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Tunisia & ICT : Ambitious objectives for 2016 in a promising sector

In consideration of the current level of the Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) for the Tunisian enterprises or foreign enterprises established in Tunisia, the progress of the services outsourcing sector and the opportunities of crossing with other sectors , mainly the electronic sector, the ICT sector is required to be now again the leader  of the Tunisian economy and the catalyser of services exports.

The strategic objective set for the sector by the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Energy and SMEs, is to increase ICT exports, in 10 years (from 53 Million dinars in 2007 to 500 Million dinars in 200), and increase from 8000 to 15 000 the number of university students by year. This national strategy plans that the contribution of this sector to the GDP should increase from 8% in 2007 to 20% in 2016. The number of jobs to be created in this sector will increase from 6000 jobs in 2007 to 15 000 in 2016. The private sector, including of course foreign investments, will be the main job provider with an important contribution to the sector takeoff.

Become a regional hub and be associated with European poles

According to this note, the ministry underlines that in terms of strategic orientations, the sector progress will necessarily need the development of the local market, mainly through classical applications (ERP, CRM, decision-making Solutions) and relating to larger high-performance, high-availability and high-security systems in order to accelerate the spread of digital economy. Developing ICT sector in Tunisia will also call for reinforcing the computing activity in the local market. Big projects and a good promotion of ICT, will help the Tunisian services companies to position themselves afterwards in the export market. To meet the great strategic ambition of Tunisia to become a regional hub in the ICT sector, the writers of this note took care of mentioning that it would be appropriate to implement a targeting approach for the world operators so as to have regional competence and development centres. Linkage with the European big projects, in the fields of R&D, transport or and mainly aeronautics, important ICT competence consumers, and collaboration with European competitiveness poles in these areas, ([email protected], SCS…), will help to attract great opportunities mainly in the programme development and testing activity externalisation.

Ambitious visions with a cost involving an upgraded infrastructure

However, such ambitious objectives call for not only the will but also and most importantly a vision liable to create a better environment for the achievement of such ambitious project, the first issue is infrastructure. Does Tunisia have the basics for such objectives? For the involved ministry, we need first to meet the needs in estate infrastructure. The strategy of this sector, as predefined, provides for a reinforced estate infrastructure, with 100 000 m² constructions made available  from a total area of 400 hectares, in addition to building 30 cyberspaces in the regions of the country. The development of a multi-site competitiveness pole dedicated to the ICT sector. The construction of this pole, built as an extension around the technopole El Ghazela, is ongoing. Furthermore, the service quality guarantee (CMMI and other international certifications) is also a new battle for winning ICT outsourcing markets. These certifications should be spread at the level of the important operators in the ICT outsourcing market , specifies again the note from the Ministry of Industry. 

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