MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

Tunisia: 16% growth in the ICT sector in 2009

Mohamed Naceur Ammar, Minister of Communication Technologies announced that Tunisia's ICT sector grew by 16% in 2009. He noted that the sector provides about 90,000 jobs and creates annually around 6,300 new jobs, apart from contributing over one third of the country's economic growth.

According to statistics presented by the Minister on this occasion, the total number of GSM subscribers reached 9.9 million subscribers in the month of March 2010, against 9.7 million in the same period in 2009. The number of Internet users grew from 3.5 million in 2009 to 3,600,000 in March 2010 and the rate of families with at least one computer reached 15.7% in 2009.

Subscribers to the network of broadband Internet to 408,000 subscribers at the rose end of March 2010 against 368,000 subscribers in late 2009. The number of broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants was 3.7 in 2009 against 2.2 in 2008, exceeding the average rate in several African and Arab countries.

Ammar also said Tunisia's bandwidth capacity currently amounts to 37.5 gigabits per second against 27.5 gigabits being in 2009. The minister stressed that the coming period will be marked by new achievements in terms of development of basic infrastructure, the promotion of human resources, improvement of digital services and boosting investment and technological renewal and in realizing the objectives of the presidential program.

Tunisia is targeting 570,000 subscribers to broadband Internet in late 2010, and some 1, 400,000 subscribers by the end of 2014. He also stressed that the state has set up new technology zones, such as the expansion of the El Ghazala technological pole to the governorate of Manouba and Ennahli as well as the creation of a Technological City in the governorate of Sousse.

"Tunisie Telecom", the main promoter of this project is currently working on setting up the company in charge for the city of Sousse technological project, which will contribute to the creation of 5000 jobs, said the minister.

Regarding the consolidation of the network of regional remote work centers , 15 new centers will be created, including 3 in the governorate of Sidi Bouzid, Medenine and Jendouba which will be operational in June 2010.

8 centers will be created by the private sector in the Sahel region and four others will be created during the second half of 2014 in Ramada, Zarzis, Djerba and Ben Guerdane. A study will be conducted on "e-skills" and the new businesses. It will be linked to higher education and vocational training systems, said the minister.

From the second half of 2010, Tunisian domain names "tn" will be put on sale he added. As computer applications, Mr. Ammar said that the social funds will soon be connected to databases of the National Centre of Computer Science (CNI). The Minister recalled that the publication of legislation on the setting up of a system to encourage the creation and innovation in ICT sector will further boost investment and promote innovative projects.

This system provides a funding mechanism that responds to the specific sector and is mainly based on the principle of partnership and sharing of risks between the government and developers. Accordingly, a study during the year 2010 aiming at identifying the missions of National Agency for the promotion of investment in the digital economy, will be conducted.

Mohamed Naceur Ammar also announced the launch of a new portal www.mincom.tn. The creation of this portal is part of the consolidation of the relationship between the department, the citizen and the economic enterprise, said the minister.

Source: Tunisia Online

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