With alarming indicators: a growth rate of -1.85%, a loss of 48,000 jobs, the departure of 172 foreign companies and the proliferation of sit-ins and strikes which reached 567 in 314 companies and not less than 500 sit-ins, the economic situation in Tunisia is becoming worrying.
Indeed, the new Tunisia has paid the cost of the Revolution, despite the success of the process of October 23 with transparent elections. This cost is reflected mainly in an unemployment rate that rose from 14% to 18% in one year and an estimated poverty rate of 24.7%.
It is clear that this situation continues to stir the political class and feed the torments of economic players who warn the current government against a possible deterioration of the situation including the amplification of protest movements across the country.
But what can be done?
“What is most urgent now is to coordinate efforts and get involved in the revival of the economic chain,” said Mohamed Lamine Chakhari, Tunisian Minister of Industry and Trade at a meeting held Thursday in Tunis.
Held under the theme of “Development and Economic Recovery in Tunisia, Interaction Between Investment and Employment in the Period of Revolution,” this initiative taking place at a particular time when Tunisia, which has made it a priority to promote employment and balanced redistribution of wealth among the 24 governorates, works to acquire the prerequisites for boosting the national economy.
According to the minister, the only solution to absorb unemployment is to create job positions through the establishment of a number of industrial zones according to the latest standards and with very favorable conditions. “To ensure that companies settle in interior regions, we need a minimum of industrial areas, technological centers and infrastructure,” he said.
As such, a program was set up to create 99 industrial areas spread over the whole country including 45 in disadvantaged areas. According to available figures, the work was completed in 10 regions covering an area of 366 hectares and is continuing in 22 other regions covering an area of 453ha, in addition to the supplementary program for the creation of industrial and technological centers.
For his part, Mohamed Ayari, a consultant in the aerospace sector, focused on transparency in government procurement and modernization of the administration in order to reassure domestic and foreign investors. “The priority for businessmen is to improve the business environment.” He added: “transition to democracy would eradicate corruption and improve transparency. This transparency results in the access of various economic players to the data bank on the business climate. ”
This position was shared by Yves Bertrand, international economic expert, who proposed as a solution redesigning the business model that breaks with past practices to build a new system based on solid foundations. In this context, he highlighted China’s experience in its development process. “The development in China is based on the individual and family behavior even though the country had suffered from the absence of a free education system.” He said that the challenge of a sustained economic recovery depends on the will of the people, especially the youth.
Solutions and efforts are being made to overcome the growing crisis gripping the country, while the lack of political will and a clear program from successive interim governments after the Revolution could affect the country’s transition process.