Job creation in interior governorates hampered by political and economic choices (OTE)
02/10/2021 18:02, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - Ten years after the revolution that claimed employment in the first place the lowest rates of job creation per capita are still recorded in Sidi Bouzid, Medenine, Kef, Kebili, Kairouan and Tataouine, the Tunisian Observatory of the Economy (OTE) said in an analysis note.

This inability of most Tunisian governorates to create job opportunities for their residents is due to political and economic choices of governments since independence, said the observatory.

Indeed, the distribution of job opportunities per 1000 citizens in the country's 24 governorates between 2009 and 2018 brings about three main clusters, still according to the observatory.

The first cluster (top 6 regions) consists of regions that are highly interconnected in terms of transportation, logistics and access to foreign investment. The second cluster includes regions with moderate economic activity. The last cluster (bottom six regions) consists of regions with low economic activity in terms of the number of companies and investments, and consequently far fewer employment opportunities for its residents.

These are Sidi Bouzid, Medenine, Kef, Kébili, Kairouan and Tataouine.

Historically the excessive concentration on trade policies and international value chains has caused significant regional disparities: coastal regions with nearby airports have become more attractive to domestic and foreign capital, leaving most interior regions very far in terms of access to development.

For example, to date, foreign direct investment in the governorate of Tunis (7,680 million dinars) is six times higher than that of the 3rd cluster of six governorates in terms of job creation combined (1,403 million dinars).

Coastal areas are more attractive for industries, home to about 90% of small and medium-sized enterprises and most of tourism and manufacturing units, according to the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency. Political instability and weak private sector dynamics also complicate the situation.

Aggregated data from the National Agency for Employment and Self-Employment (ANETI) indicates that most governorates lost half of their capacity to create new job opportunities in the private sector after the revolution.

Based on these indicators, the observatory concludes that the existence of an investment catalog specific to each region, which can diagnose the real potential and capitalize on the specific needs and advantages of each governorate, has become a necessity to promote regional equity in terms of job creation.

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