecosystem through new regulation, new financial products, greater growth and more liquidity, as well as attracting a variety of investors who will be more interested in the Tunisian Market.

The modernisation of our regulatory framework, which will allow the diversification of supply, is underway with the assistance of the EBRD.

State owned companies have real potential to increase our volumes and end up appearing on the radar of investors.

Our goal for 2025 is to be classified as an 'Emerging Market'. We'll get there.

2. And how is your firm getting ready for the changes you’ve outlined above? 

We already have all the ingredients to achieve it.

Our market is organised according to international standards. We use the most developed technologies in partnership with EURONEXT. We are, among the few exchanges, certified ISO 27001, thus mastering the IT security of our systems. We develop CSR policy promotion programs for listed companies.

Finally, we are ready to welcome political decisions to access new levels of capitalisation and trading volumes.

3. Entering a new decade is not just about looking ahead; it’s also a good time for reflecting on the past. What’s the top lesson you’ve personally learned from the past ten years?

The last ten years have been necessary to enable the democratic transition in Tunisia. Politics and the social issues have often prevailed over economic choices. In addition to regulatory changes, we felt a real need to support SMEs, the backbone of our economy, in raising non-bank funds. That’s why we revisited the functioning of the Alternative Market in September 2019, reserving it exclusively to qualified investors. We also launched a pilot programme, with the British Cooperation and the AfDF, to help 120 SMEs raise funds in the capital market.