ICTs represent 10% of Tunisia's GDP
Tunisia's Ministry of Communication Technologies is willing to increase the part of the ICT sector in the country's GDP in order to reach a 13.5% share by 2010, against 7.8% at the start of 2007 and 10% now. More than ever, Tunisian authorities consider the ICT sector as a strategic path to generate thousands of new skilled jobs and to attract foreign investments and international operators.
The country is also counting on know-how-transfer to improve its competivity and to maintain its regional position in terms of technological advance, as recently illustrated by the establishment of a "School Technology Innovation Center" in Tunisia by Microsoft. According to UK-based Oxford Business Group, the country now ranks 35th in the 2008 Global Information Technology Report, issued by the World Economic Forum.
"[...] According to ministry statements, the growth in GDP can be attributed to both increased market demand and an improved business environment. Regulatory changes in the ICT sector have "improved the investment climate in the country and accelerated project start-ups", leading to improved competition, network roll-out and service development, the ministry said. [...]
Tunisia was ranked 35th by the World Economic Forum in its 2008 Global Information Technology Report, which assessed its ICT readiness, accessibility and regulation. The country's ranking placed it second in the Middle East and North Africa region, after the United Arab Emirates. Although rankings such as these provide only a comparative sketch of international competitiveness, Tunisia came in well ahead of other regional players such as Jordan (47th) and Morocco (74th). [...] Recent regulatory changes include law No 2007-13, which supported small and medium-sized start-ups by obliging the state to cover up to a quarter of the wages of qualified employees for a period of up to three years, and for five years following the creation of the company. [...]
Employment in the sector has also been a big focus for Tunisian ICT companies. As part of the 11th Development Plan, the government aims to stimulate the creation of 10,000 new IT jobs every year - an ambitious goal, given that there are currently just over 9000 IT positions in the local market. This is in part a response to the more than 13,000 IT students graduating each year, as well as to the 42,000 students currently enrolled in the IT-related programmes. With the country's unemployment rate hovering around 14%, the urgency of these growth initiatives cannot be underestimated."
Oxford Business Group