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Press Release

GE hosts Supplier's Conference to strengthen Tunisia's local supply chain

May 28, 2014

Highlighting its commitment to support the Tunisian economy by driving the growth of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and strengthening the local supply chain, GE (NYSE: GE) today organized a dedicated suppliers conference under the theme, 'Supply Chain opportunities: Supporting the Growth of Tunisian SMEs.

Organized in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia, the supplier's conference attended by more than 100 suppliers highlighted the potential growth opportunities in the Tunisian industrial sector. It also served as a networking opportunity for Tunisian businesses, particularly the country's SMEs, to engage with global sourcing leaders, including GE and other American companies.

The conference focused on developing a solid supply chain in the energy, information technology, healthcare and transportation industries that has the potential to create new jobs and strengthen the economic competitiveness of the nation, which is projected to grow 3 per cent this year and 4.5 per cent in 2015, according to IMF.

The country of over 10.8 million people also has a youth population of about 40 per cent below the age of 25 years, with 35 per cent of the graduates specializing in the fields of engineering, computer science, communications and other technical fields*.

HE Mr. Hakim Ben Hamouda, Minister of Economy and Finance, said: "Developing the local supply chain is a core strategy of the Government to further accelerate economic growth by stimulating the local SMEs. It will create new jobs for Tunisian youth, boost our manufacturing sector and drive exports. GE's initiative to bring together Tunisian businesses with global business leaders serves as a strong growth opportunity for the socio-economic development of the country."

Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO of GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, said: "Since 1960, GE is a partner in the progress of Tunisia, supporting the country's progress. The conference underlines the value of building a strong local supply chain for supporting Tunisia's SME sector and creating jobs for skilled Tunisian youth. With about 11 million people, including a large pool of talented and skilled youth, developing a local supply chain in core economic sectors will help accelerate Tunisia's economic progress. Today, as GE draws on the power of big data and additive manufacturing to strengthen efficiency and productivity, the youth of Tunisia, more than 35 per cent of the graduates specialized in technical fields, are a big asset."

Amel Bouchamaoui, Chairwoman, Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce said: "The Suppliers Conference complements our mission to encourage networking between entrepreneurs in Tunisia and the US to develop economic and commercial exchanges. GE has a strong heritage in the country, and its strategic approach to promote skills, localized innovation and job creation serves as a model for other business entities seeking to build long-term ties with Tunisia."

Organizing the Suppliers Conference is part of an agreement signed by GE with the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation in November 2013 which highlighted GE's commitment to the social and economic development of the country. GE will focus on promoting exports and entrepreneurship for Tunisian youth. The key areas of interest will focus on transportation, healthcare and energy. This will include identifying potential opportunities that will support infrastructural development and human capital initiatives.

As part of the conference, several sessions on energy, information technology, healthcare and transportation are organized, enabling the participants to deep dive into the requirements of global sourcing leaders by sharing insights, know-how and expertise in their respective fields.

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