Tunisian Corporate Governance Guide in High Demand
Tunis, Tunisia — Just days after the release of Tunisia’s new Guide to Corporate Governance Best Practices, businesses were already clamoring for more. After a year of consultation and 36 focus group meetings, CIPE partner l’Institut Arabe des Chefs d’Entreprises (IACE) launched the guide on June 25, 2008. The broad-based effort ensured buy-in from both the public and private sectors, involving academic experts, the Financial Market Council, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, the Association of Internal Auditors, and prominent businesspeople.
This diverse team created the guide within the unique context of Tunisian business, giving particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises and family businesses. The guide is framed by a number of central themes, including protecting the rights of minority shareholders, strengthening boards of directors, adhering to ethical behavior, and fiscal transparency. Olfa Zribi, one of the focus group experts, supported the guide as a “collection of policies and recommendations that owners or managers will be able to use to optimize their future successes through professional and ethical standards.” The new guide fits well with the Tunisian preference for a system of self-regulation, rather than a legally-binding code.
In his keynote remarks at the guide’s launch, CIPE board member John Stout emphasized the importance of corporate governance in developing an effective board of directors. Patrick Saerens, a corporate governance expert, noted at the launch that the guide’s focus on tax transparency and environmental and social responsibility were items that differentiated the Tunisian guide from others in the region. ♦
The new guide is available on CIPE’s website at www.cipe.org/regional/menacg.