The instruments of an effective industrial policy for Tunisia are based on variables controlled by the government to essentially help, to act on the costs of companies and sectoral structures, said the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies (ITCEQ) in its report: “For a renewal of the industrial policy in Tunisia: requirements of competitive positioning”
“These modalities of intervention can take several forms. They can be direct or indirect measures. Nevertheless, there are variables whose qualification is not easy, “according to this document that has just been published by the institute.
According to the recommendations of the ITCEQ, these modalities are focused on an effective investment policy, which is a driver for industrialization, on the mechanical and electrical industries (EMI), for a role as a locomotive of Tunisian industry, and on specific support to certain sectors, in addition to support for quality.
They are also centered on investing in new niches and supporting the development of strategic sectors and niches of excellence for a true integration upstream, in addition to the development of clusters, clusters of skills and incubators of companies, for a development of their economic role.
The other modalities of intervention relate to the improvement of the business climate for an industrial repositioning, to which is added the logistics considered to be “the weak link” of the Tunisian industry, as well as the fight against counterfeiting, anti-competitive practices and unfair competition.
The ITCEQ also placed emphasis on the consolidation of industrial infrastructure and logistics, the incentive to employment, productivity and equity, recommending to build the skills of the workforce, to successfully implement the digital industry.
It considers that external demand is one of the decisive factors in the adjustment policy, in addition to regional integration, which is a robust vector of industrialization, economic transformation and development, as well as industrial governance and monitoring.
Relocation and PPP, axes of the future
The ITCEQ believes, on the other hand, that the COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity for the Tunisian economy to catch up and for the industrial sector to strengthen its position in the new vision of value chains.
The regional relocation in a Euro-Mediterranean area which is reflected in a repatriation of a considerable part of FDI flows not exclusively European, could allow Tunisia to take advantage of this new vision if certain conditions are met.
Indeed, Tunisia can improve its international positioning for industrial sectors, including that considered a priority and for services.
The goal of relocation is to shorten value chains and increase the geographical concentration of added value, the report further said. This relocation is mainly in relation to technology-intensive industries which are strongly dependent on manufacturing industries.
Regionalization, ITCEQ report’s highlights, will reduce the length of supply chains without making them less fragmented.
To reposition and be competitive, Tunisia needs to beef up its digital capacities so as to keep abreast of developments.
The country is also urged to speed up its digital transformation, promote entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships and boost innovation to contain the pandemic and face up similar crises.