Attracting Tunisians living abroad by encouraging them to create their own projects is an essential condition to enable Tunisia to improve its ability to overcome the difficulties the economy is going through.
The approach requires reviewing the choices and finding the right way to preserve the gains especially as this new era of history is opened for the community to better contribute to the emergence of a free, prosperous and tolerant Tunisia.
Indeed, this community could do much more and play more than ever an important role especially in this transitional period.
It is in this framework that falls the international symposium held at the initiative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on the theme “The contribution of Tunisians living abroad to the economic and social development of post-revolutionary Tunisia.”
In fact, Tunisian expatriates account for 10% of the population. Their remittances represent 5% of the GDP and 22.7% of national savings, i.e. one of the four leading sources of foreign exchange. These remittances have played a significant role in savings and balance of payments. Investments cover nearly 5,500 projects, two-thirds of which are in the services sector, but which are short of targets, since the reported projects are often limited in terms of their economic profitability.
“Despite the tax benefits and the various regulations decided in favor of Tunisian expatriates, their contribution to creating projects remains below the desired goals and objectives,” noted, Frej Souissi, the CEO of the Board of Tunisian Expatriates (OTE).
This is due to the inadequacy of the information for this community in particular investors, the lack of organization and problems of procedures with the lack of an institutional framework.
Is it a governance issue? Perhaps, Abdessalem Nagazi, President of the Maghreb Association of Human Resource Development (AMDRH) stressed the importance of looking for new governance mechanisms that could be an instrument of economic and social convergence in the Mediterranean space not only by promoting competitiveness and performance but also innovation in a globalized economy.
Today it is mainly a question of sharing ideas to fill those gaps. Efforts are now made to increase the involvement of Tunisians abroad in the national development process. “We need to develop consultations and coordination in order to find fair, balanced, sustainable and practical solutions to different migration issues between countries that should take into consideration the emergence of a new partnership based on common values, principles and interests, “he added.
This leads one to reflect on a concrete dimension in the field of international solidarity between rich and poor countries and the policy of dialogue and partnership between the North and South in particular between Europe and the Maghreb to promote a strategic win-win partnership.
This approach seeks to establish a network of partners from different countries to strengthen intra-regional cooperation on this field.
A long way is still to go. However, Tunisia needs more than ever its skills by using them optimally, and this to overcome this situation and help realize the objectives of the revolution especially as the new climate of democracy will certainly improve the economic climate.