Report on emerging role of ICTs in post-revolution Tunisia
26 March 2012
A new report commissioned by infoDev shares how Information and Communication Technologies can drive growth and inclusion in post-revolution Tunisia.
According to a new report commissioned by infoDev, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can reduce regional disparities in Tunisia by accelerating economic development and social inclusion. The unemployment rate is between 20 to 30% in the more isolated interior, compared to less than 10% in the main coastal cities.
The study “Tunisia: from revolutions to institutions” stresses how technology-oriented small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) can generate economic expansion and job growth, including in the economically-isolated interior provinces.
Tunisian ICT companies are likely to find an attractive market in Northern Africa and parts of Europe, thanks to Arabic and French language skills and lower labor costs.
Entrepreneurs, however, expressed frustration with the cost of doing business and government control of critical markets, which was installed by the previous regime. They also recognized the need for a more market-responsive higher education system that produces graduates with more up-to-date and practical knowledge.
Central to the Tunisian revolution of 2011, ICTs remain critically important to helping address the root causes that led to the uprising in the first place, according to the report.
New technologies and applications are necessary to creating a vibrant economy that produces sustainable jobs for the country’s young population and helping to constitute an open and transparent society.
“The people of Tunisia demand good governance and civil participation. They want inclusive economic growth, which is at the core of our programs”, says Eileen Murray, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “By leading in ICTs, which are essential to any competitive economy, Tunisia can continue to be a leader in the region”, she adds.
Throughout the research, which included more than a hundred interviews with representatives from all layers of society, Tunisians expressed optimism and hope about their increased participation in governance processes.
This is certainly supported by the growing abundance of social and internet-based political media, which is giving voice to a new class of aspiring entrepreneurs and creative professionals.
“Tunisia is a unique and promising location for understanding the role that ICTs can have in economic and social development”, says Valerie D’Costa, Program Manager of infoDev. “This study details what more needs to be done so ICTs can help to create a dynamic economy, an accountable government and social inclusion”, she adds.
The Tunisia research, which was performed by economic consultancy firm Reboot and local partners, is part of an upcoming UKaid-financed infoDev study of the role that ICTs are playing in post-conflict and post-revolution reconstruction, covering six country studies in total.