Published on Arab Voices

Profiles of the Diaspora: Mounir Beltaifa

There are approximately 20 million citizens of the Middle East and North Africa region living abroad. For their countries of origin and the region as a whole, they represent a potential goldmine of knowledge, skills and business networks that remain largely untapped. A new World Bank report Mobilizing the Middle East and North Africa Diaspora for Economic Integration and Entrepreneurship makes the case for regional governments to partner with their diaspora as they can be a source of much more than remittances alone. This blog series aims to introduce readers to individual members of the diaspora, to put a human face on the vast potential they represent.
Mounir Beltaifa

It has been 34 years since Mounir Beltaifa left Tunisia for France, spending five of those years in Morocco. Beltaifa was born in Kalâa Kébira, Tunisia, in 1964, and attended primary and secondary school in Sousse, where he distinguished himself as a student. In 1981, he packed his bags for Paris, where he enrolled in preparatory courses for admission to the  grandes écoles (France’s system of elite universities). He completed his academic curriculum and graduated from the civil engineering school,  École des Ponts/ParisTech, in 1988.

Beltaifa then began his career with CGI, a subsidiary of information technologies and communications giant, IBM. His mission for IBM France was to organize the transformation of its commercial staff at a time when IBM was in the process of making a global strategic transition from a products to service business.

In search of new adventures, he continued to Ernst & Young, where he stayed from 1988 to 2000. He was in charge of the development of Customer Relationship Management and held the position of Senior Manager for e-business. Beltaifa then accepted an offer to lead e-business development at SAP France, which became a global leader in e-procurement by the end of 2001.

He was eventually entrusted with the leadership of SAP in North Africa, which he managed between 2002 and 2006, before taking charge of its financial sector in Paris, and becoming the commercial director for the MENA region in 2007.

In 2008, Beltaifa founded Bridgers One to focus on accelerated growth strategies for Small and Medium Enterprises and transformation programs for larger businesses. Bridgers One’s mission is concerned with sustainable development.

Among other clientele, it caters to service providers wishing to set up in North Africa, such as: a Middle East Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) solution editor wishing to expand distribution into Europe; a worldwide consulting firm wishing to introduce the idea of sustainable development in North Africa; a Western publisher wishing to expand its territory in the Middle East; the Moroccan Interior Ministry; the largest Libyan refinery; and a Moroccan IT consulting firm wishing to double its size every five years by developing better value added services and providing services in Africa.

Mounir Beltaifa has also devoted much of his time to voluntary activities for the Tunisian expatriate community in France. At the beginning of 2011 he created the think tank Emergens/Rabii Tounes, which means "Tunisian Spring", and which hosted a number of high- level debates between persons in the Tunisian diaspora in France and members of the French government. The association organized the first multiparty political debate in September 2011.

Convinced that the economic development of Tunisia is the fuel of its political and social progress, Beltaifa decided, in 2013, to focus his community activities on economic topics and created the French branch of CONECT, which he now chairs.
CONECT brings together French and Tunisian businessmen and entrepreneurs who share Franco-Tunisian economic interests. CONECT France has organized numerous debates with Tunisian leaders and opinion leaders, as well as seminars on topics, including banks and the investment environment in Tunisia, and public-private partnerships and opportunities for mutual development.

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