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IFA Hosts Tunisia Franchise Forum

IFA Hosts Tunisia Franchise Forum

By Beth Solomon
International Franchise Association members answered a call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Nov. 15 to join an unprecedented Tunisia Partnerships Forum bringing together investors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and franchise leaders to spur economic development in the nation that launched the so-called Arab Spring.
Johnny Rockets Senior Vice President, International Development Steve Devine, Hilton Worldwide Vice President and Senior Counsel Karen Satterlee, CFE, MSA Worldwide Managing Director Kay Ainsley, CFE, and HSBC Bank Vice President Rokas Beresniovas responded to the Secretary’s call to meet a Tunisian delegation in support of the nation’s democratic transition. These industry leaders fostered franchise partnerships at a special IFA session hosted by DLA Piper Senior Partner and IFA General Counsel Philip Zeidman, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and other organizations that attended the unique event.
“Tunisia was never on the whiteboard,” said OPIC Chief Elizabeth Littlefield. “We had always seen it as a beautiful place where French investors go. Only 6 percent of the 1,300 foreign investments in Tunisia were American. We are definitely changing that, especially since Tunisia has a strategic location and a highly educated workforce,” she said.
When the Secretary’s office alerted IFA to Tunisian leaders’ focus on franchising, IFA believed it was important to respond. Franchising offers education, training, and small business ownership that can help people all over the world improve their lives and enhance global stability.
Recognizing the value of this unique American export, OPIC and other international investment organizations are launching franchise finance programs to encourage U.S. brands to grow overseas. 

Beth Solomon is vice president, strategic initiatives and industry relations of the International Franchise Association.
She can be reached at 202-662-0789 or

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