Hamid Abdel-Rahman Saif wants to expand his nascent marketing company into North Africa. He’s tried Egypt, but with so much red tape and “fees” to get any agreement with the government to let him open an office in the Egyptian capital, he has decided to take his push to Tunisia. “My project hasn’t even been launched yet and we are being made to pay all sorts of fees in Egypt if we want to try and have an official office,” Saif said of his company, currently call Marketing Saudi Enterprises, but added he will likely change it to something more inclusive. In Tunisia, the investment ministry, he continues “has been easier to work with and they seem open to the idea of Saudi and other foreign Arab businesspeople in coming to the country, so that is optimistic.” This week, the Tunisia Ministry of Investment and International Corporation held a session on the very topic with Saudi businessmen. The business leaders, according to the ministry, “were briefed on investment options in Tunisia.” Representatives of the ministries of investment and international co-operation, transport, finance and industry took part in this meeting. Works of the 7th edition of the Tunisian-Saudi business council aimed to discuss ways to develop economic cooperation between the two countries opened Tuesday in Tunis. The volume of Saudi investments in Tunisia reached 363.4 million Tunisian dinars, according to statistics published Tuesday by the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA). According to the same source, 38 Saudi joint ventures employing 3,100 persons are based in Tunisia. Tunisia’s exports to Saudi Arabia reached 20.3 million dinars while imports were at 294 million dinars in 2011. For those like Saif, who want to expand their projects into new markets, if Egypt is off-limits at the current time, Tunisia seems to be opening its borders to international investment in an effort to boost the country’s economy, which has seen a slight boost over one year since an uprising ousted the former government.