Rainer Krischel, Resident Director of GIZ Office in Tunisia called on the authorities to further facilitate administrative procedures to encourage investors to set up in the country, saying that ensuring stability is an essential condition for a successful transition process.
What is the state of play of projects launched by the GIZ in Tunisia?
Before you begin, it is useful to emphasize the strategic role played by GIZ in Tunisia. Indeed, it is an organization within the German government and planned projects are negotiated between the Tunisian government and its German counterpart.
Through the examination and treatment of records, our mission is to advise and assist the authorities to put in place appropriate projects.
Can we give some figures on your contribution in Tunisia?
Since the advent of the revolution, work involves the creation of 35 projects. These projects also concern the sustainable management of natural resources where the objective revolves around ensuring better management of waste, reducing emissions of greenhouse gas and the sustainable management of natural resources.
Through the projects created, 48,250 students from 386 schools participated in the environmental education program offered by the “Enviromobile” since 2008. 17 municipalities are currently developing or implementing their municipal waste management plan. Useful to note that access to the carbon market has reduced emissions of about 600000t CO2/yr.
Other projects relate to economic development and employment promotion. Our goal is to improve access to finance for individuals, micro-businesses and SMEs while providing the opportunity for employment or self-employment via training activities and information dedicated to youth. Add to this the capacity of renewable energy and energy efficiency companies in industrial areas by improving their facilities, their management and service offering to promote local and foreign investment.
Emphasis was placed after the revolution on other strategic issues, including regional development where efforts continue to further strengthen community structures and local democracy and support decentralized actors in regional environmental planning and sustainable development.
What about the cost?
These 35 projects are managed by a team of 35 international experts and hundreds of national experts. The budget for this program is estimated at € 25 million.
What is the rate of progress of these projects?
Despite the fragile environment that affects Tunisia, we are in good agreement with the Tunisian government and we cannot complain about our partners mainly the ministries of environment, agriculture, industry and other actors.
So we can say that the creation of these projects is making steady progress and we are confident that the goals will be achieved. For example, thousands of job positions are created in the field of renewable energies (between technicians and mechanics). This is an encouraging sign since we are trying to promote youth employment with a comprehensive approach that combines both market players and the unemployed.
No constraints identified?
Administrative issues such as the acquisition of equipment (cars, for example) are among the worrying problems that we expect to be resolved in the shortest possible time.
At the regional level, we are still waiting for a concerted and clear policy with regard to regionalization and decentralization, two main objectives in the coming years.
Do you have any criticisms with respect to the policy of the Tunisian government?
Politics is not my job, but I assure you that the country is on track, despite the difficult climate in Tunisia.
What should be done to reassure investors to set up in different regions of the country?
Today, the first priority should be given to security. It is an essential condition to regain the confidence of the people, but also of all stakeholders, partners and especially entrepreneurs wishing to establish themselves in the country of jasmine.
It is important to convince new investors to invest in Tunisia instead of going to other competing countries like Morocco.
In addition to the establishment of stability, the acceleration of administrative procedures is among the other priorities that the Tunisian government must consider.
As foreign experts, we request the revision of these procedures, considered complex and slow. Indeed, we have tried to help the Tunisian authorities through the creation of one-stop shops in many parts of the country. I can mention those of Menzel Bourghuiba, Ben Guerdane, Gafsa, Jendouba, Djerba, Kasserine, Monastir, Siliana and Sousse.
What is your strategy for the coming period?
Working in Tunisia is a dream for us. Its advantages (proximity to Europe and skilled labor) give us hope to cooperate with other neighbor countries and sub-Saharan ones. We can assure that there is a potential to increase while promoting cooperation with countries of the South. It is a market with high added value for Tunisia.
To do this, dialogue must be initiated with the representatives of these countries and possibilities of partnership must be considered, instead of leaving them to the Chinese. Moreover, Tunisia can greatly leverage the expertise in renewable energy and food industry.
Tunisia has great potential for young graduates. With this advantage, it could gain a foothold in Libya and other countries. Keyword, all Tunisians should get to work to ensure that the transitional process succeeds.