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Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund (TAEF)
 

The United States is providing funding for the Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund (TAEF), a private corporation, to promote the development of the Tunisian private sector with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).   The U.S. provided the TAEF with an initial grant of $20 million, which is administered by USAID.  Until the Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund (TAEF) opens its office in Tunis, all inquiries regarding the fund should be submitted via email to: info@taefund.org.

Background

In May 2011, President Obama announced that he would seek authority to fund a Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund to promote the development of the Tunisian private sector.  After many years of economic growth, GDP declined in the last two years in the wake of the revolution, lower remittances and slowing growth in the EU.  The objective of the TAEF is to invest in SMEs to promote inclusive economic growth and employment. 

On July 9, 2013, the U.S. provided an initial grant of $20 million, the majority of which will be used to make loans and private equity investments.  Future tranches of funding are expected to further capitalize the TAEF over the next several years, and the fund will seek to leverage private capital for investments as well.  The TAEF will seek to develop an investment portfolio which, over the long term, will make it self-sustaining.

TAEF Board of Directors and Management

The board of directors will determine the investment priorities of the TAEF and evaluate individual investments.   The board will be comprised of six private U.S. citizens and three private Tunisian citizens who have had international business careers and demonstrated expertise in international and emerging markets investment activities.  Six directors, including Chairman Bowman Cutter, have been elected and the Board continues to recruit the three remaining directors.  The Board will hire a small staff in Tunis to manage the administrative affairs for the TAEF.  

The exact nature of TAEF transactions will be determined by the board of directors and executive management of the TAEF.  It is anticipated that the TAEF will make both equity investments and loans, and seek to develop financial transactions and instruments which are appropriate to the existing circumstances of the Tunisian economy and financial sector including investments in financial institutions, private equity funds, private equity co-investment vehicles and/or separate accounts that delegate the discretion to make underlying investments to investment managers.  The TAEF may also deliver technical assistance or engage third parties to undertake or finance technical assistance activities that directly support investments and potential investments.   

USAID will oversee implementation of the $20 million grant to the TAEF.