The opening ceremony of the AMLF conference opened on a high note, with the presence of Tunisian Prime Minister, Beji Caid el Sebsi.
The speech of the esteemed guest was without a doubt the highlight of the session, as he welcomed delegates to Tunisia, saying that it is “everyone’s country”.
He outlined the events leading to the Jasmine revolution that took place at the beginning of this year and how the ‘reign’ of dictator Ben Ali left the country in a dire situation, with no infrastructure or leadership.
“I think it’s probably the only good deed that he [Ben Ali] did for this country when he decided to disappear,” he said to an appreciative applause. He said revolutions don’t always end up with democracy. El Sebsi has had the difficult task of running the transitional government in Tunisia since 7 February 2011 when he became prime minister.
“We’ve done our level best in Tunisia to ensure that this revolution would lead to democratic governance,” he said.
During the question and answer session el Sebsi responded to a question on the freeing of the media in Tunisia. “I’d rather have a free press that sometimes goes a bit overboard than not have a free press at all. We need to ask the press to let us know if we’re not going in the right direction so we can remedy the situation.”
He also pointed out that since the revolution the local press has increased from a single organisation to over 140 newspapers.
“I believe there will indeed be an Arab spring. I believe we are going in the right direction,” said el Sebsi.
Story by Gabriela Falanga.