By Sami Mouley, Amal Nagah Elbeshbishi

Tunisia, like many African international locations, is going through an inflow of younger folks into its workforce, however the nation doesn’t have sufficient jobs to soak up them. Current analysis, although, reveals that there would possibly really be nice potential and even a comparative benefit for job creation in Tunisia in “industries with out smokestacks” (IWOSS). IWOSS are sectors that share a lot in frequent with manufacturing, particularly their tradability and tendency to soak up giant numbers of low-skilled employees. Examples of IWOSS embrace agro-industry, horticulture, tourism, and a few info and communication know-how (ICT)-based providers.

By way of an ample administration of those sectors, job creation and export growth may enable the creation of recent areas of comparative benefit and have a constructive impression on different sectors as properly. As Tunisia’s financial development charge has lowered to 2 p.c within the interval from 2012 to 2019 (based on the Central Financial institution of Tunisia), we should think about new methods and different coverage enhancements to reverse this pattern and increase job creation within the nation.

The challenges on this space are unfold over a number of fronts. The Tunisian labor market suffers from a mismatch between labor demand and provide, in addition to a powerful imbalance linked to the gender hole. This phenomenon primarily considerations girls, younger folks, and graduates (European Coaching Basis, 2019). The latter are sometimes excluded from the labor market on account of a mismatch of expertise required to enter the job market, regardless of their acquisition of {qualifications} and levels.

Thus, our analysis proposes a approach out of youth unemployment via an evaluation of the Tunisian economic system because the 1960s, together with forecasts following the COVID-19 disaster, with the intention of offering another perspective that appears past typical “smokestacks” manufacturing and builds on strengths to search out room for enchancment in industrial coverage, together with nontraditional agriculture or providers.

Why are IWOSS so vital?

This research goals to indicate how the job creation, mixed with the identification of the abilities required to work in a given discipline, might need a concrete impression in reducing youth unemployment. The impression of IWOSS on the Tunisian economic system emerged as early because the 1980s, when the market shifted towards this new financial sector, which represented 44 p.c of Tunisia’s GDP on common between 2015 and 2019.

Moreover, via a comparative method with different actions, we discover that the expansion in worth added by exercise sector signifies the relative significance of IWOSS sectors—particularly the tourism sector, adopted by the transport and monetary sectors—to the Tunisian economic system. Due to their specific potential for development within the Tunisian context, we examined the particular IWOSS subsectors of tourism, monetary providers, and ICTs, and located that, usually, their contributions to the Tunisian economic system lead to a greater capability to withstand and adapt to structural shocks.

Desk 1. Progress in added values by exercise sectors at costs of the earlier yr (annual change in %)

Supply: Desk from Mouley, and Elbeshbishi, (2021). “Addressing youth unemployment via industries with out smokestacks: A Tunisia case research.” The Brookings Establishment.


The COVID-19 disaster had an plain impression on all sectors of the Tunisian economic system—particularly tourism—although agriculture, fisheries, and ICT suffered least. Given the widespread injury on high of the already excessive youth unemployment charge, a multistakeholder response is crucial for creating jobs for younger Tunisians. With the intention to unearth the employment era capability of IWOSS sectors, key constraints that inhibit the expansion of those sectors must be addressed. In brief:

  • Tourism. Tunisia nonetheless wants some essential enablers like political stability, public-private partnerships, and the event of promotional campaigns that additional improve Tunisian tradition, traditions, and nationwide heritage to make the tourism {industry} much more affluent. Constructing infrastructure, particularly bettering transport and communications for tourism, would even have a constructive impression on different sectors corresponding to agriculture and building.
  • Info and communications know-how. For the aim of enabling larger growth of the ICT sector, policymakers ought to decide to enhancing social inclusion and making high-quality ICT coaching and training accessible. Such interventions may result in the event of e-Administration and encourage investments within the ICT {industry} to create jobs. The “Digital Tunisia” and “Good Tunisia” packages present a transparent technique to this finish.
  • Monetary providers. Policymakers ought to aggressively encourage a transition to digital instruments, promote digital funds, and assist the event of additional technological innovation.

In the long run, we discover that the ICT, monetary providers, and tourism sectors could be crucial for addressing the nation’s jobless development challenges, if interventions like improved infrastructure, higher entry to long-term financing, and enhanced digitization, amongst others, could be carried out.


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